Donald Trump, you may have heard, won’t be coming to the RedState Gathering in Atlanta as originally scheduled. But he didn’t need to be here for the biggest difference between him and the rest of the GOP field to be evident:
Trump is trying to stoke the anger of voters. The other 16 candidates are trying to harness it.
Eight of the other candidates have already addressed the RedState crowd, with a ninth, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, scheduled to close the afternoon’s agenda. To a person, the eight have talked about ways to “make America great again” in ways that go beyond slapping the slogan on a ball cap. In reverse order of their appearances, a distilled message from each of them.
Jeb Bush talked about not settling for subpar economic growth, poor public education and the lingering poverty they yield.
Ted Cruz talked about overturning a Washington hierarchy that takes in Republican votes and money and turn out an unacceptable, establishment status quo.
Mike Huckabee talked about fighting for those who have been struggling economically since even before the recession.
Marco Rubio talked about ending a spiraling increase in college tuition and the subsequent decline of people’s access to the education they need to learn skills and improve their lives.
Carly Fiorina talked about taking the fight to Hillary Clinton and the left.
Bobby Jindal talked about cutting government down to size.
Rick Perry talked about taking a stand to secure peace and prosperity for future generations.
Chris Christie talked about growing our way out of our debt crisis and changing Social Security and Medicare in order to save them.
Let me tell you what Trump would have said if he hadn’t been given the boot by RedState’s Erick Erickson: How great and rich and classy he is, how stupid everyone else is.
Now, if you’re angry, that kind of devil-may-care bravado might seem like a breath of fresh air for the political world. There’s a lot that’s wrong with the political class. But Trump’s stoking public anger is actually more emblematic of what’s wrong with politics than promising as a way of fixing things.
On his campaign website you’ll find hundreds of words of Trump’s bragging — typical is this sentence: “Recent acquisitions include the iconic Doral Hotel & Country Club (800 acres) in Miami, and the historic Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. which is being developed into a world class luxury hotel.” You’ll find not a word about what, specifically, he’d do to “make America great again.” His “in the news” feed is nothing but a list of poll results and nice things people have said about him.
It is all about him. There is nothing about you, your neighbor, or anyone not named Donald Trump.
I can understand why you might be angry. I do not understand what Donald Trump’s self-aggrandizement does anything to make things better. There are plenty of Republicans and, yes, Democrats offering ways to fix the things you’re angry about. Donald Trump, who’s been a Republican and a Democrat, isn’t one of them.