Commentary Magazine


Trump’s 15 Minutes of Political Fame

If you watch left-leaning cable talk shows these days, you can detect a palpable excitement about the possible candidacy of Donald Trump. And why not? Mr. Trump leads in some early polls, he’s garnering enormous attention, and his presence on the political stage will, liberals hope, imperil the Republican Party. The left should enjoy this spectacle while it lasts, because it won’t last long. The reason is fairly simple: Trump’s record won’t withstand even minimal scrutiny. In his pre-I-might-run-for-the-GOP-nomination phase, Trump was in favor of abortion rights, massive tax increases, and a single-payer health-care system. He referred to President Bush as “evil” and thought Obama could be a “great” president. He’s advocated seizing Iraqi and Libyan oil fields. He’s a protectionist. He doesn’t appear to know how many Members of Congress there are in the House of Representatives. And of course he has shown a strange fixation with Obama’s birth certificate.

Donald Trump, in other words, is, when it comes to politics, shallow, inconsistent, egotistical, and buffoonish. By comparison he makes Ross Perot seem substantial, well-informed, and stable. Right now Trump’s support is based on a combination of name recognition, his skill at self-promotion, and his perceived tough talk. But once Republican and conservative voters begin to peek behind the curtain, this silly game will be over. Trump’s support will evaporate like the morning mist.