We do not, as a country, deserve the sort of spectacle we're witnessing in Republican politics today. The fellow leading most early polls right now is Donald Trump. We do not deserve this. It was this very same Donald Trump who dominated media coverage over the past weekend by suggesting that Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked him tough questions because she was on her period. This happened. We don't deserve something this... amazing. Has anything ever been this perfect?
Once again, there's the discussion about whether these will be the comments that bury Trump. Once again, the only honest answer is... we'll have to wait and see, but don't bet on it? It's far from evident that his supporters were previously under the impression that Donald Trump treats women respectfully. Recall that during the debate, Trump received an enormous ovation for standing by his years of grossly sexist comments against Rosie O'Donnell. Megyn Kelly, as a popular Fox News personality, is a much more dangerous target, sure. But something tells me that Trump's supporters -- our nation's classiest demographic -- might file a thinly-veiled assertion such as ehh, she must've been on the rag as just the latest, strongest example of their man "telling it like it is."
There has been some internal debate within the Trump campaign about where to go from here. On the one side is Donald Trump and anyone who hopes to remain in his employ. Their preferred strategy going forward is to maintain the status quo, wherein Donald Trump says whatever unfiltered nonsense is on his mind. Then there are those figures like Roger Stone, a notorious political showman who, in a great snapshot of where American politics is right now, was fired (or quit?) for pressing Trump to get serious. Via Politico, here is a reconstructed exchange of what went down between Trump and Stone late last week.
Trump proceeded to do just that later in the evening, posting another’s message on his Twitter account that called Kelly a “bimbo.”
The next morning, Stone had to fight Trump’s handlers to meet with him for 15 minutes, prompting the following exchange that both of Stone’s friends, independently and separately, tell POLITICO what happened:
Stone: “Donald, stop with the Megyn Kelly shit. It’s fucking crazy. It’s killing us.”
Trump: “What do you mean? I won the debate. People loved it.”
Stone: “You didn’t win the debate.”
Trump: “Yes I did. Look at the polling. Look at Drudge.”
Stone: “The Drudge Report poll isn’t a scientific poll. You won’t give me the money to pay for a scientific poll. And you’re off-message.”
Trump: “There are other polls.”
Stone: “Those are bullshit polls, Donald. They’re not scientific polls. We need to run a professional campaign and talk about what people really care about.”
Trump: “We’re winning.”
Was Stone able to convince Trump to adjust his style that day? Considering that a few hours after this exchange Trump publicly averred that Megyn Kelly was menstruating, we'd guess that... he was not.
But that was a whole few days ago. There is now some loose talk floating around the Internet about how the Trump campaign will consider feigning seriousness at some point in the near future. Oh, this'll be great.
ABC News reports that Trump is "now seriously considering promising not to run as an independent if he does not win the Republican nomination," per a campaign adviser. This seems like an easy decision. Sure, it was fun for a while to get that extra-bonus layer of attention by keeping open the possibility of an independent run. Everyone had a good time. But pledging, now, to stick to the GOP line is a no-brainer. It would bar the RNC from keeping him out of future debates, a move that it has been considering (at dumb donors' behest). More importantly: He can simply break his pledge and run as an independent later if he feels like it. (Not that he's really interested in doing that. Politico reports "from the inside" that "because of ballot complications, he’s unlikely to run independent, anyway.")
Most enticingly, the Trump campaign is sending word that their man -- get this -- will be releasing "policy papers" soon.
[Trump campaign manager Corey] Lewandowski tells Playbook that Trump this week will publish the first in a series of policy papers on illegal immigration, helping veterans, health care, Second Amendment (similar views to the other GOP candidates), and the economy (including a tax structure to help the economy grow again, and resisting bad trade deals). Lewandowski said these will be “intricate detail” on positions Trump has already taken: “The media has been waiting on them to peruse them.” Asked the planned rate of release, Lewandowski said: “We’ll see what the media feedback is.”
We can all look forward to this.
The key words here are "intricate detail." What does that mean? One should not assume intricate policy detail. Let's consider the idea of, say, completing a wall along the southern border. Policy-wise, it's hard to get into intricate detail about such a proposal: the whole point of calling for a border wall is that it's easy to understand. It's a WALL. You build the WALL and then people can't get through the WALL.
The intricacies we can expect might be more of a cosmetic nature. Trump explained during last week's debate that his wall would have a very "beautiful" door, for the occasional good immigrant-in-waiting. How beautiful, though? May we see the specs? What will be the precise ratio of faux black marble to faux gold trimming? Will there be many beautiful water fountains adjacent to the Great Wall of Trump? This are the only sort of intricate details that can fill up an entire policy paper about a wall, and we look forward to reading about them, scrutinizing them, and counter-papering them in full. This is serious business.