I think that instead he is providing cover for them. They get to say some of the most insane, bigoted, and hypocritical things but with public and MSM attention focused on Trump's latest bout of racism/misogyny/general misanthropy, only the GOP base hears the dog whistles of the rest of the field.
In other words, Trump is this cycle's Shiny Object.
In a week where Trump declined to repudiate two of his followers who assaulted and urinated on a homeless Hispanic man (Trump said only that his followers were "passionate"), the other candidates said and did (there is an anti-immigrant theme here, but their hatred is of the "well-rounded" variety):
- Ted Cruz - Went after former president Jimmy Carter the day after Carter announced that he has cancer
- John Kasich - Called for the banning of teacher's lounges in schools because he thinks that all teachers do there is complain
- Bobby Jindal - Wants to prosecute the mayors of "sanctuary cities" for any crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in their cities
- Rick Santorum - Stated that Congress can override the US Constitution and end "birthright citizenship"
- Ben Carson - Wants to further militarize the US border with Mexico
- Rick Perry - Flat out lied about improvement in high school graduation rates in Texas during his tenure as governor there
- Chris Christie - Likened the furor around Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for emails sent as part of her official duties as Secretary of State to his involvement in "Bridgegate"
- Jeb Bush - Embraced the nativist wing of the national GOP by defending the use of, and using, the ethnic slur "anchor baby"
- Marco Rubio - Doubled down on his embrace of "tinkle down" economic theory while speaking in Detroit, which may be the epicenter of the economic destruction wreaked upon the middle class by previous purveyors of "tinkle down" (OK, this is, relatively speaking, the mildest insanity of the week; still, it shows that Rubio is not ready for prime time)
- Carly Fiorina - Tried to weasel her way into gaining support from the anti-vaxxer wing of the GOP by advocating making vaccines for non-communicable diseases optional. One problem: every one of the main vaccines given to children as part of going to school is for a communicable disease
- Scott Walker - Said #BlackLivesMatter doesn't matter and isn't worthy of his attention
- Rand Paul - Announced that his campaign for president is toast. Oh, it's not *officially* over, but the KY GOP declared that he can run both for the nomination for the presidency and for reelection to his seat in the Senate. Which is their (and his) way of saying that Paul has no chance of winning the presidency
- Mike Huckabee - Signaled that a potential Huckabee administration won't have need for a Secretary of State, just a Bible reader
- Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, and George Pataki? Not even GOP voters know that they are running
In most cycles, nearly every single one of the above examples would be cause for a major uproar; in the Year of Trump, they are barely a blip on the MSM's, and voters', radars.
So yes, Donald Trump is the 2016 presidential cycle's Shiny Object.
|Pic courtesy Penn State U.|