Donald Trump is in the zone right now. He appeared in front of a massive “Les Deplorables” banner in Miami Friday night with “Do You Hear The People Sing?” from Les Misérables pumping and the crowd roaring its defiance at Hillary Clinton’s slander.
Trump is relaxed, he’s funny, and he’s clearly enjoying the campaign trail. In the 16 days between Donald Trump’s surprise meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City and letting Jimmy Fallon mess up his hair on The Tonight Show, Donald Trump has been on a roll. And the polls show it.
He’s watched Hillary Clinton self-destruct—calling Trump supporters “deplorables” and saying that “they’re not America,” before tarring her fellow Americans with the usual Democrat smears of “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.” And this was before she physically collapsed on the sidewalk after rushing out in the middle of the 9/11 memorial service, thus giving new urgency to claims about her failing health which, only days before, were dismissed by the lapdog press as right-wing conspiracy theories.
Of course, that’s always the way with the Clintons—their misdeeds, personal shortcomings, or even just aging and illness are always the fault of the conservative cabal. That is, until the allegations are proven true which, this being the Clintons, they usually are. Then they try and change the subject. Many of their scandals escape attention simply because there are so many of them. Even conservatives journalists who want to cover them are overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of them.
Within the past week we’ve learned that Hillary really does have health issues she’s been lying about, that she thinks Trump supporters are irredeemable bigots, that Colin Powell “would rather not vote for her” because “she has a long track record of unbridled ambition and (greed)” and that, according to Powell, husband Bill “is still d***ing bimbos.” We also learned that there are more emails evidencing the pay-to-play scheme between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department wherein foundation donors got favors from Hillary while she was Secretary of State.
And that’s just this week.
Despite it all, the Clintons adopt the posture not just of lily white innocence, but of selfless moral virtue. She is “powering through” because “that’s what women do.” But with so many decades of proven scandals, public and private, fewer and fewer people believe it. Bill’s protestation of innocence—“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”—rings a little hollow in retrospect. For two years we heard how the idea that Hillary Clinton would house sensitive national security information on her illegal private email servers was a creation of the ever-present conservative bogeyman that haunts Hillary’s dreams. But then the FBI confirmed that, in fact, Clinton was sending and receiving Top Secret emails on her personal server and that she or her staff had purchased and used software called Bleach Bits to make the tens of thousands of emails they deleted after receiving a subpoena impossible for law enforcement to retrieve.
And what about Clinton’s recurrent barking cough and reports of ill health? She only appeared at 11 public events in all of August and most of those lasted only 15 minutes. Talk about low energy. Repeatedly we were assured of her vibrant health and scolded that to even raise the question was not just foolish but sexist—until she collapsed in public and retreated from public view for three days.
Then, the very same people who had been assuring curious Americans of Hillary’s health and vitality rushed on television to say they had never seen her so tired. But it’s nothing to worry about—just pneumonia and, according to Clinton flacks, it’s the “rarest of rare” kinds of pneumonia: It’s one that appears suddenly and without warning, incapacitates its victim but it’s also not contagious in the slightest (that lucky piece of news was discovered by Clinton’s apologists just after a picture circulated on the Internet showing Clinton getting germy with a little girl) and is curable in just days. If you ever get pneumonia, this is the one to get. It’s easygoing, flexible, and ready to accommodate your schedule.
Yet while Clinton continues trying to dodge scandals and deflect health scares using tactics she and Bill dreamed up in the 1990s, Trump is relaxing on the couch with Jimmy Fallon looking confident and carefree. And today, on the heels of the Fallon interview that had his New York audience cheering, Trump did what he does best: He beat the media at their own game. In what amounts to the world’s greatest rick-roll, Trump’s communications office let the press know that he would be making remarks addressing Hillary Clinton’s accusations of birtherism.
Instead, he let them wait 30 minutes during which time a stream of military heroes gave testimonials and endorsements of Trump on a live news feed carried by every major network. At the end of it all, Trump appeared briefly and swatted aside Hillary’s accusations with a single sentence. Trolling the media has become Trump’s inside joke with the American people—a joke that the press still doesn’t get.
Trump has appeared increasingly confident in himself and his campaign and has given a series of speeches that are serious, well-conceived, well-delivered while retaining Trump’s mischievous sense of fun. In doing both he goes over the heads of the media and builds a bond directly with the American people.
Republican consultants have been trying to build a happy warrior candidate in the lab for 20 years—that was part of the justification for Marco Rubio’s campaign—but as of now it looks more and more like it’s Donald Trump. Why? Because that can’t be focus-grouped, planned, and programmed. It’s the combination of an authentic personality, temperament, life experience, and a special something—charisma?—that can’t be taught.
While the press casts Trump as all four horsemen of the apocalypse rolled into one—and with a mean streak to boot—the man that people see on the stump is self-assured, energetic, and permanently affable. The prophet of doom, it turns out, also offers a message of hope—of reckoning and rebirth.
When Trump quipped in Flint, Michigan that “It used to be, cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now, the cars are made in Mexico and you cannot drink the water in Flint” he summarized his campaign. At the behest of its leaders, the country strayed from its distinctive path and began worshipping the globalist idols it saw in European temples while on study abroad semesters and family vacations. Worshipping these false gods provoked a harsh judgment on the American people—the American family is in a sorry state, real wages have declined, the national debt is unsustainable, and our kids are taught that America is nothing but an idea and a bad idea at that—but deliverance is at hand.
Yet against his detractors, who see Caesars under every bed, Trump is appealing to Americans to save themselves—with himself as president, to be sure. But at least he recognizes that only Americans acting together can make America great again.
The only reason anyone is surprised by this is because they read about Trump rather than listening to Donald Trump. They believed the reports about the man without listening to the man himself. It should surprise no one that the billionaire real estate developer from Queens, the teetotalling bon vivant and thrice married family man—the man who embodies so many of the contradictions common to 21st century America—is also the man who sees night closing in but also that joy will come in the morning.
With less than 60 days to go until the election who would have thought that Donald Trump would have become 2016’s happy warrior? He looks like a star college athlete who has just found his footing in the pros. Trump keeps finding ways to win and is starting to make it look easy. He’s having fun out on the campaign trail, engaging the American people and looking like the leader of tomorrow while Hillary Clinton looks more and more like yesterday’s news.