I know I said Donald Trump has no chance of becoming the next American President, and I still think he’s a long-shot. But the winds of chance are drifting his way, and I have to take him seriously.
Yes, he plays the fool. Yes, he is a troll who says provocative – often outrageous – things when he knows better.. But he is not a fool.
He is a fearless campaigner who dares to go where no one has gone before, bragging, posturing and saying tasteless things to appeal to a vulgar audience that’s fed up with political correctness and middle-class gentility.
If you’ve ever been a jock, you know what I mean. Those guys say incredibly insulting things as a mark of friendship. No kidding, ladies.You would cringe at the things that get said in a men’s locker room.
I suppose the same is true among entertainers. George Jones was known affectionately as “Possum,” for example. If you’ve ever seen a possum, I bet you wouldn’t like to be told you look like one.
That might be the secret of Trump’s enduring appeal. Or it could be the fact that he’s a celebrity people recognize from TV and a businessman who has built an empire supposedly worth billions. Beats me. I have no idea.
But when I see his family on the cover of People Magazine and on Good Morning America, I have to pay attention.
Especially now, when Americans are so frightened and angry in the wake of the Paris attacks. This is no time for nuanced foreign policies. Simple-minded bumper stickers are far more comforting to an uninformed public than intricate analyses.
As Ben Carson slides down the polls, as Bobby Jindal throws in the towel and as Jeb Bush flails futilely in single digits, Trump looks more and more like the man to beat.
Marco Rubio is emerging as the bookmakers’ – and the big-money players’ – choice, but his record will not stand up to scrutiny. And his baby-faced looks seem out of place in today’s horror-movie world.
These are tough times and Trump is – despite his clownish style – a tough guy. Thick-skinned and tough. Thick-skinned enough to shrug off any slur that comes his way (he’s heard them all before, I’m sure). Tough enough to make voters believe he can protect them from ISIS.
Tough enough to take on Hillary.