Last Thursday’s Republican debate was little more than a Fox-engineered hatchet job on Donald Trump. And it didn’t work.
What sticks out in everybody’s mind is Megyn Kelly’s feminist hectoring of Donald Trump, which made the whole thing look like a debate engineered by TMZ or Entertainment Tonight. It was tabloid journalism at its worst. It was a transparent attempt on the part of Fox not to educate voters but to drive a stake through the heart of the Trump campaign.
But according to NBC’s “scientific” post-debate poll, Trump still leads the entire GOP field by double digits. He’s at 23%, Ted Cruz has skyrocketed into second at 13%, and Ben Carson has leaped into third at 11%.
The more the low-information media, the GOP establishment, most of the GOP field (excepting Ted Cruz), and the Democrat Party tries to take him down, the stronger Trump gets. Even Bill Maher was forced to admit over the weekend that “Fox tried to put a stake in him, and I don’t think they did.”
Trump is a living example of the adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
So why does Trump continue to soar, despite the lack of rhetorical polish and the crudity of his language?
He continues to soar for the same reason Cruz is now in second place and Carson in third. The American people are hungering and thirsting for politically incorrect leaders who will speak truth to power without retreat, without surrender, and without apology.
Even though Trump uses language about women I would never use, he has resolutely refused to apologize for his language about women who have attacked him. In fact, one could argue he’s showing women the ultimate respect of treating them as full equals. You want to punch me, he says, I’m going to treat you the same way I treat the guys.
No one should consider what I’m saying as endorsement of Donald Trump. He is not a consistent conservative, he has no discernible and coherent political philosophy, he uses language about women that is inappropriate regardless of the circumstances, and by his own admission has never apologized to God for anything.
This isn’t even about Trump. It’s about the American people and what we crave. We have had it up to here with political correctness and so-called conservative leaders who fold like a cheap accordion at a Lawrence Welk concert at the first hint of criticism. We want somebody who will take his stand in the arena, alone if necessary, and go toe-to-toe with the forces trying to obliterate him.
Trump is that kind of guy, and Ted Cruz is as well. Ben Carson made his bones confronting the most powerful man in the world at the national prayer breakfast. The explanation for their rise to the top of the polls is simple: they are unafraid to speak their mind without apology to anybody and everybody and don’t care who is offended in the process.
Cruz has the added advantages, in comparison to Trump, of being a genuinely devoted follower of Christ, with a coherent biblical and constitutional political worldview, and a deft and articulate way of blunting politically correct attacks.
While I am in no way saying that Trump is a modern-day John the Baptist (the first word out of John’s mouth was “repent,” which Trump by his own admission has never done), Trump is showing the same defiance of corrupt authority that John showed. John was unafraid to be the one man in all the land standing for the truth. He had no problem being a “lone voice crying in the wilderness.” He didn’t care if he was part of the cool kids club.
And when the political leaders of his day, the scribes and the Pharisees, made a show of responding to his altar call at the Jordan River, he called them a “brood of vipers” and exposed their apparent repentance for the shallow, counterfeit, showy thing it was.
As flawed as Trump is - and his flaws are many - he is showing Republicans that the way forward is not to meekly capitulate to the fascism of political correctness but rather to take your stand, put up your dukes, and never give an inch. May his tribe increase.