Iowa's Republican voters yesterday washed billionaire Donald Trump's foul mouth out with a bar of soap. The schoolyard bully of presidential politics suffered a humiliating thrashing from Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and was nearly overtaken as well by third-place finisher Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
"Trump fever has broken," Fox News summarized succinctly. "Cruz out-organized him."
Listening to Trump malign and defame his opponents for sure got him the visibility he coveted, and made crowds at his rallies hoot and howl. Some rooters admitted they showed up for The Donald's entertainment value. But when it came to deciding who to put in the White House, voters indicated they prefer someone less flamboyant, volatile, and erratic.
Trump, after all, may be the most vulgar candidate ever to run for the White House. His strategy had been to make the campaign about himself and his prejudices, not about the issues. His demagogic name-calling is reminiscent of witch hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the Fifties. Deliberately outrageous to attract media, Trump, like McCarthy, got plenty of it.
But the longer the campaign wore on, and the more Trump exposed his vulgar persona, the more his opponents gained, enabling Cruz's upset win.
Trump's attack on Carly Fiorina's looks, which he later claimed he made in a "jocular" manner, put the nation on notice that we are dealing with a new species of gross politician: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" Trump demanded. Can you imagine Lincoln or Eisenhower speaking such words? Can you imagine Richard Nixon making the kind of attack on Megyn Kelly that Trump did?
What's more, Trump equated opponent neurosurgeon Ben Carson's childhood "pathological temper" to the habitual child molester who cannot overcome his mental sickness. Carson's showing was poor but at least he could appear before his supporters with his head high. The man, after all, has integrity.
As for the heavier turnout of Republican voters than Democrats, it may have been because they had a tempting target to vote against. Did the prospect of electing an unstable individual to the Oval Office frighten them? Of course, Trump lost a close one, so he's not out of the race yet. But if he did eventually become the Republican standard-bearer, Demagogue Donald is so despised by rank-and-file Democrats that they would turn out in record numbers to vote against him.
On the Democratic side, Monday night's count was a red-letter victory for Sen. Bernie Sanders(49.5), whose photo-finish behind Secy. Clinton(49.9) established his electability. With momentum in his favor, which he clearly has, Sanders could become the first progressive candidate to win the White House since FDR. #
(Sherwood Ross formerly was active in Chicago mayoral politics and worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. He currently runs a public relations firm for good causes.)
Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...