Published 11:19 pm Thursday, December 31, 2015
Happy Trump Year.
Everywhere you look it’s not Christmas, it’s Trump, Trump, Trump.
The billionaire who’s blown up the Republican primary process has supplanted Christmas. He’s supplanted New Year. At Donald’s house, instead of a Christmas tree, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Trump Tree.
How can Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush and those other fine non-Trump Republicans still running for president — I’ve forgotten half of their names — stand it?
Nothing the remaining candidates can say or do gets them any attention from the national media or traction from Republican primary voters.
The news media don’t really care whether or not any of those dull governor guys come on the Sunday morning programs.
And if Christie or one of the other non-Trumps does happen to get booked on someplace like “Meet the Press,” by accident or default, they won’t be asked to explain their positions on fighting terrorism, reforming immigration or Syria.
No one really cares what they think about that boring stuff.
They’ll be asked what they think about Trump’s recent facial gesture or his ethnic insult of the week.
Or what they have to say about Trump’s latest pledge to make America great again by promising to do something completely unconstitutional on his first day as president.
It’s just as bad on the campaign trail for all the surviving non-Trumps. Almost no regular people show up to see them at their stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.
And no one who’s there from the national media actually pays attention to what the non-Trumps say.
At this point the TV reporters clearly are just following around the non-Trumps in case the real Trump says something crazy on “Morning Joe” and they need to get a quick reaction from another Republican candidate.
Meanwhile, in Iowa, Trump is attracting 90 percent of the media attention and filling up airplane hangars with thousands of his enthusiastic supporters.
As I’ve said before, it won’t surprise or bother me in the least what outlandish thing Trump says next in one his stump speeches.
What bothers me is all the applause he always gets.
The televised images of Trump’s happy cheering crowds play into everything liberals have said forever about Republicans. We’re the party of angry old white people.
Sometime I’d just like to see one sign at a Trump rally that says “Blacks for Trump” or “Latinos for Trump” or “Muslims for Trump.”
I’ll even take “Eskimos for Trump” or “Organic Beet Farmers for Trump.”
Just one of those signs would give me a glimmer of hope that members of a voting group other than old white people might come out to vote for Trump in a general election.
If Trump wins the Republican nomination, I’m afraid it’s not going to go well for the GOP next fall.
I run into a lot of ordinary people in a given week. I’m still looking for the person who tells me “If Trump gets the Republican nomination, I’ll vote for him” instead of “If Trump gets the Republican nomination, I’ll vote for Hillary.”
This GOP primary has been so distorted by Trump’s candidacy and his strong appeal to angry Americans that if my father were running he’d be considered an insider and a RINO.
Gov. Ronald Reagan of 1980 wouldn’t get any airtime today. And he wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Death Valley of winning the nomination.
But Trump and his celebrity power hasn’t been a total disaster for Republicans. By making things a lot more interesting, he’s brought tens of millions of new eyeballs to the debates.
You might not like that if you are one of the non-Trumps doing the debating. But the GOP has definitely benefitted from all the extra publicity.
The big question in the end is whether the party’s message coming out of these primary debates will be salable to enough voters in the fall.
It has to appeal to people who aren’t Republicans, because the GOP is a minority party that always needs non-Republicans to win a general election.
Trump or non-Trump, we better win in 2016. Otherwise, the Republican National Committee and the GOP should just pack their bags and move to another country.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution.”