Donald Trump as Evil Super Villain
Donald Trump has devolved from businessman and reality show host who often supported Democrats over Republicans to an extreme right winger. He went from criticizing Mitt Romney for being too hard line on immigration in 2012, to taking this issue to new lows this year. Most likely this is because it is what he has calculated what is the best path to win the Republican nomination in a crowded field, but a politician who says what he says is unacceptable. While words such as fascist are thrown around far too often in political discourse, now we even have some conservatives calling Trump a fascist.
Trump has tried to capitalize on Republican racism and xenophobia from the start of his campaign, and he has now turned to capitalizing on anti-Muslim hysteria. There includes his talk of surveillance of mosques to Muslim registries, although in subsequent statements it is not clear if this is to be only of refugees, which is less extensive but still disturbing. Considerations of civil liberties do not appear to ever cross his mind.
With the combination of his egomania and outlandish claims, at times Trump gives the feeling of a television or movie supervillian. He is clearly evil, such as in supporting torture for the sake of torture. He even mocks the disabled (which he later denied). He said he approves of water boarding even if it doesn’t work. He claimed to have the world’s best memory. He says he has an ability to predict terrorism by feeling it. He says he saw people jump from the World Trade Center from his home in midtown Manhattan, which would require super vision. This occurred at roughly the same time as he was watching Muslims celebrating in New Jersey. Does he also have super speed? Or is he just a politician going after “applause lies” as The New York Times editorial board put it.
Byron York sees this as Trump’s version of compromise. Ask for three times what you want, and then win when you settle for less than you first asked for. It also helps Trump that the most extreme positions are exactly what the Republican base wants. National polls this far before a primary often have little predictive value, but at very least it is clear that many in the Republican base are excited by what he says and not revolted as decent people should be. Maybe his support is exaggerated by the current polls as Nate Silver suggests. We will have a much better idea as to whether his front runner status is real if he does win in Iowa and New Hampshire.
My bet is that his plan is to first win the nomination by saying whatever he has to, and then take a new approach in the general election, assuming that the majority of voters won’t even notice. It is a scary thought, but he just might pull this off, especially if he runs against Hillary Clinton, who has her own issues with changing her views based upon the latest focus group.
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