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Trump's Ascendency Sign That Republican Party Has 'Gone Off the Rails'

© REUTERS / Rick WilkingRepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters as he arrives in Laredo, Texas July 23, 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters as he arrives in Laredo, Texas July 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
Commenting on Donald Trump's skyrocketing poll numbers, unfazed by any number of loud scandals, Radio Sputnik contributor Brad Friedman suggested that Trump has 'cracked the code' on how to appeal to the base Republican voter, adding that Trump's run has effectively delegitimized the Republicans as a political party for 2016.

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The columnist began this week's commentary on the presidential race by quoting Kevin Drum, who noted in a recent article for Mother Jones that the idea that the "surging" momentum of the Trump and Sanders candidacies are "fueled by people's anger with the status quo and the desire for authenticity in political leaders" was nonsense. 

Drum wrote that "we hear this every four years," adding that "voters are always angry," and that they "always prize straight talk, and "are endlessly entranced by outsiders. And it's always [presented as] a surprising new phenomenon. Can we just stop it? This isn't new. It's an evergreen. But political reporters always believe it, and every four years at least a few of them take a tour of 'real' America and find exactly what they set out to find. People are fed up! And yet, every four years a fairly ordinary mainstream politician is eventually set to the White House anyway. Go figure."

Friedman argued that Drum's analysis was spot on, adding that it's "nonsense, especially when it comes to Donald Trump." The journalist suggested that Trump supporters "have been brainwashed, conned and duped" into supporting the likes of a Donald Trump, adding that Trump's surge in the polls is a confirmation that the Republican Party has turned into an "illegitimate" political party. 

Furthermore, the media's failure to realize this is the reason "why the corporate media was so slow in understanding that Trump is not a phenomenon. He's not just going to go away. It's not a joke. He's running, he means it, and he has tapped into the Republican id of the last thirty years. He has cracked the code on how to run as a Republican."

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Friedman noted that "real conservatives, like Bruce Bartlett, a huge supply-side economics champion, who was a domestic policy for Ronald Reagan, and a Treasury official for George H.W. Bush [are] saying the same thing. If you're not going to listen to me, listen to him." 

Last week on the Chris Hayes' All In, Bartlett, talking about Trump, said: "Oh I love Donald Trump, because he exposes everything about the Republican Party that I have frankly come to hate. It's just filled with people who are crazy, and stupid, and have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, and the candidates, no matter how intelligent they may be, just constantly have to keep pandering to this lowest common denominator in American politics, and Trump exposes that."

Bartlett also noted that "one of the things that we're seeing very clearly this time more than any other year is that the issues don't matter; policies don't matter. The only thing that matters is attitude, and Trump has exactly the right 'chip on your shoulder' attitude that many, many people find extraordinarily attractive, that is completely divorced from whatever he's saying about the issues, which is precious little."

Friedman suggested that Republican base voters "are not interested in policies." In the journalist's view, "they have no actual beliefs…They are not conservative. They are told by the Republican establishment that they are conservative, but they're not…They do not have evangelical beliefs.  If you don't believe that, look at the fact that in Iowa, which is supposed to be all about religious conservatives and evangelicals, Donald Trump is leading; he's got three wives, he's anything but a family values guy, and he's beloved in the state of Iowa as they head toward the caucuses there. They don't care about flip flops, they don't care about small government. They'll have the biggest government necessary if they believe that this is what the Republican Party wants them to believe."

Friedman noted that Trump's candidacy has helped "to point out that the Republican Party is a party without any actual governing philosophy other than 'we will do anything, we will say anything, we will disenfranchise anyone so that our team wins, period."

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The radio journalist also believes that ultimately, the Trump phenomenon is "not good for Democrats. If Democrats are listening to this and celebrating that the Republican Party is no longer a legitimate party, I don't believe that is good for your party. I think that competition is good, the competition for ideas is good. A good legitimate debate is important, but that's now become non-existent, at least between the two parties…A legitimate Republican party would be very helpful, and the corporate mainstream media recognizing that the Republican Party is no longer legitimate –that too would be useful and perhaps hasten their return to reality. But no, the mainstream media treats the Republicans as they always have –as if they have not gone off the rails, as if they are not crazy, and this allows a guy like Trump to come in and take over this party."

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