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New Boston Post | February 22, 2016, 11:58 EST
With Donald Trump’s spectacular win in South Carolina and his massive popularity here in the Bay State, I am starting to believe that Republicans might actually nominate this guy. Back in the summer, I scoffed at the notion that Trump could win the Republican nomination; I certainly did not think he could win the presidency. And I was in good company: The entire conservative intelligentsia dismissed Trump as a “flash in the pan.” (Any pundit who tells you otherwise is lying).
But the Donald has done what none of us ever thought possible: He has insulted his way to the top of the pack. And, although it’s a long way to the nominating convention, it now seems more than possible that Trump will get the nomination.
Conservatives are split on what a Trump nomination would mean for the party. Some think that nominating Trump would be political suicide, and that he would be beaten badly by anyone the Democrats choose to nominate.
Although it confounds me, I now realize that Trump is supported by a wildly divergent cross section of voters. From Southern evangelicals to New England libertarians, voters of vastly different backgrounds love Trump. Over the past several weeks, I (or people I know) have met black barbers in Maryland, white waitresses in Pennsylvania, stay-at-home moms in New Hampshire, socialites in New York, and Middle Eastern cab drivers in Washington, D.C., all of whom absolutely love Donald Trump.
Never in my life have I encountered such a groundswell of support for one candidate from such a diverse group of people. And the curious thing is that their support is not tepid – it is wildly enthusiastic – and yet the chattering classes continue to dismiss it or simply not see what is happening before their very eyes.
In 25 years of observing and covering politics, the only other time I have felt such revolutionary, grassroots zeal for upending the political order was in the days leading up to the upset election of Scott Brown to the United States Senate from Massachusetts. Then, as now, the political class was left utterly speechless.
And it is for this reason, as much as the polls, that I now believe Trump, if nominated, will win big in November.
I am not happy about this. And I do not purport to understand it. But I feel it in my gut. So much so, that it is literally making me queasy.
The notion that we could nominate and elect a reality TV star who believes in nothing other than himself; whose positions on issues change faster than the weather; who has been married three times and bragged about his countless affairs; whose many business dealings often leave the appearance of impropriety; and whose vulgarity knows no bounds, is astonishing to me.
But perhaps, I should not be surprised.
I have previously written that (at least in the general election), the most dynamic candidate, the one with the strongest vision or with the best ability to connect with regular people, wins. And, ironically, despite his incredible wealth, Trump fits that mold in several respects.
I have also railed against our education system’s failure to teach American history and against the coarsening of American culture — against the vulgarity of our pop music icons and the lyrics of their music, against our current non-judgmental/anything-goes social norms, and against our obsession with exhibitionism in the form of reality television.
I have long worried that the marriage of our collective civic ignorance to our obsession with reality TV would give birth to a nation of voters who can identify Kim Kardashian more easily than the Vice President of the United States; a people more interested in Khloe Kardashian’s relationships than in the relationship of the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency.
Given my longtime angst about our cultural malaise, the rise of Donald Trump should not have surprised me. And yet it did.
Could it be that with “Kampaign 2016” America is finally getting the leader it deserves?