Economist Paul Krugman is both brilliant and savvy. He’s so brilliant that he won a Nobel Prize for his work on international trade and the concentration of wealth. As a New York Times columnist, Krugman also doesn’t mince words.
On Monday, the economist was interviewed on Bloomberg News. Interviewer Joe Weisenthal asked for his take on why Donald Trump is surging ahead in the polls. Krugman didn’t hesitate with his rather amused reply:
“He’s a belligerent, loudmouth racist with not an ounce of compassion for less fortunate people. In other words: He’s exactly the kind of person the Republican base consists of and identifies with.”
He sees Trump’s wild popularity among the base as evidence that the Republican Party has lost control, at least during the primary process. The only people worried about Trump’s appeal are other Republicans — the ones who are desperately searching for a way to tap into the Latino vote, for example.
The harder other Republicans try to mask their real face, the more Trump seems to remind the voting public of the worst GOP policies of the past. While the party tries to pose as the champion of immigration reform, Trump tells cheering crowds of white people that Mexican immigrants are drug dealers, killers, and rapists.
Krugman pointed out that the same phenomenon played out in the last presidential election:
“We saw the same thing in 2012: One after another, basically ludicrous candidates, but loudmouthed, angry ludicrous candidates, shot to the top of the polls.”
That “big red face and the yelling” just make Trump dearer to the hearts of those in the GOP base. After all, they’re doing the exact same thing and there it is — onstage and on television.
But in the end, the GOP of 2012 nominated the most milquetoast white guy last time — namely, Mitt Romney — who may have shared the same views as the clowns, but was somewhat less crude about it. Krugman predicts that this time, Jeb Bush will be the milquetoast nominee.
Polling experts basically see Trump’s surge in popularity as an illusion that will evaporate in bright sunlight. Virtually everyone knows who Donald Trump is but not even a majority of Republicans are prepared to see him occupy the White House. There may be as many as 20 Republican candidates vying for the nomination. As polling expert Michael Traugott told Business Insider:
“Trump has greater name recognition than many of the others, especially the governors. But name recognition is not the same as support.”
Not that many Democrats wouldn’t love to see the rout that would follow if Trump were in a match-up with their nominee. And why shouldn’t he be? His clown face is probably truer to what the Republican party really stands for than any other candidate.