We all owe Donald Trump a debt of gratitude. Just think: if Trump had remained on the sidelines we would have never have seen our politics descend to the sublime level of a Don Rickles stand-up routine.
Other candidates tried their best to criticize Trump and their primary opponents without resorting to the kind of personal insults that Donald Trump uses. But they didn’t get anywhere.
In today’s Republican Party, you have to out-Trump Trump to get ahead. And that includes hurling bathroom insults, ridiculing a rival’s appearance, and spewing sewage about your opponent’s lifestyle where the truth is optional.
Both Trump and Rubio have taken to flinging insults like monkeys fling feces at the zoo. And the crowds eat it up. “Well, at least Trump/Rubio are fighting—not like those spineless RINOs who cowered in the corner and refused to call the Democrats names.” I guess Trump is showing them, huh?
Such uplifting rhetoric! If we didn’t know any better, you’d think the candidates were running for frat house president and not president of the United States.
Rubio mocked Trump’s misspelled tweets. He jabbed at Trump’s age. And he portrayed Trump as a scared and phony politician.
On social media, Trump launched his own offensive, labeling Rubio “Mr. Meltdown” and pointing to his spotty Senate attendance record. Trump also picked up his first endorsement from a prominent establishment Republican — former rival Chris Christie, who quickly went on the attack against Rubio, too.
The dramatic escalation in hostility between Trump and Rubio sets the stage for a brutal 2 1/2-week stretch that may determine whether Trump effectively clinches the Republican nomination by mid-March or whether the race will drag on, possibly all the way to the GOP convention in July.
A third candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas, who won the Iowa GOP caucuses, embarked on an ambitious campaign schedule as he battled with Rubio to be seen as the chief alternative to Trump.
In essence, Rubio is trying to beat Trump at his own game, lobbing memorable one-liners designed to attract widespread attention. He is also going after Trump’s business background, a cornerstone of his pitch.
In Dallas, Rubio gleefully pulled out his smartphone and read aloud some of Trump’s misspelled attack tweets. He said he could draw only two conclusions.
“Number one: That’s how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business, where he went. Or number two, just like Trump Tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets,” quipped Rubio.
Rubio, 44, also highlighted the age gap between him and Trump, 69. “He would be the oldest president ever elected. And it’s like an eight-year term, so you start to worry,” Rubio said.
The Florida senator said Trump requested a full-length mirror during a break in the debate, “maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet.” And he questioned Trump’s toughness by charging that he was “the first guy that begged for Secret Service protection.”
Choosing a president should be a serious business, not a late night comedy show. But that’s what our politics are devolving into. Have we fallen so far that we demand entertainment from our leaders even on matters of life and death?
We have our faces glued to our smart phones and other devices, barely looking up to acknowledge the real world. Why shouldn’t we see politics as a variation of a viral YouTube video?
Generally speaking, we’re too ignorant to be scared of that prospect and too scared to try and change it.