The latest brouhaha in politics concerns Donald Trump’s nasty, defensive, and sexist comment about Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly. After the Fox pundit took Trump to task for sexism, among other things, in the first Republican presidential debate, Trump implied that Kelly’s attitude must have been the result of her menstrual cycle.
Predictably, most mainstream politicians and news outlets vilified Trump for his remarks. Conservative radio host Erick Erikson even disinvited Trump from appearing on his Red State radio show. Yet the internet blew up with mysogynistic comments directed at Megyn Kelly. The obscene name-calling was frequent and extreme. It seems a large segment of the public holds similarly sexist attitudes towards women.
This may be the answer to the puzzle of why Donald Trump, a man with no political experience and questionable beliefs, has become the front runner in the Republican presidential race. He is saying out loud what many people (sadly) believe. And his success seems to have the conservative establishment running scared.
Fox News in particular has been attempting to discredit Trump and his views through their television commentaries and even through the ruthless questioning to which they subjected him during the debate. Far more than any other single candidate, Trump was subjected to a grilling on numerous matters, including the sexism alleged by Kelly and his many filings for bankruptcy over the years.
No doubt the Republican Party would like to weed out the invasive species of a Trump candidacy, and conservative pundits seem to have the unenviable task of digging in the dirt for the party. Yet Trump’s poll numbers haven’t budged since the debate, despite the fact that he has refused to apologize for his remarks about Kelly, instead insisting she owes him an apology.
I contend that Trump’s popularity rises from a large contingent of Americans who are rabidly anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and anti-politician. For these people, Trump is merely telling it like it is. It would be amusing to see conservatives stumbling over each other to distance themselves from Trump – if it weren’t so scary to contemplate a Trump presidency.
In my view, the Republican Party will rid itself of such extremists as Trump only when it makes a concerted effort to forward policies and platforms that benefit all Americans, not just rich white men. Until then, the “clown car” rides on with Trump at the wheel.