Political commentators are using the term the Trump Effect to explain why fringe Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential race are stumbling over each other to say inflammatory things. Apparently, Trump has been getting very good traction with Republican voters for his willingness to say just about whatever controversial thing comes to his mind, and other candidates want in on the publicity, apparently.
A case in point. Mike Huckabee made a fool of himself by claiming that, with the Iran deal, Obama was marching Israelis to the “door of the oven.” Yes, he said that. Like Obama is some kind of Jihadist Pied Piper. Not only did he say that, but he actually doubled down on that statement in exquisitely Trump-like fashion:
Three times I’ve been to Auschwitz. When I talked about the oven door, I have stood at that oven door. I know exactly what it looks like.
Yeah. I’ve been to a former plantation. That doesn’t make me a spokesman for the NAACP. Anyway. Many commentators have pointed out that Trump is unintentionally generating this kind of rhetoric because his off-the-cuff bloviations have given him an enviably healthy amount of time in the spotlight, in spite of how insubstantial most of his remarks actually are.
As they purportedly say, any publicity is good publicity. In the run-up to the first GOP primary debate, the fringe GOP candidates have to get on the news. They need to be seen by Republican voters as already “part of the discussion” or they probably won’t be included in the debate. Whether or not fringe candidates will be able to survive the fallout of their comments has yet to be seen. But, for now, most of them are gambling that negative attention now can be turned positive after they’ve proven themselves real contenders in the GOP primary.
Whatever else may be true of him, Trump knows how to get into and stay in the limelight. And his opponents are merely feeding his publicity stunts by responding to him. From McCain to Graham to Perry, Trump’s “enemies” are feeding the Trump publicity beast. They just can’t let his personal insults slide. If they were smart, they would ignore him. But they won’t. Because they’re not. In fact, the real Trump effect might just be the dumbing-down of political discourse. But you can hardly blame Donald Trump for that. Businessman that he pretends to be, he is merely “capitalizing” on an already-established political reality.
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