The conventional wisdom keeps waiting for Donald Trump's latest outrageous statement to bring him down. So Republicans can nominate someone from the party's "mainstream," say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
But the latest poll from Fox News has Trump still in the lead, at 26 percent, up a point from last month. Ben Carson has 18 percent. And the rest of the GOP clown car is in single digits.
In the new Quinnipiac poll, Trump leads with 25 percent, down three points from last month. Carson is at 17 percent, followed by Carly Fiorina at 12 percent.
One way of looking at this is that three quarters of those surveyed don't want Trump. But his rivals are cannibalizing each other. Especially on the losing end is Jeb Bush, the supposedly establishment candidate.
It would be nice to say, "Please, nominate this man," and watch him get demolished by Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, she has a history of self-inflicted wounds, including the foolish email situation. It's not a scandal but a blunder, and a worrying sign of bad judgment from someone who should know better. And don't forget how she imploded against a candidate who was, on the surface, not merely less experienced but even callow.
The electorate, especially the whites who vote heavily Republican, is not merely in an ugly mood. It's in a crazy mood.
Could Donald Trump become president? Too many Americans, unmoored from history or reality, think life is a "reality television" series. The average American watches an astonishing five hours of TV every day.
"Reality television" is a typically highly scripted freak show meant to distract and define deviancy down, as Pat Moynihan put it, but even further than he imagined. This exercise is the opposite of reality: climate change, the hollowing out of the middle class, the military industrial complex, the extreme radicalization of one of our two major political parties. You know, real reality.
There's no precedent for a Trump in the history of the republic, clever articles notwithstanding.
Warren Harding had been a U.S. Senator, as well as Ohio state senator and lieutenant governor. He was also a journalist, turning the Marion Star into a better newspaper, something that required a passing knowledge of facts and current events. For all this — and despite letting Woodrow Wilson's political prisoners, including Eugene Debs, out of jail — he was among the worst presidents. Yet he was by all accounts a decent man, badly used by Republican con men, nothing like Trump.
Herbert Hoover had not held elected office, but he was responsible for organizing massive relief efforts for refugees in World War I; his engineering background gave him a wide knowledge of the world, and he was an activist Commerce Secretary who drove the inert Calvin Coolidge crazy. Again, nothing like Trump.
The notion that government can and should "run like a business" is one of the most toxic lies of our era. The public good is entirely different from running a business. And today's model of the narcissistic, sociopathic, overcompensated CEO (e.g. Fiorina) as a god has led us badly astray.
A CEO is singularly unqualified to serve the public good. The only exception I can think of is Michael Bloomberg. As for a retired neurosurgeon, the average fighter-pilot surgeon has about as much empathy as the chair I'm sitting in (I can think of one exception here). So much for Carson. Anyway, when push comes to shove in the Republican Party, he will be pigment challenged amid an angry white base.
As I have often discussed, the GOP base has reasons to be angry — but they've been brainwashed to blame the wrong people. So could they nominate Donald Trump? Sure. Isn't he a fixture on the holy television?
A President Trump would get nowhere on the worthy goal of nailing carried interest in the hedge-fund racket. That would require a different Congress, especially a different House. Otherwise, the man is a Kook, a joke, just what we'd do to ourselves.
Am I wrong to worry?