Has Donald Trump 'Fired up the Crazies?' Or is This Just Another Day in The Life of The GOP?

by Michael Strickland
What is Donald Thinking?
Somewhere, Hillary Clinton must be laughing ...

Jeb Bush is downright giddy too Even though the Republican Primary has yet to officially begin, the excitement is already heating up to a feverish pitch. I have always wondered what makes Donald Trump tick. Maybe the wine, women and money get boring after a while.

So he veers into politics to keep things interesting. 

Chuck Todd of MSNBC points out how 17 Republicans are running for president. "But the field seems much, much smaller than that – especially after the last three weeks," Todd wrote on Jan. 16. "To put it simply, Trump has shrunk the Republican field ... it seems as if there are just three 2016 candidates out there: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump."

Even Ted Cruz, with his knack to grab headlines almost at will,   needed a recent meeting with Trump to raise his profile amidst the prevalent noise. Poor Scott Walker, perhaps the Republican other than Bush who’s most likely to win his party's nomination, announced his presidential bid this week. But the eyes of the world are on the bombastic, polarizing businessman who recently disclosed his 10 billion dollar net worth.

“It’s very bad,” Arizona Sen. John McCain said in an interview in The New Yorker. “This performance ... is very hurtful to me. Because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”  During a recent appearances, Trump appealed to shock value, throwing raw meat at the extremist base. He was joined by the father of Jamiel Shaw, who was killed by an undocumented immigrant.

McCain has been a longtime proponent of immigration reform.  In the understatement of the year, the senator said Trump has tapped into “some anger” in Arizona over the conditions at the border.

Many GOP insiders must be terrified at Trump’s ascent to the top of the Republican presidential field.  McCain is at the helm of the charge to call out voters in his own party for their support of the real-estate mogul. Republicans “need to reject this demagoguery. If we don’t, we will lose and we will deserve to lose,” McCain said. These sentiments were previously echoed by Colin Powell, who in Jan. 2013 condemned the GOP’s “dark vein of intolerance” and the party’s repeated use of racial code words to rally white conservative voters.

The Arizona senator went on to call Trump a flat out phony. “He was a big Democratic supporter ... Some of this stuff is going to come out: he gave more money to Democrats than Republicans, he had Hillary Clinton at his wedding. You know, he’s attacking Hillary Clinton after she was in the front row,” McCain recalled.

Other pundits see Trump as the perfect spokesperson for the GOP. He says the things they really believe, according to this school of thought.  However, he is not afraid to relay those ideas in front of cameras and microphones. Fun fact: Trump’s latest polling numbers would seem to suggest that his message is resonating with Republican voters.

McCain, a longtime supporter of comprehensive immigration reform as a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, has taken moments recently to remind us of  his battles with the far right, “very extreme element” of his state’s party over the years.

Timothy Egan of the New York Times summed it up:

It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.
Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.
The net is abuzz with TrumpMania. Just take a look at the headlines. How long will the Trump Bump affect the field of GOP candidates who need precious media exposure?  In politics, dividers like Trump split votes and give an advantage to the other side.  Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has his work cut out for him. Democrats, along with Bush loyalists, want The Donald to keep talking.

_____ Other news: New Topix Discussion Board Created for AXS CEO Troy McClain. LINK: http://www.topix.com/forum/tv/the-celebrity-apprentice/lessons-from-axs-ceo-troy-mcclain-apprentice-season-1-finalist