“The summer before an election-year summer tends to be a political clown-time. Voters, like diners in a fancy restaurant, may entertain the idea of ordering the pigeon, but they’ll probably wind up with the chicken,” writes Bret Stephens in the WSJ.
As fringe politics on the right and the left seem to be rising in the West—Marine le Pen in France, Beppe Grillo in Italy, Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain—Mr. Trump’s political persona seems to be rising.
Frank Luntz’s testing on focus groups indicates that Donald Trump’s fans are responding “almost rapturously to his apparently magnetic persona,” with seeming little regard to the flip-flopping on his political views. As Charles C. W. Cook notes, overnight, Trump seems to have convinced conservatives to abandon their principals.
Mr. Stephen asks, what does this say about the future of the conservative arm of the Republican Party? Would America’s creed of “give me your tired and your poor” instead become America must not become “a dumping ground” to poor immigrants from South America, as though they were so much garbage? Would those who favor a “plain reading of the Constitution” forgo a plain reading of the 14th Amendment? After seven years of a cult personality in the White House, would Americans, who have a vital distaste for demagogues, really vote for a loudmouth vulgarian reality-TV star?
“When people become indifferent to the ideas of their would-be leaders, those leaders become prone to dangerous ideas. Democracies that trade policy substance for personal charisma tend not to last as democracies.” Read more from Mr. Stephens here.