Send in the clowns


Staff Columnist

Isn’t it bliss, don’t you approve?

One who keeps moving around,

Nine who can’t move.

Where are the clowns?  Send in the clowns.

(apologies to Stephen Sondheim)


The late comic-philosopher Will Rogers is alleged to have said “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Circus showman P.T. Barnum is credited with the statement: “there’s a sucker born every minute,” (but he claimed to his dying day that he never said it.)

Somewhere in between these famed personages is today’s Republican billionaire bête noire, Donald Trump.

The recent Republican presidential debate sponsored by the Fox News Network established front runner Trump as the main target for the nine other highest polling aspirants.  As a consequence, the performance of each of the other candidates was less a debate than an example of clown frenzy in a crowded central rink.

Back in February we penned a column entitled “They’re coming out of the woodwork,” bemoaning the rapidly increasing numbers of self-serving individuals laying claim to Mitt Romney’s discarded crown.

All were stumbling over each other with arguments as to which was a sure bet to restore democratic (with a small “d”) government to Washington in 2016, but “the Donald” was not amongst them.

He had not yet announced, and when he did announce, he was not taken seriously.

But a funny thing happened on the way to official declaration.  Polls started to take the man at his word.

Pundits of every size and stripe offered varying comments as to why the public was reacting positively to the newcomer.

They thought it might be a long festering protest over the lack of competent operational government by the politicians in Washington.  Or perhaps people simply thought a non-political businessman could do better.

What was not anticipated, however, was the repeated foot-in-mouth bluster of the Donald, together with a sky high habit of braggadocio (“I am a billionaire”) and a refusal to apologize for obvious gaffes (“Mexicans are rapists,” “women are fat and ugly.”)

Each outrageous comment was initially viewed as a backlash to the candidate’s popularity, but the man appeared to have a Teflon political skin.

It was opined that he was only saying what the average citizen was thinking; that the absence of a sense of “political correctness” meant that honesty was supplanting hypocrisy in public discourse.

Part of the candidate’s appeal evidently also stems from the American public’s affinity to favor the underdog.

Fox News three moderators almost immediately ganged up on Trump, starting with their forcing him to admit that if he were not the eventual nominee, he would not automatically endorse the GOP choice or run as an independent third party candidate.

In professional politician circles, that is an unforgivable lack of party loyalty, earning Trump the title of RINO (“Republican in Name Only.”)

Trump has since been shut out of conservative gatherings as an outsider, notwithstanding the fact that he genuinely represents a sizable segment of the Tea Party branch of the Party.

In point of fact, successful nominations are not the result of popularity contests.  No matter how well one does in the polls, actual success comes from Party caucuses and official votes at State and National conventions.

Trump is not likely to survive those procedures, but whether or not he chooses to run as an independent, the damage has already been done.

Even if he does not run and simply fades into the woodwork, a substantial portion of his supporters is likely to sit out the election in disgust and not vote at all.

Although the Democratic Party is not monolithically behind one candidate (Sanders, Biden, et al.), there is not the bitter fractiousness that is apparent in the Republican Party.

All things considered, the Trump adventure has served to seriously weaken the opposition to yet another Democratic victory.

Richard L. Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians.  He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.








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2 Responses for “Send in the clowns”

  1. Ben Stuart says:

    Trump, time and time again, has demonstrated that he can get things done. Carson and Paul, while not my presidential choices, have also contributed to society as doctors. What have all the rest of these political hacks done except receive donations and spend your tax dollars like drunken sailors?

    Both sides of the aisle, the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations have been weak on immigration, weak on trade and have caused our credit rating to be lowered for the first time ever.

    If we miss this opportunity to elect a no-nonsense capable person like Trump to “Save this Country” we may not have a country by 2020.

  2. j gallerano says:

    Pretty good analysis – obviously, you’re not a member of the press. Worth the read.

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