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Opening Arguments

The Trump card

With all due respect to the Des Moines Register ("Iowa's leading newspaper"), its editorial about Donald Trump is wrong:

 It's time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president of the United States.

[. . .]

He has become "the distraction with traction" — a feckless blowhard who can generate headlines, name recognition and polling numbers not by provoking thought, but by provoking outrage.

In just five weeks, he has polluted the political waters to such an extent that serious candidates who actually have the credentials to serve as president can't get their message across to voters. In fact, some of them can't even win a spot in one of the upcoming debates, since those slots are reserved for candidates leading in the polls.

The editors were set off mostly by Trump's "he ain't no hero" rant about John McCain ("His comments were not merely offensive, they were disgraceful"), but they correctly note that's it wasn't the only time he's crossed the crazy line. He's every bit the feckless, bloviating fool they say he is, and then some. They are also right about the damage his candidacy is doing to the Republican field and politics in general.

But asking him to step aside is the wrong remedy. For one thing, he wouldn't listen to them in a million years, so the request is the epitome of the futile gesture. And it's the voters' job to sort out the candidates, to winnow down the field to the best of them and send the crazies and the ain't-got-a-chancers home. If we're dumb enough to reward Trump with our votes, we deserve him.

FWIW, I don't think that will happen. People keep saying GOP candidates have to cater to that wacky, rightwing base, and Trump is the antithesis of what the base says it wants. The positions he's taken (insofar as we can figure out his positions from his demendent rants)  are not exactly the stuff of conservatives' dreams. He has sung the praises of Hillary Clinton and supporterd her and other Democrats with millions. Sooner or later, voters will start reacting to the real Donald Trump. Right now, he's leading a chorus of "We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore," and it's resonating with people who think they've been ignored and condescended to by the political establishment for years.

This, too, shall pass.