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September 21st, 2017

Insight

Is Trump a Net Plus or Minus for the GOP?

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published August 26, 2015

Is Trump a Net Plus or Minus for the GOP?

If I were to write a column or say something on television that is unflattering about Jeb Bush or John Kasich or Carly Fiorina or Chris Christie or any other moderate Republican, I wouldn't get emails from their supporters calling me a moron and telling me to drop dead. But say something negative about Donald Trump — about his brash style or his so-called policies — and it's bombs away F bombs away to be precise. Not all, but many of Trump's most passionate supporters, aren't big on debating issues. Name-calling is their strong suit — just like you know who.

After my last column and appearance on FNC about Trump, I heard from his supporters — and they weren't happy. One Trump fan, after calling me an "idiot," wrote that I "couldn't carry Trump's jock strap." Good one, Ralph!

Bob, another angry Trump supporter, wasn't pleased that I told Bill O'Reilly that I didn't think the Oval Office was big enough for both Trump and his massive ego. So he wrote this: "You say the White House isn't big enough for Trump. I've got a s—t house big enough for an IDIOT like you! You ARE a f-ing MORON!"

"Thanks, Bob," I wrote back, "you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Not all Trump supporters, of course, are so articulate. And their willingness to express such raw emotions shouldn't surprise anybody. If there's been a more thin-skinned candidate running for president than Donald Trump, if there has been someone in recent memory who lashes out at ever slight real or imagined, I can't think of who it is.

He can't seem to help himself. For example, just when we thought the Trump war with Megyn Kelly was old news Donald proves us wrong. One of the people watching her return after a two-week vacation was Mr. Trump himself. And he couldn't resist sending out a tweet:

"I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!"

Nor could he resist re-tweeting a message from a Trump fan who called Kelly a "bimbo."

Bill O'Reilly recently told me on his program that he thought Trump was a net plus for the Republican Party. Bill has been wrong before.

How is Trump's plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants going to help the GOP? It's what his angry supporters want to hear. But it's not what Latino voters want to hear.

In 2012, Mitt Romney put forth the idea that illegals should deport themselves. He won a measly 27 percent of the Hispanic vote and lost the election. Trump — who back then said Romney's plan was "crazy" — makes self-deportation look downright humanitarian. The man who wants to uproot families, put them on busses and ship them across the border would be lucky if 27 Latinos in the whole country vote for him — that is, if he somehow won the GOP nomination.

But, you know, he just might. Nothing he says or does seems to hurt him — such is the level of anger and frustration among many Republican voters.

In a piece for Commentary magazine, Peter Wehner writes about the anger and frustration, and Trump faithful.

"This is a populist moment — and for them, Trump is Mr. Anti-Establishment. They see him as the confrontational outsider, unscripted and not politically correct, a person who can shake up the system. Donald Trump is The Great Disrupter. In addition, he knows how to 'school' the 'establishment' types and has their 'number.' The enemy of my enemy is my friend. It's time to burn down the village — in this case, Washington D.C. — to save the village. And if the man lighting the match is vulgar, inconsistent, and unprincipled, no matter."

Yes, Donald Trump is tapping into something real — a real frustration with politics as usual. But anger and resentment are not policies. Nor are they attributes most of us want in our president. And before this is over, I suspect most Republicans will figure that out. Most Americans, I think, already have.

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