Style: Vintage Trump: brash, confident, aggressive, rancorous, gleeful. The setting in the glittering lobby of the Trump Tower skyscraper that holds his office and his home, surrounded by adoring fans, security guards, and a throng of reporters, was not something the Founders ever envisioned, but perfectly reflected Trump’s life and lifestyle. From the kitschy pre-show Cats serenade, to the endless escalator entrance, to the rambling, conversational, near-stream-of-consciousness speech, the event captured the quirks, drama, and appeal of The Donald in all his flash and glory

Substance: Made a concerted and admirable effort to laundry-list his presidential plans before the speech was finished, calling for the replacement of Obamacare, cautioning foreign adversaries about messing with the U.S., expressing opposition to the current trade bill, promising to build a southern border wall and sticking Mexico with the bill, terminating Obama’s executive order on immigration, supporting the Second Amendment, ending Common Core, rebuilding infrastructure, resisting cuts in entitlement programs. Still, left open too many questions about the hows and wherefores, given that he has never run for nor held office…

Overall: A madcap production–garrulous, grandiose, and intense—that displayed his abundant strengths and acute weaknesses. For the first time in decades, Trump is a true underdog, but his ability to shape the contours of the nomination fight should not be ignored. On the debate stage, through TV advertising (positive and negative), in earned media, and by drawing crowds, Trump has the potential to be a big 2016 player. He staged an announcement event like no other, and now he will deliver a candidacy the likes of which the country has never seen.

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He’s a nuisance, a hothead, totally unqualified, a spoiler. But enough about Pat Buchanan, whose surprisingly strong, populist, “mad as hell” primary campaign against George H. W. Bush in 1992 left the Bush faction reeling all the way to their defeat in the general election. That nobody thinks Donald Trump has any hope of winning a primary, much less a single debate, makes it all the easier for him to surprise reporters simply by doing better than expected. If Donald Trump can manage a clever quip or two in the first debate, poke fun at himself, and not set his lectern, or the moderator daring to question him, on fire, he’ll impress the hell out of nearly everyone…

A wacky billionaire with a hair-trigger temper and penchant for bizarre digressions decides to run for president. Where have we heard that one before? Oh, yes, when the allegedly nutty Ross Perot grabbed the highest number of votes of any third-party candidate in history, depriving Republican George H.W. Bush any chance of holding onto the White House against a candidate named Clinton…

As James Baldwin once put it, “the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” Donald Trump doesn’t need the presidency. He doesn’t need to win anyone’s favor.  He can just let his what is euphemistically called “hair” down and let it fly. And because the press will love to cover him, he will have the other GOP candidates following one rabbit hole after another, depending on whatever Trump feels like talking about that day – trade with China, Obama’s place of birth, life on other planets, or the plotline of “Mr. Belvedere.” Candidates, brace yourselves. You are about to go on one wild, crazy ride.

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The fact is: We are all Trumps now. Our entire culture is organized around the principle of one’s personal brand being more important than any other concern. (One would almost call it “Trumping.”) “No publicity is bad publicity,” the idea that if they’re talking about you, you’re doing something right—that has been the driving force behind Trump for three decades. And now it’s the driving force behind everything: We’ve all finally caught up to him. There’s a book full of selfies from a woman who has never had a job in her life…and not only is it a best seller, art critics love it! The entire structure of the business Internet—and the message behind every single airport capitalist manifesto—is about building The Brand Called You; social media allows us to quantify how many people are listening to us at any given second, and we have used this quantification to keep score. Regardless of your profession—real estate magnate, actor, journalist, politician, janitor—your ability to shamelessly self-promote is baked into the job description. Whatever you’re good at, that’s not enough: You need to make people look at you…

The fact is: You can make a strong argument that Trump is better at the one thing he wants to do—generate publicity for himself—than anyone running for president is at anything else. And he’s certainly more in touch with that electorate, the selfie-stick-ing, Snapchatting, Brand Called Me electorate that America has become, than anybody else that’ll take that stage. Trump is not a serious person, and he never has been. But we’re a lot more like Trump than we want to admit—and a presidential campaign is only intermittently a serious process. This a week, a passel of candidates will make some sort of policy speech about one issue or another, and if we notice at all, we will shrug and move along with our day. But after Trump’s press conference Tuesday, all we’ll do is talk about Trump. You can think the guy is a buffoon. But you can’t ignore him. He’ll make certain of that. He always has.

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He is unlikely to win a single primary. And Trump, unlike other long-shots like surgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina, is likely to use his candidacy to take personal potshots at the other candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, instead of discussing policy.

Trump’s interest in politics seems aimed at gaining attention, not addressing serious issues. He is perhaps the most prominent Republican to suggest continually that President Obama was not born in the United States. After the president publicly released his birth certificate in 2011, Trump remained unconvinced. He said he would give $5 million to a charity on the president’s behalf if Obama released his college transcript and passport records, which Trump suggested would show Obama is not an American citizen…

Currently, Trump is ahead Ohio Gov. John Kasich, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and ex-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in many surveys…

A debate process that includes Trump but excludes that trio seems flawed. It would seem to reward questioning the president’s birthplace over working in challenging government posts.

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Whether Trump is worth the $8.7 billion he claims — and most estimates are far lower — hardly matters. He has enough money to self-finance his campaign, enough to stay in the race for as long as he wants. That could prove to be a nightmare scenario for the Republican Party, not only because of Trump’s eagerness to attack his fellow party members, but also because of his penchant for appealing to the party’s basest instincts.

His announcement speech was heavy on saber-rattling toward China and Mexico. In Trump’s view, the two countries are destroying the American economy because U.S. leaders are terrible negotiators. Luckily, Trump knows “the smartest negotiators in the world” — he may even be one of them himself — who would do things like threaten auto manufacturers with massive tariffs if they move jobs overseas. This, despite pronouncing himself a supporter of free trade.

Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants (“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”) stood in sharp contrast to the inclusive tone that Jeb Bush set in his announcement speech on Monday. If the Republican candidate with the biggest megaphone is also the most hostile to Mexico, it will be difficult for the party to win over Hispanic voters. With any luck, his Republican rivals will realize they cannot trump Trump’s jingoism and feel compelled to refute it.

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Voters enjoy candidates full of outrage and without ties to the byzantine, polarized, money-saturated ways of the nation’s capital. Audiences flock to hear and cheer them in New Hampshire, Iowa and elsewhere. And then they usually vote for a more statesmanlike, experienced choice…

“The presidency is a special office, and everybody knows the president has his finger on the nuclear button. You don’t take a chance with that,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics…

Trump’s ego-driven image has cost him. He’s the least likable of all the current and potential prominent presidential candidates this year. His net favorability, or those who see him favorably minus those who view him unfavorably, was minus 55 in last month’s Washington Post/ABC poll. No one else came close. Even among Republicans he scored a minus 42.

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Imagine the strides Trump will make in American foreign policy. He’s crazier than all the other candidates put together. He’s under the illusion that he’s 20 times richer than he is. He thinks childhood vaccination caused the movie Rain Man. He believes Obama was born to the Queen of Sheba in an H. Rider Haggard novel. Putin, Xi Jinping, Ayatollah Khamenei, ISIS, the Taliban, and Hamas will be paralyzed with fear. Who knows what this lunatic will do?…

Trump’s chief domestic policy will be to be on TV. That’s one more reason he’ll get elected. We can relate to Trump. The first and foremost goal of all Americans is to be on TV…

And Trump understands the economy. He’ll push America’s economic growth forward the same way he pushed his own—with debt and more debt. Average American household debt is more than $225,000. The average American family’s credit card debt is almost $16,000. Trump restructured $3.5 billion in business debt and $900 million in personal debt between 1991 and 1994. We Americans know a leader when we see one. And we love debt. Otherwise America’s national debt wouldn’t have gone from $15 billion in 1930 to $18 trillion today. Tomorrow, with Trump in the Oval Office, the sky’s the limit.

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Donald Trump, being Donald Trump, announced his candidacy at Trump Plaza, making a weird grand entrance via escalator — going down, of course, the symbolism of which is lost on that witless ape. But who could witness that scene — the self-made man who started with nothing but a modest portfolio of 27,000 New York City properties acquired by his millionaire slumlord father, barely out of his latest bankruptcy and possibly headed for another one as the casino/jiggle-joint bearing his name sinks into the filthy mire of the one U.S. city that makes Las Vegas look respectable, a reality-television grotesque with his plastic-surgery-disaster wife, grunting like a baboon about our country’s “brand” and his own vast wealth — and not see the peerless sign of our times?…

Trump’s is a fill-in-the-blanks agenda: He claims to have a plan for defeating ISIS, but he cannot say what it is for reasons of operational security for the mission that exists only in his mind. He assures us the plan is “foolproof,” but whoever coined that word had never met a fool like Donald Trump. Immigration? Build a wall and force the Mexicans to pay for it…

The one thing worse than Trump’s vague horsepucky is his specific horsepucky, i.e., his 1999 plan to impose a one-time tax — everybody knows how good Washington is about “one time” uses of power — on the wealth of all high-net-worth individuals and institutions. A 14.25 percent tax, he calculated, would retire the national debt. And what about institutions that don’t have 14.25 percent of their net worth in ready cash — to take a totally random example, let’s say a poorly run real-estate concern with a lot of illiquid assets and unmanageable debt payments eating up all its ready cash?

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If Donald Trump has one defining characteristic, it’s that he may be the only man alive capable of making Hillary Clinton look like a pauper who really understands the plight of the American middle class. And this is a woman who collects under-the-table cash from shady Middle Eastern oligarchs…

A man who’s serious about running a legitimate presidential campaign does not unironically say things like “When did we beat Japan at anything?” weeks before the 70th anniversary of America’s defeat of Japan in World War II. He then claimed that you can’t find a Chevy in Tokyo (you can) and that Mexico is “beating us economically…killing us economically” (it’s not; in fact, California, Texas, and New York by themselves have a larger economy than that of Mexico).

A man who’s serious about a presidential race does not refer to the medieval religious death cult known as ISIS as his primary competition for real estate in the Middle East…

This man doesn’t need a presidential campaign; he needs a hug.

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If Clinton is going to win, one of the ways that she’ll do so is to convey the image that she has more stature and gravitas than any of the Republicans.

As it is, with 15 expected candidates (not including Trump), the Republican field has already taken on the image of being a bit of a circus. Trump now adds to that perception, and because he has the highest name recognition of any Republican candidate, he’ll help define field for lower-information voters.

Next to Clinton, who is running without real competition, Republican candidates will look small fighting it out with a clown, who is likely to meet the polling threshold to participate in the debates. To Americans who consume mainly celebrity news, they may not know much about the Republican field beyond the fact that Trump is running.

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Via the Daily Caller.