Government & Politics

It's Time to Stop Taking Trump the Clown Seriously

He is not the man to unite the GOP and then lead the country in the post-Obama era.

Dan Gilmore · Jul. 8, 2015

When Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for president, we almost didn’t cover it. Trump is a joke, a clown. He is not the man to unite the GOP and then lead the country in the post-Obama era. But then again, you have to have fun with politics every once and a while, and for many reasons he’s resonating with some voters.

“Donald Trump would be a mere sideshow curiosity in the 2016 elections if it were not for his name recognition and entertainment factor,” we wrote last month. Then a funny thing happened. The media latched onto the Trump campaign. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump is polling well among GOP candidates, and he’s running strong in Iowa and New Hampshire. If that continues, the millionaire billionaire of “The Apprentice” fame will be invited to the GOP presidential primary debates, where he is almost sure to make a circus of the whole process.

But why? He’s not truly conservative. He has donated to Democrats and was once a member of the Democrat Party. But he’s pulling GOP support because he’s the anti-establishment candidate withholding nary a punch. In particular, he’s making borderline caustic statements on immigration, and that’s ear candy for Republican voters tired of the lies of Beltway politicos and the deadly fiasco that is our nation’s immigration policy.

Right out of the gate, Trump was dishing out barbs and paper bullets against the woeful state of immigration. In his June 16 announcement speech, Trump opined, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

For those comments, NBC Universal stopped doing business with Trump, and the Left generally went apoplectic. Hillary Clinton is “very disappointed.” Other GOP candidates distanced themselves. But instead of running damage control, Trump doubled down.

Trump is both right and wrong. Illegals are indeed committing heinous crimes, and the flood across the border is a major problem. But most immigrants are good, hard-working people, and Trump’s remarks paint with far too broad a brush.

It would be one riot of a sideshow act if the implications for the conservative movement weren’t so dire. Hold the popcorn: Liberty is at stake. But for Trump? This is entertainment and he — he alone — is center stage, all eyes on him.

Trump is a loose cannon with a massive ego. He once sued a writer who said Trump was worth millions, not billions. If Trump is willing to go after his personal enemies, perceived or otherwise, with that much vigor over that small a slight, then Watergate and Obama’s IRS scandal will be nothing in the annals of political power abuse. Do we really want to call this petty man commander in chief?

So why is he garnering any support at all?

The rise of Trump highlights one of the major fault lines in the Republican Party. Simply put, he’s speaking tough on immigration. And a good percentage of conservatives rightly see the Grand Old Party as complicit in the face of the Left’s immigration agenda. Just a few months ago, Barack Obama spat upon the Constitution when he unilaterally granted amnesty to five million illegal immigrants through executive action. And what did the Republicans in Congress do? They rolled over and funded the project. For some conservatives, it was the hill to die on. Indeed, 26 states stepped up to check the executive power in court.

Immigration is a huge problem the GOP needs to address, but Trump is not the answer.

We often warn of the dangers of fratricidal infighting, warning that it stalls the message of Liberty. If Trump walks onstage to participate in the GOP presidential primary debates, then the whole conservative movement suffers. The faux conservative embodies an embarrassing caricature of conservatism. His bombastic temperament only serves to drive away people that desperately need to hear the message of Liberty.

“If Donald Trump were a Democratic mole placed in the Republican Party to disrupt things, how would his behavior be different?” political analyst George Will wondered. “I don’t think it would be.”

“This is the strongest field of Republican candidates in 35 years … and instead all of our time is spent discussing this rodeo clown,” lamented commentator Charles Krauthammer.

We stand at a crossroads in conservatism. For eight years, this country has given the mad political scientists of the Left free reign to create a socialist monster. What is our answer? This election cycle, we may choose another Reagan, one that will influence the conservative movement for decades. That candidate isn’t Donald Trump.

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