So it's come to this: Donald Trump talking about the size of his hands and other parts of his anatomy on stage at the Republican presidential debate Thursday night in Detroit.
I've watched a lot of debates with heated exchanges in my 52 years, but I never thought I would see anything like this. Immediately after this moment in American exceptionalism, I sent a text to a friend: Did that just happen?
At this point, there is nothing Trump can do or say that would cause his supporters not to vote for him. He even bragged: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters."
If the polls are correct in my home state of Mississippi, Trump is set to blow out the other three candidates in the Magnolia State's primary on Tuesday. I will be in the minority voting for Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who it appears will battle it out with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida for second place. This would follow the pattern of the vast majority of other states that have already voted.
Trump is the new Daniel Boone: "The rippin'est roarin'est fightin'est man the frontier ever knew…"
What has become clear to me is that around 40 percent of Republican voters don't really care if Trump has a recent history of supporting liberal Democrats and causes with his money and his mouth. No, they want someone to go to Washington, DC, kick some tail and raise some hell – and I understand the sentiment. I just see Cruz as a more principled man than Trump when it comes to conservative values and limited government.
I can look at Cruz's record, which has earned him a seat by himself in the Senate cafeteria. Cruz forces issues within his own party and doesn't mind going up against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even if it means standing alone. For that reason, many of his colleagues see him as a grandstander just looking to make a name for himself.
My view is this: is he right on the particular issue or not? Someone needs to have a backbone of steel when fighting back against President Obama and the secular progressive agenda. Cruz is an agitator who will not "go along to get along" – and for that reason the Republican establishment loathes him. But, hey, every movement needs someone like that who will not fall in line if they feel they are compromising their convictions.
With Trump, I can only go on what he says today because his "record" is all over the map politically. Trump brags that he is self-funded so that he is not beholden to anyone. I admire that. The problem I have with this, however, is that he also admits he's spent his life as a businessman buying off Republicans and Democrats to curry favors for his Trump Empire. Maybe I'm the only one that sees the irony in this.
The GOP establishment in our nation's capital is in a mess. In effect, they helped build the Trump Train. They told their candidates in 2012 and 2014 to go out there, use tough talk, and tell the voters they were going to stop Obama once they controlled the House and Senate. And so the voters gave them what they wanted – by wide margins.
But then those same Republican lawmakers caved again and again and again when Obama dared them to stop him. This created a "peasants with pitch forks" revolution among GOP voters, and now they see Donald Trump as their leader to take back the country.
I agree with the revolution; I just don't believe Trump is the right one to lead it. To my fellow conservatives, I would just say "buyer beware."
As Cruz said, Trump "can turn on you in a second." Trump has bad character. He doesn't seem to have a core set of beliefs that I can discern. He's a name-calling, mean-spirited, vindictive, pompous man. But I guess most voters understand that by now – but are willing to accept his boorish, often childish, behavior in exchange for a chance to reach the castle with their pitchforks.