Trump Tickles the Hatred Zone

You now have new data from the CNN/ORC poll and the Economist/YouGov poll. They both indicate that Donald Trump weathered the storm from his John McCain comments and came out of the controversy in a stronger overall position. I kind of like how Molly Ball summarized the situation:

Trump has the Republican Party by the throat. It cannot figure out how to get rid of him. The party elites, those snobs in D.C. who do not respect or understand the people out there in America, are tearing their hair out over the damage Trump is supposedly doing to the party…

…Yet the party has no power over Trump. He has the money, he has the press, he has the voters…

…Tomorrow, he will be on the front page again; he will lead all the newscasts. The summer of Trump will continue.

You can’t stop it. Nobody can.

That’s where Ms. Ball should have ended her article, but she couldn’t resist adding one more sentence: “Trump is too big.”

Actually, Trump has very little to do with any of this. And Ms. Ball found a Trump supporter down in Laredo who summarized what she supports, and it’s not some hothead from New York City.

Outside in the sun, Elizabeth Allen, a 57-year-old Laredo resident whose brown hair spikes up behind a black headband, cannot contain her excitement. “We can’t go to the dentist because it’s too expensive, but the Mexicans come here and have their babies and get food stamps and welfare and healthcare,” she says. “They live here in the ugliest little houses. They will kill for their flag, do anything for Mexico. They will never love our country. They are here only to use us and to steal our money.”

Interestingly, Ms. Allen’s first language is Spanish. But, then, you have to spend some time along the border to understand the culture of southern Texas. And at least Ms. Allen’s concern about Mexican immigration isn’t based entirely on abstract fear. Her uncle was stabbed by a Mexican.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump attend the Comedy Central Roast Of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images) Original Filename: GYI0063876060.jpg
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 09: Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump attend the Comedy Central Roast Of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)]

But my point is that she isn’t talking about Donald Trump’s business acumen or winning personality. If Trump drops out and Carly Fiorina starts talking about Mexican rapists, these voters will be ready to pick up her banner.

Let’s just be blunt about it. Donald Trump makes Rudy Giuliani look like a warm and cuddly New Yorker. Trump has nothing in common with evangelical Christians, least of all his approach to women and human sexuality. The anti-crony capitalism Tea Party folks should despise Trump for his support of the Stimulus bill and how he made his fortune. And the conservatives should have a real problem with Trump’s political donations to the Clintons, and prior support for national health care, among other things.

But they all want him in the race.

The majority of those Republicans surveyed that wants Trump to remain in the race includes numbers of those seen as the core of the GOP primary electorate: 58% of white evangelicals, 58% of conservatives, and 57% of tea party supporters.

And I didn’t even mention Trump’s famous birtherism, which ought to make people point and laugh at him. By comparison, those who think 9/11 was an inside job or that the moon landing was faked have significantly more plausible cases to make than the folks who think the president was born in Kenya. If you can overlook Trump having pimped that conspiracy theory, you’ve already left Planet Reality. Your standards are so low that you’ll basically support anyone or anything if only it tickles your hatred zone.

And that’s the key here. Trump is tickling the hatred zone. And the Republican base can’t stop laughing at the pundits and the Republican Establishment.

Trump can go away, and this problem will remain. No one can stop it.

[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.