How Trump Is Simply Playing The Game In An Environment We've Created
Donald Trump is leading the Republican polls.
At 32 percent, he nearly triples the percentage pulled by his next closest competitor, Jeb Bush, who has a measly 11 percent of the likely electorate.
This comes in spite of decades of Donald being an unabashed assh*le, starting in 1973 when the Department of Justice sued him for discriminatory leasing practices against black renters.
Since then, Donald has made an empire out of being the most ridiculous person in the room.
All of his products are the most spectacular and terrific products in the world. His buildings are not only the greatest in their respective cities, but also among the finest structures ever created by human hands.
His television show centered on his unchecked boorishness. His companies have gone bankrupt four times. He maintained the current president wasn't born in this country, long after proof was given.
He's a serial liar.
By any and all indications, Donald Trump might be the most dangerous man we could elect to the most powerful position in our country.
But his rise to political prominence taps the increasing importance of the two nastiest features of the way we elect presidents: the emphasis on an individual's personality and the staggering amount of money needed to run a campaign.
Trump surged past his interchangeable competitors because on a crowded stage, he is the only one who attracts your attention.
A lifelong showman with reality-television chops, Donald is a master swordsman, able to dish out zingers and deflect any attacks.
His answers were the only remotely engaging part of last week's debate.
The Fox News team, clearly miffed he had taken such a commanding lead in the race, tried to hit him hardest with their questions, but failed to flag the momentum of his gilded steamship even a smidgen.
The most prying question came from Megyn Kelly, who attacked Trump for calling women "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs" and "disgusting animals."
Trump parried the potentially tricky question with a off-topic, off-color crack at Rosie O'Donnell, and a thinly-veiled threat, stating he had been nice to Kelly in the past, but could end if she kept treating him this way.
It would be a fitting response from an underworld kingpin or a pouty toddler, but it's terrifying coming from a presidential hopeful.
When given a chance to apologize, Donald doubled down, insinuating Kelly was on her period.
He is a coiffed cancer that feasts on our attention. We cannot look away because he is the perfect subject for short-attention span stories. He's crass, but he's funny. He doesn't say anything substantive, but he speaks in soundbite-sized chunks.
He's an objectively bad person, but he's entertaining.
Donald Trump is leading the Republican pack because every other candidate is boring in comparison. They're bottles of ZzzQuil. He's plastic bottle vodka and Redbull.
The other trend Trump represents is the insatiable amount of cash needed to run a campaign. As Trump has made very clear, he is an immensely wealthy man. At an estimated 4 billion dollars, he has the net worth to finance himself.
He'll remain a contender because he can sustain himself without having to grovel at the patent-leather-loafered feet of folks like the Koch Brothers.
He's no puppet. Though a good deal of his thoughts are repulsive, he can stand apart from other candidates as an independent thinker. He has bought himself relevance and prestige in this election.
Much as Jon Stewart and Co. blurred the line between news and entertainment, Donald Trump has blurred the line between politics and entertainment.
Despite our moral grandstanding, we've loved his potent brew of bigotry, rewarding him with attention and discussion that would probably be better served on basically anything else.
Trump isn't making a mockery of the presidential race; he's making the most of the 24-hour news cycle and unlimited campaign financing.
He's a monster perfectly evolved for the environment we've created.