But no, quite the contrary; Donald Trump's polls have soared since his mimicry of the disabled reporter and as of yesterday's CNN and Quinnipiac polls he's leading the pack of Republican presidential candidates by double digits. As of December 2 he had polled at 27% of Republican voters. Today he polls at 36%. The more hate he gives the more love he gets. Go figure.
Actually a number of experts on political phenomena have been attempting to go figure the why and wherefore of all the Trump-love kicking around out there and, according to yesterday's New York Times, here is what some of them have come up with:
1. According to Matt Motyl, a political scientist at the University of Illinois, Donald Trump "appeals to the masses and makes them feel powerful again."
2. Also according to Mr. Motyl, Trump creates a "we vs. them" dynamic, where " 'they' are evil or crazy or ignorant and 'we' need a candidate who sees the threat and can alleviate it."
3. His "statements and accusations make him seem like a guy who can and will cut through all the b.s. and do what in your heart you know is right - and necessary," said Michael Kazin, a historian at Georgetown University, who also pointed out that Donald Trump makes up false facts and figures to "erode people's trust in facts, numbers, nuance, government and the news media".
4. Jennifer Merciera, an expert in American political discourse at Texas A&M University, observed that Donald Trump's language is divisive and he paints people either as losers or winners, in which category he firmly plants himself with his "repeated references to his wealth and success and intelligence".
5. Mr. Kazin of Georgetown also noted of Donald Trump that "His relaxed, jokey tone makes (him) more persuasive." Trump has a "breezy stage presence" and is "an energetic and charismatic speaker who can be entertaining and ingratiating with his audience",
To all the theories of the experts on why Donald Trump is thriving in the polls I'd like to add a theory of my own.
I believe Donald Trump is drawing people because he gives us all permission to think the things civil society tells us it's wrong to think. He invites people to pull out and revel in the junk notions they might have hidden away in some dark basement of their hearts.
You don't like, don't trust, or don't feel comfortable around all these Muslims with their mosques and head scarves? Well, you're right to feel that way, says Donald, those people are different from us, they're dangerous, they cheered on 9/11, they could be terrorists and in fact he'll close some of those those mosques and make all Muslims register on a national list.
You have no use for that "Black Lives Matter" thing? You think maybe all the black men and boys who are at the receiving end of police violence probably have it coming? Donald agrees, as when at one of his rallies a Black Lives Matter protester was punched by several men Donald quipped, "Maybe he should have been roughed up."
You think doing an imitation of a person's physical disability is hilarious? Hey, so does Donald.
You believe a philosophy of religious tolerance, racial equality, and treating every human being as you'd like to be treated is a bunch of politically correct goofiness? You belong on Team Donald.
In God we trust, sure, but not as much as we trust those little pieces of paper on which that phrase is written. And for some people the fact that Donald Trump owns more of those pieces of paper than almost anyone else on the planet makes anything he says gospel truth. Too bad what he says legitimizes for too many people dark impulses that should never see the light of day.