As I interact with more and more voters, whether here in the People's Republic of New York City, on the road in Washington D.C. or Cleveland, OH, or the more than TWENTY ONE THOUSAND that viewed the meme you see above online via BEL's social media, voters are dividing into two camps: those that love NY billionaire / mogul Donald Trump, and those who do not.
I have taken to calling the former "Trumpservatives," and the fact of the matter is that there is much to celebrate - and loathe - about their rise to the forefront of Election 2016.
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROS & CONS
|Courtesy - The Daily Beast (Brooklyn in the House!)|
First, the positives of what "Trumpservatism" has brought to Election 2016. There is an electricity in the air because of Donald Trump's presence. The fame and notoriety that Trump brings means more eyeballs are fixed on this election. That means that every candidate on the Republican side is getting more eyes on them, too. And the numbers bear it out: this past week's debate in Cleveland was the highest rated primary debate in history.
Also, Donald Trump's controversial remarks on the Mexican border and illegal immigration have put the issue front and center - at a time where violence in sanctuary cities has also been in the news.
Trump has also tapped into the over-bubbling frustration of grassroots Republicans and Tea Party conservatives with the status quo of "the establishment" in Washington. Trump, as he likes to point out a lot, is rich. Being rich, Trump is not beholden to a special interest. By tapping that frustration, Trump has ridden a wave of populist support that has made him virtually impervious to scandal or controversy that would scuttle the average candidate's campaign hopes.
But, there are plenty of negatives that "Trumpservatives" have introduced to this election cycle. For instance, it's gotten nasty early. I mean, really nasty. This is in part due to Trump's "persecution" complex - his them vs. me attitude that he has taken on. The media. The establishment. Hillary. The Democrats. They're all against him. But, Trump has chosen to get into the mud, hurling insults all along the ways whenever he feels slighted. Not exactly the enlightened debate some of us had hoped for.
Not to mention the fact that Trump 2015 is feeling a lot like Obama circa 2007 - the development of a cult of personality surrounding a candidate that provides more sizzle than substance. The transition from "conservative" to "Trumpservative" occurs when Trump supporters can look past Trump's Democratic roots, look past him donating to Democrats, including the aforementioned Hillary Clinton, for many years, or to look past Trump's support of a single-payer healthcare system that is anathema to most conservatives. "Trumpservatives" buy into the new-found rhetoric that Trump is talking, choosing to believe that Trump - for once in his public life - is not putting his own interests first. That he is not playing to the crowd, as he has in selling you on the Trump brand, whether it be the latest addition of The Apprentice, his newest land acquisition, or his casinos.
The CEO of the "Trumpservative" movement is so used to "serving Trump" that many conservatives are left to wonder if The Donald is building a brand, or building a movement. The answers are sure to come with time. But until then, a mixed bag of goodies awaits Republicans and conservatives on the road to 2016.