Big day in the Republican presidential primary races! Will Trump pull ahead to a decisive lead today? Will the absolutely insane anti-Trump media blitz of the past few days have an impact, perhaps enough to lose him a state or two? Or will swing voters recognize it as exactly what it is: a desperate attempt to fling a truckload of shit in the hope that just a little bit of it will stick?
Perhaps the stickiest shit flung is in relation to the David Duke “endorsement.” Laughably, the whole thing turned out to be false, unless you want to really indulge in some hairsplitting: Duke himself stated clearly that he does not endorse Donald Trump, although he does plan on voting for him. That is an interesting distinction, because it’s possible the only reason Duke is making it is that he knows full well an outright endorsement would possibly damage Trump’s reputation. However, he could also be making it simply because a candidate with positions so congruent to his own as to actually merit his endorsement is not to be found in this race. That would make Trump, in his eyes, the most pragmatic choice of half a dozen less-than-adequate candidates. It is certainly not unusual for people to vote that way. Myself, for instance: I voted for Romney in 2012, but would not consider that an endorsement. I voted for him because I didn’t want Obama to win, that’s all. I did, however, gladly support Ron Paul in the 2012 primary, and I’d agree that really does constitute an endorsement. See the difference? In particular, when you compare Trump’s position on illegal immigrants to that of the other GOP candidates, do you see the difference? Which position do you think Duke agrees with?
Beyond that, though, you have the simple fact that Duke’s alleged endorsement is irrelevant anyway. I will illustrate: Let’s say some weirdo genius is able to resurrect Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Gengis Khan from the dead and they all endorse Trump, enthusiastically and unequivocally. Hitler yells, “Jawohl! Herr Trump ist der best hope for betterment of the master race and containment of das internazional Jew menace! All hail Deutschland!” Stalin proclaims Trump the exalted savior of World Communism, champion of the working class and the reincarnation of Karl Marx; and Khan insists that he and Trump could have a grand old time invading, conquering and pillaging diverse lands while relishing the lamentations of the enemy women. What the hell difference would any of this make, exactly? Would Trump’s position somehow be changed because of these endorsements? Would he be different somehow?
The answer is simply, no, Trump’s position would not change, Trump would still be Trump, and it doesn’t matter if a candidate is endorsed by an extremist whose views he doesn’t share. It is in fact irrelevant, unless you happen to be of similar mindset to a six year old: “That other kid that I hate says he likes you, so I am going to beat you up, scum!!” It’s completely ridiculous, and I say that as someone who, as a kid, was actually subjected to that type of asinine behavior (on one occasion). It is certainly unworthy of people who purport to be serious political commentators, politicians or journalists. The expectation of disavowal is clearly a shibboleth, and a lame attempt to push Trump down the slippery slope of liberal virtue signalling.
I have little doubt that typical Trump supporters understand all of this, at least at a gut level. Whether or not swing voters get it is something less certain, but we’ll see. One advantage that Trump has at this point in the race is that his primary opponents have pretty successfully managed to tar and feather themselves. Everybody knows Cruz is dishonest and Rubio is out of his depth, even their supporters (who nonetheless don’t want to admit it to themselves).
It’s going to be an interesting night.