Trump – There’s Nothing He Can’t Say

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Saturday brought more of the same from GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who was campaigning in Iowa. With the caucuses less than two weeks away, one would expect his words to be strong, calculated, and to the point. In a not surprising move, however, Trump shot from the hip, remarking at one point that his supporters wouldn’t abandon him even if he killed somebody.

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said at the campaign rally.

This brand of brash confidence has been a trademark of the Trump campaign, who has launched vicious personal assaults against his competitors, journalists, and even entire ethnic groups. In a world of reason, these kinds of remarks would be identified by what they actually are: denigrating, unprofessional, and even dangerous.

A clear line, as an example, cannot be drawn between pulpit-pounding (in the name of ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood) and the shooting that occurred on November 27th, but it would be a mistake not to entertain the possibility that staunch political rhetoric may have played a role in hardening the attacker against his victims. This should be an object lesson; when politicians speak passionately, about any issue, there are a lot of people listening, and not all of them will respond with consideration and restraint.

With shootings in Colorado Springs, San Bernardino, the Northern Arizona University campus, and elsewhere during this election cycle, one of the major talking points has revolved around firearms legislation, culminating in President Obama’s executive order on January 5th. With a great deal of opposition from the GOP, it is still in poor taste for a Republican presidential candidate to invoke an image of gun violence to illustrate how politically impervious he believes himself to be.
At it’s best, Trump’s statement in Sioux Center has a callous ring to it. What does it say about the Republican electorate if Donald Trump’s statement is true? Are they that forgiving? How can a political figure ascend to an “above the law” position that allows murder? What does it say that Trump’s supporters aren’t offended by his comment?

Since the presidential race began, commentators on the political left have disregarded Trump as a non-threat, a narcissistic media whore who would eventually prove ineffectual and irrelevant. It’s been stated, on too many occasions, that it’s only a matter of time before he says something so outlandish that his supporters will turn on him. That time has not come, and it might be wise to put that notion to bed.

Donald Trump has racked-up a number of media gaffs that have proved not to be gaffs – his supporters seem to love him all-the-more for his aggressive cruelty toward anyone or anything that might oppose him. He rebounds when making offensive statements about Mexicans, when he insults the looks of his party competitors, when he mimics and pokes fun at the physically disabled. And his attitude toward banning Muslims isn’t just a slight against an entire population – it runs contrary to the spirit of the United States of America itself.

We should not forget about the neoclassical statue that sits in New York Harbor. A symbol of American values, it is a depiction of the Roman goddess Libertas. In her left hand is an engraved tablet with words from “The New Colossus” penned by American poet Emma Lazarus.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Building walls and closing doors does not a great nation make. Joking about killing people isn’t anything we should tolerate from our political leaders. Donald Trump is not irrelevant, and the other shoe isn’t about to drop. He has money and he has support, and it’s time we all start paying closer attention.


Sarah Palin Endorses Trump In Iowa

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Many initial responses, especially among the political left, may hinge on shrugs. After all, it’s no secret that Sarah Palin is the darling of the Tea Party movement. In her own way, she’s just as bombastic as Donald Trump. It would follow that anybody who likes Sarah Palin probably already enjoys the aggressive rhetoric of the GOP front-runner. As pitiful as the reality is, celebrity endorsements work. And this one is a big win for the Trump campaign.

Tuesday afternoon, Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential nominee, officially endorsed Donald Trump for the office of president of the United States. This is the first major endorsement for any candidate on either side. With narrow poll numbers between the Trump and Cruz camps , this type of endorsement may prove to have a significant impact in Iowa. Despite being a consistent and trustworthy punch-line, Palin remains well-loved and influential among Tea Party voters. This move, just thirteen days before the caucuses, may be the ammunition Trump needs to emerge victorious.

Like Trump, Palin is a successful reality television personality who is unusually gifted at deflecting negative attention and recovering quickly from scandal. A generation ago, Trump’s rhetoric would not be tolerated. Among the conservative Christian crowd, his multiple marriages alone would be enough to raise eyebrows. In today’s political climate, denying refugees entrance and promising to use nuclear arms against Islamic State are positions welcomed with applause.

This begs the question: what does it say about the GOP when authoritarian, arrogant, and often ill-informed reality television stars are knocking on the doors of the White House? Palin’s endorsement shouldn’t mean anything, but that isn’t the reality. It’s a new book deal, more media exposure for Trump, and probably renewed discussions for yet another television show. It’s all theater, we know it, and we gobble it up like hungry pigs anyway.

Just as any Hollywood celebrity endorsing a candidate shouldn’t mean anything, the American voter is more inclined to support a candidate because Johnny Depp says so, without ever so much as reading an article, watching a debate, or crunching a number. This needs to change, and it can’t happen quick enough.