Donald Trump is running a classic presidential campaign–in a Bizarro universe. By any other standard, Trump is writing the definitive book on how to conduct the worst presidential campaign in electoral history.
Consider the news from Trumplandia the past week alone. He attacked the parents of a dead war hero, boasted that getting a Purple Heart from a supporter was “much easier” than earning it in battle, fabricated a story about seeing footage of ransom money being delivered to Iran, and asked a security advisor three times why we couldn’t use our nuclear weapons. For good measure, he even threw a crying baby out of one of his rallies.
All this on the heels of suggesting that Russia should intervene in the election by hacking Democratic emails.
Of course, the Republican party leadership is up in arms about such irresponsible behavior. Sort of. In fact, what sent the party elders over the edge was none of the above, but instead Trump’s refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain. (Trump did get around to an endorsement after letting the humiliation last for a few days.)
Faced with such outré behavior, the party began to talk openly of an intervention. And who would conduct such a critical act?
The residents of the Asylum for the Politically Insane.
The leaders in the movement to rein Trump in are a veritable who’s who of GOP nutburgers. Topping the list is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once said that Trump would need “psychiatric help” if he chose Gingrich as his running mate. Besides being the father of the current Congressional dysfunction, Gingrich is renowned for his “out of the box”–aka crazy–big ideas, which include colonizing the moon by 2020, and his obsession with dinosaurs.
Potentially joining Gingrich in this outreach are other notable dim bulbs, including:
- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who spent his time at the Republican Convention shouting at the top of his lungs in a re-enactment of the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor
- Maine Gov. Paul LePage, whom Politico has dubbed “America’s craziest governor” (a title for which there is stiff competition)
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who went from being the party’s favorite bully to Donald Trump’s butt boy, fetching the master his McDonald’s
Whether or not the intervention ever happens doesn’t really matter. The fact that the looniest members of the party are suddenly the voices of reason is what’s worrisome. Trump has moved the goal posts of political normalcy so far out of the stadium (forget about down the field) that what–or who–once looked crazy is now rational.
And that’s the most dangerous characteristic of the Trump campaign. In the end, Trump is likely to go down to defeat. But his legacy will be to have mainstreamed the lunatic fringe. We’ll be living with the fallout from that for a long time after Election Day.