It’s truly hard to understand the rise and endurance of Donald Trump

CNN
Jake Tapper interviewing Donald Trump on CNN on Sunday.

Good Monday morning to MinnPost readers.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday with primaries and caucuses across 13 states (including the best state, Minnesota) with so many delegates at stake that if the current frontrunners have big days, the race could be almost over for one or both major-party presidential nominations.

I recently wrote — after Donald Trump’s big win in Nevada across almost all age, income, gender and ethnic groups — that it was too soon to declare the race over, but if he makes a similar showing on Super Tuesday, it will become harder and harder to imagine any other contender winning the Republican nomination.

I didn’t write after Hillary Clinton’s smashing victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina by a similar margin and across almost all groups. Clinton, unlike Trump, has the additional advantage of a huge lead among the so-called super delegates to the Democratic convention. I would say the same thing about Clinton as about Trump: It’s too soon to talk about the race being all-but-over, but if she wins an overwhelming majority of the Super Tuesday states, it will not be too soon.

Also in case you missed it, on Sunday during an interview with CNN, Trump was asked whether he wanted to repudiate an endorsement of his candidacy by David Duke, the Grand Wizard of the violent, white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. Duke, the most famous of recent KKK leaders, has said publicly that voting against Trump would be “treason to your heritage.” The Anti-Defamation League has called on Trump to repudiate Duke, the KKK and the endorsement.

Trump did not do so. He said he was unfamiliar with Duke and his remarks did not indicate whether he understood what the KKK was, which is a little hard to imagine. He said he was unwilling to denounce or repudiate Duke or the KKK until he had a chance to look into them.

[Just added: I see in Slate that, contrary to Trump’s statement that he doesn’t know anything about Duke, Trump said, and was quoted in the New York Times saying,  in 2000 when he (Trump) decided not to seek the Reform Party nomination for president:

“The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani…This is not company I wish to keep.”]

I’ll put the transcript of the Trump-CNN full exchange below so you can mull for yourself whether Trump was being cautious, ignorant or issuing a dog whistle to racists.

Trump was also asked on “Meet the Press” why he had retweeted a famous quote from Italian fascist leader of the mid-20th century, Benito Mussolini. The quote: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

The website Gawker took responsibility for tricking Trump by sending him various Mussolini quotes in hopes that he would pass some of them along. Trump fell for the bait, or perhaps “fell for it” isn’t quite right because when asked about it on “Meet the Press,” Trump seemed to indicate that he knew he was retweeting a Mussolini quote. He implied that he didn’t have any feelings one way or the other about Mussolini, but he just liked the quote. I’ll put that transcript below as well.

Since I readily admit that I do not truly understand the rise and endurance of Trump as a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, I do not have an educated guess about whether either of these brouhahas will have an influence on his popularity.

First, here’s CNN’s Jake Tapper talking with Trump about Duke and the KKK:

TAPPER: I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the racism of former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be treason to your heritage. Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.

TAPPER: But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don’t want their support?

TRUMP: Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.

TAPPER: The Ku Klux Klan?

TRUMP: But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.

TAPPER: OK. I mean, I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but —

TRUMP: I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.

Video of the exchange is in this link.

Trump is now saying that he had a bad earpiece and couldn’t hear very well what he was being asked.

And here is transcript of Trump discussing the retweet of the Mussolini quote with Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press”:

TRUMP: Sure, it’s OK to know it’s Mussolini. Look, Mussolini was Mussolini. It’s OK to — it’s a very good quote, it’s a very interesting quote, and I know it. I saw it. I saw what — and I know who said it. But what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else? It’s certainly a very interesting quote. That’s probably why I have —

TODD:  Well, Mussolini is a known fascist.

TRUMP: — between Facebook and Twitter, 14 million people when other people don’t.

TODD: Do you want to be associated —

TRUMP:  It’s a very interesting quote, and people can talk about it.

TODD: Do you want to be associated with a fascist?

TRUMP:  No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes. And people, you know, I have almost 14 million people between Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all of that. And we do interesting things. And I sent it out. And certainly, hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?”

Video of that exchange is viewable here.

Comments (95)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/29/2016 - 09:21 am.

    Teflon

    Reagan was called “the Teflon President”.

    If – horror of horrors – Trump makes it to the White House, he’s going to make Reagan look like one of those sticky lint rollers.

    He certainly already seems to be “the Teflon Candidate”.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 09:40 am.

      Tech Comparison

      Ronald Reagan remains pretty much revered by many, not only traditional Republicans, but also many moderate Democrats who elected him, as well as new “Independents.”

      Given technology advances and voter disposition, we might appropriately consider Bill Clinton to have been “the Ceramic President.” Both campaigned in the spirit of unification, not the divisiveness of Donald Trump.

      I don’t know whether to call Trump the “Scratched Pan Candidate” or the “Cast Iron Pan Man.”

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/29/2016 - 07:04 pm.

        Reagan may be revered

        by Tea Party Republicans who conveniently deny the fact that he raised taxes.
        From Democrats, at most grudging respect for his political skills.
        There’s a perfectly good crockery(sic) term for Trump: crackpot.

  2. Submitted by charles thompson on 02/29/2016 - 09:26 am.

    the donald

    I love the Donald as long as he doesn’t end up getting elected. He has a number of ideas that are way to the left of the party bigwigs and it is driving them nuts but they can’t figure out what to do about it. My take is that the republican orthodoxy has been left behind by the changes in the country and the Donald is the wake up call that is bursting their bubble. Karl Rove has the vapors! Tough. Of course they can’t stand Cruz either, he is too far to the right. It is all spinning out of control. It seems the old Southern Strategy can work at the state level, hence our hard working congress, but it no longer plays at the national level.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 10:21 am.

      Well said, thanks…

      Were I Evangelical, I honestly would repel the political attempts to pander to the religious rationale, rather than to the broader social value set of principles. I simply do not understand the seeming fact that social politics cannot simply respect the facts of the Evangelical reality, rather than pander to or detract from that honest reality.

      I suspect many Republicans have become Independents mainly because they view their values as broader social precepts, not as religious dogma. There are very many “moderate Republicans” who should find more common ground with “moderate Democrats,” vice versa.

      I do hope that this middle segment becomes more formalized and unified after this election war (it is now that, I’m afraid). Will 2016 review show an increased shift of Democrats to Independents? I believe (or simply hope) so.

      In terms of Republicanism, this election seems the expected catharsis of noted trends since those 2004 Pew surveys. What is this year’s more intriguing development to me, is the possible impact of “far Left” (to be populist here) past suppression within the DNC.

      No matter the November outcome, I believe we are witnessing much needed recognition of past marginalization, in many political camps.

  3. Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 09:28 am.

    Not So Hard, Really

    The drift of Republicans to “Independents” in recent years is suggested in a recent MPR News post. Democrats appear to remain constant.

    “Turned off by the partisan wars in Washington, 39 percent of voters now identify themselves as independent rather than affiliated with one of the two major political parties, according to a 2014 analysis by the Pew Research Center. Self-identified Democrats accounted for 32 percent of the electorate, Republicans 23 percent.”

    “That’s a big shift from as recently as 2004 when the electorate was nearly evenly divided into the thirds by the three groups.”

    These stats are from 2014. What are they this week, I wonder?

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/29/2016 - 09:48 am.

    The press is panicked

    I mean, good grief, to try to tie Trump to fascism because he agreed with a quote that could be right out of anyone who believes in liberty is just plain desperate.

    This explains Trump’s rise in the polls every time the press gets caught trying to embarrass him. Because the people despise the press as much as the press and the establishment despise Trump.

    “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep” is similar to “Even at a time when the lion lies down with the lamb, I want to be the lion.” Now guess who said that one.

    The election this November looks to be between the establishment candidate and the anti-establishment candidate.

    Someone said recently that “Democrat voters will support this woman no matter what lies she tells or whose deaths she’s responsible for because they belong to the party. Republican voters are proving that they’d rather destroy the party than have their demands ignored another year.”

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/29/2016 - 10:13 am.

      I want to be the lion

      You said:
      “Even at a time when the lion lies down with the lamb, I want to be the lion.”
      Since Google cannot find this statement, I will assume that you made it up.
      It is certainly not from the Bible.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/29/2016 - 11:29 am.

      I Mean, Good Grief!

      “I mean, good grief, to try to tie Trump to fascism because he agreed with a quote that could be right out of anyone who believes in liberty is just plain desperate.”

      Let’s say instead that we picked a quote that could be right out of anyone who believes that bold, dynamic action is a good thing. Now, let’s suppose a Democratic candidate said “History favors the intrepid.” Would Republicans really pass up a chance to tie that candidate to Fidel Castro? Or are they never that “desperate?”

  5. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 02/29/2016 - 10:04 am.

    Liar or a Fool

    Sometimes you put yourself in the position where there are only two plausible explanations: 1) your a liar, or 2) your a fool. (This isn’t unique to Trump nor unique to Republicans.) Trump did this as soon as Tapper shifted from David Duke to the Ku Klux Klan. In this particular case, I don’t think he was a being a fool.

    Trump is the “Id” candidate (as in Ego, Superego, and Id). He appeals to that part of all of us that is fed up, frustrated, and scared. It’s become more than a protest vote.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 10:24 am.

      Nice observation

      What would Freud note about HRC, please?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/29/2016 - 11:36 am.

        Was würde Freud sagen?

        I think he would note that defense mechanisms, such as displacement or deflection, are the ego’s way of dealing with the anxiety caused by perceived threats to its security.

        Or was that not what you were asking?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/01/2016 - 09:24 am.

        Nothing

        Freud is dead, and very few psychologists regard him as of other than historical interests now.
        The literary types still take him seriously, though.

        • Submitted by Jim Million on 03/01/2016 - 11:32 am.

          Fair Statement

          Years ago I had a friend/mentor sort, who described himself as one of the last Freudians.
          He once mused: I wonder if anyone even trains anymore? It takes five years, at least.
          Some of his stories were absolutely fascinating.
          [He only mentioned those who were dead, by the way.]
          That was nearly 40 years ago in Rochester.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 02/29/2016 - 03:55 pm.

      I’d adjust your words just slightly.

      Trump appeals to those of us who are fed up, frustrated, and scared. While Sanders appeals to those of us who are fed up, frustrated, and ready to exercise our freedom. That’s the difference between authoritarianism and democracy.

      If Trump supporters had been stoked with a bit less fear over the past years, they’d know the cause of their anger and we’d have a majority to walk to the ballot box and peacefully begin to take the power of governance back for ourselves.

  6. Submitted by joe smith on 02/29/2016 - 10:13 am.

    After nearly 30 years of crony capitalism, wasted tax dollars, DC growing, lobbyists/special interest groups gaining more power, Senators and House Reps going into DC poor and leaving millionaires, middle class getting hurt, jobs leaving America, Wall Street and DC elites writing rules, Dodd/Frank making big banks bigger and many more tragedies topped off by 7 years of Obama has created Trump and Bernie.

    Folks are sick and tired of politicians, broken promises, reduced wages, part time jobs, broken educational system, PC police, non transparent administrations, war on poverty as poverty grows. Voters are sick and tired of Bush’s, Clinton’s and elites claiming to feel their pain. They want someone to help them get a job, pay bills and be self sufficient.

    In normal times Hillary’s dishonesty, Bernie”s socialist views (how is he bring manufacturing jobs back- by over taxing companies that left due to high taxes to begin with) and Trump’s bombastic approach would disqualify them. This is a new different year in politics!

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 11:23 am.

      Misplaced Windex Bottles

      Very many people need to seriously clean their windows, making them again “transparent” so they may again “see right through” much of this rhetoric from all on every side.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/29/2016 - 10:15 am.

    It’s not about eudcated guesses

    It’s about uneducated guesses.
    Trumpf simply tells a certain group of people what they want to hear, whether it makes sense or not.
    Classic demagoguery.

  8. Submitted by charles thompson on 02/29/2016 - 10:17 am.

    huh?

    the press is panicked? the media loves this guy. look for the panic elsewhere.

  9. Submitted by Rich Crose on 02/29/2016 - 10:30 am.

    My Republican Neighbor

    Over the fence last Saturday on a record breaking weather day, My Republican neighbor said –and I quote, “Two spicks and a clown. I’m voting for the clown.”

    Trump has brought the racists out into the open. Let’s hope sunshine will disinfect.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 11:14 am.

      Truly

      We might also also re-label many terms now “racist” as “colloquial,” as previously classified.

      Everyone must resist the marketing ploys of many political factions, as most of us resist the questionable strategies of many consumer product pushers.

      We can educate, we can otherwise facilitate, but we cannot gerrymander culture modification. Shouldn’t we all know this by now? It’s been at least 50 years of “wedgies.”

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2016 - 02:48 pm.

        So

        Which racial slurs are you looking to “colloquialize”, as it were. Whether or not YOU think it’s racist is really not the point after all.

  10. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 02/29/2016 - 10:31 am.

    Trump

    Peggy Noonan had a great column in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago describing the Trump phenomenon. Trump isn’t going away. Not only is he going to win the Republican race, but he is going to be Hillary’s worst nightmare.

    Can you imagine what the general election is going to be like? With the mess she and Obama have made in the Middle East, the E-mail issues, and Bill’s infidelities and HIllary’s standing by her man and trying to smear Bill’s accusers, Trump is going to have a field day.

    The only hope for the Democratic party is to nominate Bernie, which looks highly unlikely.

    It’s going to be a very interesting 4 years with Trump in office.

  11. Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 10:32 am.

    Hey, Everyone

    This is a very good Monday morning of intelligent adult thought.

    May we all continue to present philosophy rather than polarizing dogma.

  12. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 02/29/2016 - 10:37 am.

    not so hard to understand

    you said, ” his remarks did not indicate whether he understood what the KKK was, which is a little hard to imagine.” A little hard to imagine? Really? How about impossible? Who are you afraid of offending?

    The Republican party has spent 45 years courting racist white people. If 10% of white Americans are overtly racist, that is probably about 25% of the current Republican party (guessing that about 40% of Americans are Republican). Now consider that for the past seven years the Republicans have done everything they can get away with to prevent our national government from functioning.

    So the three main candidates are fighting over the racist vote but Trump wins it because he is so open about it, which is why he can’t condemn the KKK. Then the much of the rest of his support are the people that are fed up with a nonfunctioning government. Since Rubio and Cruz are two of the major blockade people, this group of Republicans, probably many voting in primaries for the first time, are siding with Trump against “the establishment”.

    So put those two blocks together and you get most of Trump’s support. They don’t care about traditional conservative ideology. They are voting for hate and “agin gov’ment”.

    For all the courting of racists and then all the tea party crazies, the Republicans planted the seeds of their own destruction.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/29/2016 - 11:37 am.

      The fear, of course, is that they’ll take the rest of the country down with them.

      Hopefully we can weather this storm and maybe even come out stronger on the other side.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 10:17 pm.

        Fear in Both Houses

        This, of course, is also the view of Bernie Sanders from the far Right.

        Waiting for a little panic to make the fear go down…

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/29/2016 - 12:05 pm.

      And yet

      the only actual KKK member to serve in the U.S. Senate was Bobby Byrd, democrat.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/29/2016 - 04:40 pm.

        And then he thought better of it

        From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Byrd#Ku_Klux_Klan):

        “In 1946, Byrd wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, ‘The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.'[21] However, when running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced ‘After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan.’ He said he had joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was anti-communist.[13]

        “In 1997, Byrd told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics but also warned, ‘Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don’t get that albatross around your neck. Once you’ve made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena.'[22] In his last autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a KKK member because he ‘was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision — a jejune and immature outlook — seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions.'[23] Byrd also said, in 2005, ‘I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times … and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.'”

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/29/2016 - 05:32 pm.

        And yet

        you weaseled in the ‘actual’ qualifier..
        And he was a member of the Klan ten years before he was a member of the House of Representatives.
        Byrd’s position on civil rights changed over the course of his career.
        To quote Wikipedia:
        “On May 19, 2008, Byrd endorsed Barack Obama (D-Illinois). One week after the West Virginia Democratic Primary, in which Hillary Clinton defeated Obama by 41 to 32 per cent,[49] Byrd said, “Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support.”[50] When asked in October 2008 about the possibility that the issue of race would influence West Virginia voters, as Obama is an African-American, Byrd replied, “Those days are gone. Gone!”[51] ”

        Some people do learn from history; others repeat it.

  13. Submitted by Bill Willy on 02/29/2016 - 11:15 am.

    Clown Car update

    I’d been waiting for Matt Taibbi to write a “comprehensive assessment” piece since reading his “Inside the GOP Clown Car” article last August. He’s written a lot of pieces related to this or that aspect of the Republican (and Democratic) race since then, but none that provided his overall take on where the clown car’s at now and how it got there. It finally popped up last week:

    “How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-unstoppable-20160224

    It’s a good one. Can’t over-recommend it. It’s only one person’s view of things of course, but when it comes to it being hard to understand Trump’s rise and endurance it provides a lot of insight and does so in an intelligent, witty, highly readable and at least a little bit “disturbing” way.

    And speaking of the white supremacist vote and possible fascist tendencies, the article starts somewhere around here and rolls on into a look at the wide range of things about Trump that are driving the oligarchs, conservatives in general, the Republican establishment and the media crazy and making some Democrats more than a little uneasy:

    “At the Verizon Giganto-Center in Manchester the night before the New Hampshire primary, Trump bounds onstage . . . He steps to the lectern and does his Mussolini routine, which he’s perfected over the past months. It’s a nodding wave, a grin, a half-sneer, and a little U.S. Open-style applause back in the direction of the audience, his face the whole time a mask of pure self-satisfaction . . . He flashes a thumbs-up. ‘So everybody’s talking about the cover of Time magazine last week. They have a picture of me from behind, I was extremely careful with my hair’ . . . He strokes his famous flying fuzz-mane. It looks gorgeous, like it’s been recently fed. The crowd goes wild. Whoooo! Trump!”

    One of the best summaries of “the current state of affairs” so far.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/29/2016 - 11:39 am.

    Trump is easy to understand

    Trump’s endurance really isn’t a mystery, the republican party has spend the last three decades cultivating the voters who are now propelling Trump into the winners circle.

    Republicans have spent decades promoting ignorance, patriarchal mentalities, magical thinking, and intolerance. Divisiveness has been they’re primary political strategy since the 70s. They’ve spent decades creating a home for these voters and now those voters are voting. Yes, it’s a disaster and as far as I’m concerned it couldn’t happen to a nicer party.

    These guys are literally incapable of recognizing the irony of refusing to even consider an Obama SCOTUS nomination one day, and denouncing Trumps divisiveness the next. Stick a fork in these guys, they’re done.

    If you want to understand the Evangelical attraction to Trump you just have to remember that those people never had any coherent principles in the first place. The Evangelical movement was always about personality traits and Trump’s personality fits. Trump is the embodiment of white patriarchal hubris, and that’s exactly what Evangelicals have always been about.

    Sure, Trump as the republican candidate for President is stupid, but being stupid is what the republicans have been about since Reagan got elected. Carl Rove is supposed to be they’re brainiac, he’snot a brainiac hes’ just an jerk.

  15. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 02/29/2016 - 11:45 am.

    Radical fringe is becoming mainstream.

    Donald Trump is the logical outcome of radical, purest, tea part politics.

    Bernie is the logical outcome of the pandering, big-government handout, Democratic Party types.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 03/01/2016 - 09:30 am.

      Ralph Nader

      Nader appealed to similar sets, those pretty much fed up with the corporate politics of usual teams with somewhat different jerseys.

  16. Submitted by Jon Austin on 02/29/2016 - 11:50 am.

    I’ve been wrong so many times about Donald Drumpf…

    …that I have to question whether I actually know anything about politics.

    When I watched his announcement I turned to my wife and said, “Shortest presidential candidacy in history. He took himself out in his first press conference.” Wrong.

    Ditto the McCain comments, the Megyn Kelly misogyny, the mocking of the disabled New York Times reporter, the “I saw thousands celebrating in Jersey” comments, the “how stupid are Iowans” and on and on and on.

    This is a candidate where the overwhelming majority of his statements are rated “mostly false, false or pant-on-fire false” by Politifact but is still thought to be the candidate who “tells it like it is.” Who supports Planned Parenthood and is “ambiguous” at best on abortion but attracts the support of pro-life voters. Who cannot correctly quote a well-known biblical passage, has been married three times and is a documented adulterer but who attracts the evangelical vote. Who received a draft deferment for – I think it was – bunions and who doesn’t know what the nuclear triad is (much less its components) and still is perceived as strong on defense. Who promises – threatens to my ear – to do for the country’s economy what he’s done for his own business even though he would have been 10 times better off to have put his money in a market-indexed investment fund.

    By any sane standard – liberal or conservative – Donald Drumpf’s candidacy should be a comedic sideshow. And yet, as Mr. Black notes, barring an epic reversal in the next 36 hours he’s likely to be the Republican nominee.

    In another era – one in which there weren’t so many people who have been marginalized and left out of the prosperity of the last 25 years and ravaged by the downturns during that period – Donald Drumpf would be still be a punchline. Instead, he’s a conduit for their anger and their sense that voting for him is way to say “fuck you” to “the establishment” (on the left and the right).

    In another era – when the combination of “reality television,” social media and a general upheaval in the media landscape hadn’t allowed for the rise of celebrities whose only claim to celebrity was their celebrity (yes, that’s EXACTLY the process that explains why the Kardashians are anything other than an odd footnote to the OJ Simpson story) – Donald Drumpf would be some vaguely known, boorish New York real estate developer working on his fourth or fifth wife and hustling for a mention on Page Six. Instead, Mr. Drumpf has spent the last decade playing a character on television that is a parody of a successful businessman that – apparently – many people believe represents the real personality, character and other qualities of Mr. Drumpf.

    This relentless promotion has built a persona that is much more immune to the usual attacks and missteps that can take out other candidates. In plain sight, if any of us had been looking, Mr. Drumpf was honing some of the basic skills politicians need to campaign – the ability to stay on message, to shift conversations and interviews in directions he wants, to move from defense to attack, to make “others” – the media, illegal immigrants, Muslims – a rallying point, etc. He’s done endless practice interviews on Howard Stern, Morning Joe, the Today Show, etc. and he has a innate ability to manipulate the media environment – witness the timing of the Christie announcement – to either attract or shift attention.

    In another era – one in which our economy was robust and resilient, our social and political fabrics were unworn and stretched, in which we were at peace and admired around the world – the prospect of a Donald Drumpf presidency would – maybe – seem like less of an existential threat to our country than it does today. I wish we lived in that era.

    If there are any Drumpf supporters on Minnpost – and if there are I’d love to read a reasoned argument for his candidacy – I promise you that no matter what your issue is – immigration, defense, societal questions, the economy, trade, war and peace – Donald Drumpf is not the answer. He has defined no plans that are worthy of the word, staked out no positions that he has not contradicted or reversed and has exhibited none the quality of intellect and reflection that a leader should provide. In the absence of all those attributes he has brought crudeness, ignorance, race-baiting, anger and hatred for the “other” to the forefront of the national debate. If you think we as a country need to change – and there’s ample reason to think that’s true – I promise you Donald Drumpf will not bring the change you are looking for unless you are in the “just burn it down” category.

    I shudder to think what he’ll do as the nominee.

    • Submitted by C.S. Senne on 02/29/2016 - 02:42 pm.

      Thanks!

      I’ve read a lot of Drumpf commentary from multiple sources; yours is one of the best. Thanks for collecting all of the Drumpf dreck in one place for easy reference for those of us who are appalled at this vile and vulgar phenomenon. I’ll be sharing it widely!

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 03/01/2016 - 10:28 am.

      As firm Minnesotans,

      we may be significantly ambivalent regarding “how stupid are Iowans” in this string.

      • Submitted by Jon Austin on 03/01/2016 - 07:53 pm.

        Be nice…

        …Iowans have feelings too.

        But they do have to bear some responsibility for the train wreck we’re witnessing tonight. They could have given him 1% of the Iowa vote and it might have put a stopper in this.

        I have higher hopes for the Minnesota’s Republican caucus-goers.

        Please, please, please.

  17. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/29/2016 - 12:00 pm.

    strange fruit

    Trump is the strange fruit rising from the seed of Nixon’s “southern strategy” and watered by the decades of delusions of the right wing media.

    Of course there are those who are hungry for it. They’ve been waiting for it for years.

  18. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/29/2016 - 02:29 pm.

    strange fruit

    Trump is the strange fruit rising from the seed of Nixon’s “southern strategy” and watered by the decades of delusions of the right wing media.

    Of course there are those who are hungry for it. They’ve been waiting for it for years.

  19. Submitted by William Lindeke on 02/29/2016 - 12:01 pm.

    two deep currents in US history

    In a way, Trump is a throwback. Two of the deepest currents in US history are racism and get-rich-quick schemes. Trump is mining some rich veins and bringing them into the political sphere in a way that’s more overt than political classes are used to.

    But it’s nothing new! In fact, he’s only tweaked the same schtick he’s been using for decades, only in a different sphere this time. Politics instead of real estate or TV.

  20. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/29/2016 - 12:13 pm.

    Is the American electorate at large as ignorant as the Republican primary voters seem to be, to choose a man as ignorant as Donald Trump repeatedly professes to be about so many events, people, and ideas? To choose a man whose head is so empty that he asks for time for his aides to look things up for him?

    To read these transcriptions is to see a man dancing away from any firm answer. So that everyone can see their preconceived ideas or impressions or prejudices or ignorance confirmed in what he doesn’t say, or what he blurs by running at the mouth.

    Here’s man who likes a quotation that prefers brute strength/violence to a peaceful nature or preference (lion over lambs). Here’s a man who’s not ashamed to quote as an authority a brutal Fascist who joined hand in hand with Hitler to eliminate. . . oh, well. Trump is a man who lies about knowing who David Duke is. He has no idea what a white supremacist is? And he wants to be our president?

    Trump is a man who like a robot constantly circles back to his 14 million social media “fans” to say. . . what? Who cares how many “follow” and forward his tweets? How is that relevant to anything in this interview?

    Trump is a master at avoidance, and if there are Republicans or independents out there who want as slippery an eel as Donald Trump anywhere near the White House, they simply cannot be paying attention or using their judgement.

  21. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 02/29/2016 - 03:03 pm.

    dig deeper…

    The above article has nothing to do with the title and basically says “Can you believe Trump said this… I can’t believe someone would vote for him.”

    It is an opinion piece, not reporting.

    It sounds like the author is freaking out about The Donald and has to vent. Talking to Trump supporters might have answered a few of his questions. The truth is, it is not about The Donald, it is about those who back him. When you dig deep and talk to his supporters, people who own businesses and are upstanding citizens in their community, it is easy to understand not only the rise of Trump, but the reasoning behind his followers.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/29/2016 - 07:14 pm.

      EB

      does not claim to be either an author or a reporter; he is a commentator.
      And you are right — it is not just about Trump; it is about the people who deny the implications of what he says and hear the parts that tap into their own fears and prejudices. However, they are not running for President; Trump is. It’s his decisions stemming from his ignorance that the rest of us would end up living with.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 02/29/2016 - 10:32 pm.

      Welcome, Ray

      To “The Black Hole” as I like to note, somewhere left of the center-left line, by author admission.

      This is a wonderfully cathartic place to be these days, now that both orbit and axis of Earth seem to have shifted more than a bit.

      Please stay with us, Ray. This is an interesting space to share views beyond the conventional.

      It’s provocative, thoughtful….and civil. These are good and rational people of passion.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 03/01/2016 - 07:23 am.

      Ray, if you know something…

      …why don’t you enlighten us. Personally I think the majority of Trump “fans” are ignorant and uneducated. I think there is a strong correlation between being a Trump fan and being a regular lottery ticket purchaser and being a compulsive reality TV watcher. If someone is “upstanding” enough to own a business but yet supports a guy who is generally considered to be bad for America and the world, I would like to hear their argument for why they are voting with the Klan.

      But then you have dug deep so please explain.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 03/01/2016 - 09:58 am.

        Oh, dear…

        The tone of condescension seeps through “enlighten.” Certainly any view regarding “ignorant and uneducated” fans may be heard within the HRC war room…regarding Sanders fans. In any case, that’s elitist language regardless of source.

        Just exactly why are so many leaping at KKK bait? Come on, guys, who’s had any thought about the Klan in recent years. Few have, I believe, until party “strategists” of both colors (Red & Blue, to be quite clear here) dug them up in desperation.

        Oh, Jake Tapper is neutral? I know he usually looks confused, but that’s just an anchor mask, me thinks.

      • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 03/01/2016 - 01:39 pm.

        I’ll give it a stab…

        Two points, Bill.

        1. Trump supporting the KKK

        People who associate themselves with the KKK are voting for Trump. That does not mean Trump or his non-KKK followers support the KKK or want their support.

        2. Ignorant Trump Supporters

        On your comment about Trump supporters being “ignorant,” I will summon Mr. Trump himself. After the Nevada caucuses he said, “We won the evangelicals, we won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated.”

        Mr. Trump won the majority of the highly educated. The highly educated. That says a lot. Why are educated voters supporting him? I was hoping to learn that from this article.

        BTW, there are eleven uses of the word ignorant in the above comments and one use of ignorant in the MinnPost article. That shows a vast misconstruction of the Trump phenomenon.

        Finally, you asked me to explain my Trump-thoughts and I’ll do my best…

        In the soundbite world we live in, people who express support of issues Trump has raised get shot down and called names. I think many of these people just stop adding to forums like this. Broadening this thought, these same people and their views become invisible in the national “discussion.”

        For example, can I say “I like the rebel flag” on national television without being labeled as anti-black or something worse? No. Can I be offended by Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation without being labeled as insensitive or extreme? No. These are issues we could be having conversations about, but, instead, the correct answer is broadcast and dissenters are yelled at.

        Today, through Trump, these people have found a voice. Right or wrong in their views, they should have a voice. These people, part of America, have been ignored and have been put down. I am not saying I feel sorry for them, but I am saying that they now have a platform. Trump has risen because Americans do not have discussions anymore. We chose a side and we yell and we call names.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2016 - 02:16 pm.

          Ignorance and Education

          You are assuming that formal education is the opposite of ignorance. A person can be relatively well-educated in one area, but completely lacking in knowledge–ignorant, if you will–in another area. If Trump supporters are the ones who have never taken much interest in politics before, one could say, with some justification, that they are ignorant in the political and policy areas.

          As far as Trump and the KKK are concerned, it strains belief to think that he does not know about David Duke, since in 2000 he explicitly said he would not run for President on the Reform Party ticket because the party “now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke . . .” It also strains belief to think that he is unaware of what the Klan stands for, or what it historically has stood for. Surely, he could have asked his father, who was arrested during a Klan brawl in Queens.

          • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 03/01/2016 - 02:57 pm.

            Ignorance

            Where is the data/research that Trump supporters are ignorant? And what are they ignorant of?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2016 - 03:38 pm.

              Empirical Evidence

              Donald Trump has shown himself time and again to be ignorant about issues of policy, economics, international affairs, and the US Constitution. Do his followers not care? Do they believe that a man who has so little regard for reality should be President? Or do they accept his version of the truth?

              The Trump candidacy is so divorced from reality that it would be hard to imagine his supporters as anything other than incredibly ignorant.

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/01/2016 - 03:43 pm.

              I see at least two possible forms of ignorance—

              ignorant of the complexities of issues and answers in today’s world and believe Trump’s big bluff is the answer.

              ignorant of the serious nature of problems that the US is encountering and so a vote for Trump is a big middle finger up to the unpleasant/unpopular realities of the word.

            • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/01/2016 - 03:45 pm.

              Three possibilities. A Trump supporter:

              (1) Is justifiably angry, but ignorant of why;

              (2) Is justifiably angry, and accurately apprehends why, but is ignorant in judging what sort of leader, policy platform and theory of change may ameliorate the cause of the anger; or

              (3) Favors as societal guiding principles not democracy and freedom, but authoritarianism and herd battle.

              If it is the third, then you are correct, the Trump supporter is not ignorant.

            • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 03/01/2016 - 11:06 pm.

              Proof

              I still see no proof of ignorance. I understand that people have reasons for not liking Trump. But to call his supporters ignorant without proof of ignorance does not sit well with me.

              • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/02/2016 - 09:49 am.

                Ray –

                Perhaps you would need to clarify what you mean by “proof of ignorance.” If someone professes to subscribe to basic principles of freedom and self-governance, and then supports an explicitly authoritarian candidate, to me that is pretty strong evidence of factual/deliberative ignorance infecting the reasoning path somewhere between point A and point B.

                And I was serious as to the third option I listed. If someone instead subscribes to authoritarian values – which, even though it’s not my cup of tea, he or she has the right to do – then the reasoning process that gets from there to Trump is pretty direct and isn’t evidence of ignorance whatsoever.

                • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 03/02/2016 - 11:05 am.

                  Build the wall!!!

                  I do agree with your third option, Charles. It makes sense to close our borders, and an authoritarian leader would be perfect for that. Then we could sit and watch the world’s economy grow while we fall into poverty, lol.

                  But on Trump being authoritarian, I don’t agree. Donald Trump, a businessman, would more closely be defined as a capitalist (my opinion). Calling him authoritarian is another opinion. Rush, Beck,et al., use Obama’s executive orders as reasoning that Obama is authoritarian (their opinion). Are Obama’s supporters ignorant then?

                  I am not trying to start a thread on Obama. I am saying that defining the whole of a candidate with one word or phrase is an opinion. Disagreeing with that opinion is more a difference of opinion than a matter of anyone being ignorant.

                  • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 03/02/2016 - 11:33 am.

                    Get tough

                    I think Trump supporters are in large part responding to the eight-year GOP critique of Obama as being “too weak”. They think that merely being “tougher” (in what ever way they imagine that to be) will produce the desired results, whether it’s destroying ISIS or dealing with Iran or making Mexico pay for a wall or stopping China’s decades-long trade policies or sticking it to the elites. And that’s what Trump is giving them — the exact opposite of Obama’s cool and measured persona.

                  • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/03/2016 - 08:20 am.

                    Your reasoning seems to be that all statements are “opinions”

                    And all opinions are equal. Therefore there is nothing to be said about the world.

                    “Authoritarian” is a term with a meaning. It denotes a system where political, economic and social power are concentrated in the few, with the disenfranchisement of the many, and where the many are rendered passive or supportive in part thru coercion but also, almost always, through a combination of charisma and the pitting of favored against disfavored groups.

                    “Capitalism” as we colloquially define it is authoritarian. When prerogatives over the deployment of, and returns to, capital are out of public/private balance in favor of privatization, over time economic, political and social power concentrate in the few. This isn’t disputable, conceptually or empirically. The more one advocates to reduce the collective role in determining how capital is used and who benefits from it, the more authoritarian the view. Combine this with Trump’s cult of personality (absence of any actual reasoned policies), his identification of domestic enemies, and his encouraging physical violence against those enemies by his supporters. He’s textbook authoritarian … unless of course it’s all just the nation’s greatest-ever performance art.

                    Please don’t cite to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck in what is supposed to be a reasoned exchange.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/01/2016 - 02:58 pm.

          By supporting

          The symbol of violent oppression, and by feeling offended by someone you’ll never meet and whose lifestyle has no impact upon your own you reveal yourself as authoritarian. This is incompatible with many persons view of what our country is based upon. That you feel you should be able to put forth any opinion you wish, without regard for interpersonal consquence, shows a profound misunderstanding of what free speech entails, and indeed a poorly developed sense of what sort of behavior is desirable in any sort of civilized company. In short, the prevailing desire I see in most Trumpists is that of wanting to be as abhorrent a human being as possible, while receiving no criticism for, or experiencing any consequences from, such behavior.

          • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 03/02/2016 - 07:58 am.

            You made my point…

            Matt, you made my point. Instead of responding to the content of what I wrote, you called me authoritarian, said my views are incompatible, and said I have a profound misunderstanding, among other things. These are all personal attacks.

            You shifted a possible discussion into something that cannot be responded to unless I were to attack you. (btw, those views I expressed are Trumpish viewpoints, not necessarily mine.)

            Again, how do we get to a point where two people, like you and me, can have opposing views and still talk? If we can’t get there, America will remain fragmented and people like Trump will have an advantage.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/02/2016 - 10:00 am.

              The problem

              Is not that I don’t wish to engage in dialogue, it’s that the positions are not equivalent. There is no world in which I will accept racism, xenophobia, homophobia, or transphobia as legitimate positions for debate. I am under no obligation to humor anyone’s bias, I have no need to tolerate intolerance. As I stated previously, anyone who holds these positions has every right to, what they don’t have is the right to expect no criticism for holding them. Nor should they expect no push back from those who don’t agree. That’s not debate, that’s acquiescence. If you dislike conflict, don’t engage in rhetorical debates that are controversial.

  22. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/29/2016 - 07:12 pm.

    Trump the hater

    Trump is a “might makes right” guy. He wants to be a lion who feasts on sheep, in others words, anyone he consider to be a loser. He is totally lacking in respect for anyone who is different or disagrees with him. That makes him to prototypical Ugly American. Just think what would happen if he were in charge of the most powerful military machine known to man and all the carnage that could ensue. We aren’t talking about a mere Mussolini, but something far worse. Great evil would come out of it.

    • Submitted by Julie Barton on 03/01/2016 - 09:31 am.

      Trump v Scotland

      I think you are correct.

      Everything I ever needed to know about Trump (since I didn’t watch his “reality programs” I learned from his interactions with politicians and people in Scotland, as he (in my opinion) destroyed one of the most beautiful places on earth with his Trump International Golf Links in Scotland.

      He bullied and bribed politicians, he used eminent domain laws (something he now says he isn’t in favor of — or maybe it’s more proper to say that many of his supporters think he’s against eminent domain laws), he cut the power lines and water mains to residents of Menie in Aberdeenshire who disagreed with what he building – and how he was building it. And then when he stopped getting his way, he picked up his ball and went home crying about the mean, ungrateful Scots. (see the movie discussed in this article – the movie isn’t necessarily balanced, but the facts are there – http://www.npr.org/2012/08/02/157609870/in-the-scottish-dunes-its-david-versus-the-donald)

      While I think all of the candidates in both major parties have their flaws, and that none will be able to repair the schisms that have grown since Reagan, Trump is the scariest. When things don’t go his way, he declares bankruptcy. He made the majority of his money as a slumlord (after he was lucky enough to inherit his starting wealth).

      ALSO – thank you MinnPost for having this discussion, and THANK YOU readers of MinnPost who didn’t go right to either threatening to hurt/maim/kill a fellow commentator or jumping to Godwin’s Law right away.

  23. Submitted by Bill Willy on 03/01/2016 - 11:52 am.

    Haul on the bowline!

    It came to me on Super Tuesday Eve during a reality show (“Love’s Guillotine”) commercial break:

    Trump is Moby Dick.

    The Republi party is the Pequod.

    Remaining questions include:

    – Who is Captain Ahab?

    – Who is the best harpoonist?

    – Are those two one in the same?

    – Will it matter come midnight?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/01/2016 - 03:23 pm.

      As the book ends

      there are three harpooneers:
      One African (Tashtego)
      One Polynesian (Queequeq — the main character)
      One Native American (Tashtego).
      I doubt that Trump would approve of any of them; he does have the colour, bulk and nastiness of the whale.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/01/2016 - 03:51 pm.

      Captain Ahab

      Reince Priebus, dooming himself by his relentless and fanatical efforts to destroy the whale.

  24. Submitted by JJ Cambell on 03/02/2016 - 03:13 pm.

    Voters today

    I believe that the public has changed as to what they will accept. KKK charges comes up every presidential electric or tax reports. It seems now day’s those throwing the accusations are more apt to loose their forward motion re: Rubio in last debate. It seems so false, Most understand Donald Trump is not a bigot or racist. The party establishment forgets they do not pic the President the people do.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/03/2016 - 11:03 am.

      “Most understand Donald Trump is not a bigot or racist.”

      I don’t understand that at all. What drives his promises to bar Muslims from entering the US, if not bigotry? Would someone who is not racist say what he has about Mexicans? And for his attitude towards African Americans, one need only Google “Central Park Five” to see that in action.

  25. Submitted by miki polumbaum on 03/23/2016 - 09:39 am.

    Trump is another person who should’ve been properly vetted.

    Trump is another candidate who should’ve been properly vetted and scrutinized when he first decided to run for President of the United States. The fact that he wasn’t vetted or scrutinized is part of the reason that he’s gone so far out of control with this actions and rhetoric. Some points of view and attitudes are extremely dangerous and irresponsible, and Trump’s viewpoints are among them. Anybody in public office (which Trump isn’t yet, anyway.), or is running for public office needs watch their mouth and be more responsible.

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