Comedians and political writers everywhere are on the verge of enjoying a great big simultaneous orgasm. D-Day -- Donald Day -- is upon us and more than any other previous election cycle, it looks like Donald Trump might actually bestow upon us the comedy gift that'll keep on giving for a way-too-brief six-to-eight months.
According to The Washington Post, Trump is "likely" to announce his entry into the campaign for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination. One of the Post's leading indicators is that Trump plans to publish a two-page financial document summarizing his $9 billion net worth immediately following his speech at Trump Tower in Manhattan (here's to hoping it's outdoors, on the roof, and really windy).
All that said, it's entirely possible this is another Trump bait-and-switch publicity stunt. You might recall how he teased a possible presidential run for the 2012 GOP nomination. At one point, Trump quizzed his contestants on Celebrity Apprentice, asking Meat Loaf if he thought Trump should run, to which Meat Loaf replied with an enthusiastic, "Absolutely!" By the way, that was a feature of the presidential election four years ago -- asking Meat Loaf for political advice -- and it's actually grown far worse in the last four years. Indeed, today, if Meat Loaf himself decided to run as a Republican, he'd probably poll better than half the field.
With Trump officially joining the race, he vindicates the increasingly obvious analysis that the Republican Party, at the presidential level at least, is little more than a shell corporation for opportunists and careerists who aren't interested in governing or even winning. The addition of Trump is the would-be final brick in the effort to turn the GOP's nominating process into a dysfunctional and menacingly ugly reality show competition in which the contestants each scramble to be the most flagrant panderer to the Tea Party base and, subsequently, augment their Q-scores within the lucrative conservative entertainment complex. That's the real prize, and Trump, above all the others, is aiming to scoop up as much of that as he can. He won't win the nomination, but that's not his goal, nor is it the goal of most of the field. The real race is for celebrity heft.
According to RealClearPolitics, Trump is polling somewhere close to the middle of the field at around 3.6 percent. The fact that he's ahead of Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks volumes about where Republican voters are right now. Specifically, they're not completely ashamed to support a billionaire doofus like Trump. But they should be. (Perhaps we should ask Meat Loaf if he's not too ashamed to support Trump.) It ought to be obvious to anyone paying attention that when Trump says he has a "secret plan" to defeat ISIS, but won't reveal it until he's president, there's clearly no plan and he's making it up. If he really had a plan, he'd at least talk about the bullet points to, at the very least, do his part to prevent another beheading. But he'll just wait until Inauguration Day, 2017, two years from now to spill the beans about his secret ISIS plan. He's quite the humanitarian.
The fact of the matter is that Trump is a circus sideshow attraction who's incongruously being regarded as a somewhat serious contender, at least according to the polls. If the first debate were to be held tomorrow, Trump would be one of the top-tier candidates invited to participate. Again, fantastic for those of us who make a living tearing down cartoon characters like Trump, but it's really bad news for American politics.
If the Republican Party truly believes that there's a serious set of crises facing America, and that they must be resolved or else, the party surely isn't telegraphing to the world that it's interested in fielding candidates who are commensurate with the seriousness of the nation's perils. Indeed, it's exactly the opposite. The more the GOP screeches about how disastrous the Obama presidency has been -- deliberately killing babies, leading from behind, destroying jobs and leading us to the brink of a socialist dystopia (no matter that none of that is true) -- then name one serious GOP candidate who can do something to ameliorate all that. It's definitely not Trump, who's nothing more than a blowhard reality show hack who lucked and scammed his way into fame and fortune.