The lesson Chris Cillizza draws from Donald Trump’s aborted run at the presidency:
Confrontation is good. Confrontation works.
No one should look at Trump’s collapse … and surmise that Republicans should copy it. Trump didn’t succeed at all in taking the debate to Obama. His campaign was completely about Trump. His jabs at Obama were either unspecific bilge about American weakness or irrelevant (and phony) personal attacks.
I hesitate to agree with Cillizza, but it does seem to me that Trump’s sudden rise was precisely his populist urge to get in Obama’s face.
For the GOP base, that emotion matters, because they are fueled by contempt for liberal elites and see Obama as (yes, go figure) an emblem of those elites. In fact, that is really their sole coherent belief. Trump clearly will never belong in liberal elite quarters – for proof, see the recent series of mocking cartoon vignettes in the New Yorker. Hence his ability to channel the id of the relatively-poor from the pedestal of the super-rich.
This is not a defense of Trump – although I think his doggedness in getting the president to put the birth certificate behind him was, in many ways, a helpful rejoinder to the pompous MSM’s refusal to do their job. But it is an indictment of the GOP base, whose hatred of the president is, in its tenor and intensity, irrational.