With the potential contestants for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination still not even approaching the starting blocks, reality television star and business mogul Donald Trump has dominated the airwaves. Because of his fame and bigger-than-life personality, fanning the birther issue, and recent strong poll numbers that allow networks to justify their coverage of him, Trump has filled the vacuum that more traditional presidential aspirants have not filled yet. According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week, Trump is tied with Mike Huckabee for first place among Republicans surveyed.
There are now even conspiracy theories about The Donald. Some believe Democrats and President Obama have planted Trump to make the GOP look ridiculous to swing voters. There is a point to this. The more Trump fans the “birther” angle, the more the media is likely to ask all potential GOP presidential aspirants about it, which makes the party as a whole seem extreme to independents who will decide the general election.
Should Trump officially enter the nominating contest, though, the potential candidate who should fear a Trump candidacy the most is former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
How Trump can hurt Palin in the primary: If Palin chooses to run for President, her competitors will have the delicate task of attacking her without potentially alienating her fervent supporters or getting brushed back by them. This is where Trump comes in. With his previous donations to liberal Democrats and established brand and fame, Trump has neither been a rank and file Republican nor does he need the GOP base, which supports Palin, going forward, unlike some of the other candidates. Trump can, therefore, go after Palin in a way other potential candidates would not be able to. Trump can call her a “quitter,” mock any of her malapropisms, or even potentially throw some haymakers — such as taking off his birther hat and borrowing Andrew Sullivan’s Trig truther hat — and hope they land. Politics is becoming more like a circus, and Trump seems to relish being its P.T. Barnum, and there’s no telling what he would do or say in a primary. In fact, Trump may even relish the blowback that he would get for attacking Palin, which would figuratively be akin to smashing a beehive with a baseball bat.
How Trump can hurt Republicans in the general election:
Many think Trump does not have the money, patience, discipline, and the thick skin to run a full fledged primary campaign. That said, if Trump establishes himself as the chief-birther, he can potentially run as a third party candidate in the general election and hurt the Republican nominee by siphoning away the far right vote that would have voted Republican. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said that he may run as an Independent if he loses the GOP nomination. Perhaps aware of this, Palin, on Fox News last Saturday, said she believed Obama was born in Hawaii, but mischievously encouraged Trump to put resources into getting to the bottom of why Obama has not released the long form birth certificate, which was actually first whispered about by members of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign team. “More power to him,” Palin said. If a Tea Party candidate (in a recent Fox News poll, Palin led among Tea Partiers) or someone who can unite Republicans and Tea Partiers emerges with the nomination, such a candidate would be Obama’s greatest nightmare.
Obviously, Obama’s path to re-election would be made easier if Republicans and Tea Partiers were divided in the general election. But, in the swing states, Obama would be even more advantaged if birthers to the right of Tea Partiers were siphoned off even further. In this scenario, Trump can be the candidate who can mount a third party campaign in the general election and siphon away enough of the “birther” vote from Republicans to hand Obama a potential 2012 victory– and he can only do this if he establishes more credibility among the birther/Bircher types.
And as his recent letter to Gail Collins of the New York Times indicates, Trump is doubling down on the birther issue. Here is a relevant excerpt from Trump’s letter to The New York Times‘ Gail Collins:
There is a very large segment of our society who believe that Barack Obama, indeed, was not born in the United States. His grandmother from Kenya stated, on tape, that he was born in Kenya and she was there to watch the birth. His family in Honolulu is fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in-they just don’t know.
He has not been able to produce a “birth certificate” but merely a totally unsigned “certificate of live birth”-which is totally different and of very little significance. Unlike a birth certificate, a certificate of live birth is very easy to obtain. Equally of importance, there are no records in Hawaii that a Barack Hussein Obama was born there-no bills, no doctors names, no nurses names, no registrations, no payments, etc. As far as the two notices placed in newspapers, many things could have happened, but some feel the grandparents put an ad in order to show that he was a citizen of the U.S. with all of the benefits thereto. Everybody, after all, and especially then, wanted to be a United States citizen.
The term used by Ms. Collins-“birther”-is very derogatory and is meant in a derogatory way. Had this been George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly.
For some reason, the press protects President Obama beyond anything or anyone I have ever seen. What they don’t realize is that if he was not born in the United States, they would have uncovered the greatest “scam” in the history of our country. In other words, they would become the hottest writer since Watergate, or beyond.
Open your eyes, Gail, there’s at least a good chance that Barack Hussein Obama has made mincemeat out of our great and cherished Constitution!