Donald Trump, the billionaire Republican presidential candidate, on Saturday took his anti-illegal-immigration message to Phoenix, delivering a 70-minute speech to a packed downtown ballroom that at times seemed more about needling his White House rivals and settling scores with his critics than public policy…

About 20 minutes into Trump’s speech, a group of protesters disrupted the speech, and the ballroom immediately erupted. Trump supporters shouted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as the demonstrators were led out.

“I wonder if the Mexican government sent them over here. I think so,” Trump said to applause. “Because I’m telling you. I tell about the bad deals that this country is making. Mexico — I respect the country — they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our manufacturing, they’re taking our money, they’re taking everything, and they’re killing us at the border.”

He added: “Don’t worry, we’ll take our country back.”

“The protestors out there are saying they’re against hate,” Breitbart New’s Lee Stranahan said to Trump, “but we heard you talk about love and respect today. You didn’t talk about hate in your speech, did you?”

“No hate,” Trump replied. “No hate… There is no hate in my speech. There is love in my speech. We want to do the right thing for the country.”

“He speaks to me. He speaks to a lot of us, because he speaks the truth,” said Ulatowski, a U.S. Army veteran who made the trek Saturday to see the real estate mogul turned reality television star, and now GOP presidential hopeful, denounce illegal immigration and castigate Democrats and fellow Republicans alike.

“It’s not just about him actually standing up and fighting against illegal immigration,” said Ulatowski as he stood in 100-degree heat alongside thousands waiting to enter the sprawling downtown convention center. “He says what politicians would never say, and that’s refreshing.”…

“He calls a spade a spade and is the only one willing to say it like it is,” said Jim Wines, a registered Republican from Surprise, Ariz. “I’d vote for him to be president today.”…

“He has the momentum,” she said. “If we stay with him, the sky is the limit. We don’t need any more career politicians; we need someone who will speak bluntly — whether you like it or not.”

“He’s an egotistical guy, but I love an egotistical guy in this case,” said Ettwein, a management consultant. “He’s making the campaign fun, interesting, issue-oriented. And I think he’s speaking from his heart; he really believes this stuff.”…

“We need new, we need fresh and we need a man that’s got a backbone, and he appears to have that,” McCaslin said. “He loves the Mexican people. He doesn’t like illegals. I love that.”…

Alejandro Landeros, of Glendale, said Trump is creating an atmosphere of hatred toward Mexicans.

“I feel sad this is happening,” he said. “They think it’s OK to put us down. They judge us without knowing. We’re just coming here because we want to make a difference but we’re getting shut down.”

“This kind of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric from people who want to be commander in chief is not helpful,” [Democratic presidential candidate Jim] Webb told host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Don’t be throwing these bombs,” he added…

Webb argued on Sunday that a liberal equivalent exists in the recent push to remove all Confederate symbols from government grounds.

“We’ve seen it on the liberal side too with Southern white culture,” he said of insensitivity towards Southern culture.

You know the RINO — Republican In Name Only — but you may be less familiar with the WHINO. The WHINO is a captive of the populist Right’s master narrative, which is the tragic tale of the holy, holy base, the victory of which would be entirely assured if not for the machinations of the perfidious Establishment. Never mind the Democrats, economic realities, Putin, ISIS, the geographical facts of the U.S.-Mexico border — all would be well and all manner of things would be well if not for the behind-the-scenes plotting of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their enablers, who apparently can be bribed with small numbers of cocktail weenies. The WHINO is a Republican conspiracy theorist, in whose fervid imaginings all the players — victims, villains — are Republicans…

That this is a deeply stupid view of the world should go without saying, but if you need evidence, consider that the WHINO vote has settled for the moment upon Donald Trump, a Hillary Rodham Clinton donor who supports Canadian-style single-payer health care and amnesty for as many illegal immigrants as he imagines to exist, who has 0.00 percent chance of winning a general election and who is, as if more were needed, a ridiculous buffoon.

[T]he WHINO loves Trump not because Trump confounds the Democrats or because he constitutes a serious threat to a Democratic victory in 2016, but because he confounds the Republicans and constitutes a serious threat to a Republican victory in 2016.

There is certainly a chickens-coming-home-to-roost character to Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls over the past couple of weeks. This is a party, after all, that has spent close to the entirety of the Obama administration stoking right-wing populism, encouraging conspiracy theories about the president and his policies, and deploying wildly irresponsible rhetoric about the dire threats posed to the nation by mainstream members of the Democratic Party. Trump’s campaign, which is powered almost entirely by demagogic bluster and insults, is a kind of apotheosis of the party’s strategy these past several years

The populists are the now base of the party — its most loyal and devoted members, surpassed only by super-rich donors for influence among the party’s leading politicians and strategists. Candidates for president have no choice but to woo this base, to legitimize its obsessions and flatter its prejudices. And the underdog candidates, meanwhile, pin their entire campaigns on these voters, hoping that the flattery will pay off in a surge of support, catapulting them to prominence.

That’s how we’ve ended up with a vulgar blowhard like Donald Trump riding high (almost certainly for a brief time) in the polls. Trump’s policy positions (to the extent that he’s bothered to articulate them) place him on the far-right flank of American political culture. He delights in deploying racist innuendos. He is temperamentally and experientially unqualified to be president. He’s also a mediocre businessman who only managed to turn the tens of million of dollars he inherited from his father into a larger fortune, and avoid squandering it in reckless investments, through the generosity of the country’s corporate bankruptcy laws (of which he’s taken fulsome advantage on four separate occasions).

No one except a wingnut (or a professional manipulator of wingnuts) could possibly consider him a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office.

That’s not to say that more serious candidates like Ted Cruz or Bobby Jindal are insincere. They are reliable conservatives with strong, right-wing beliefs and positions. But they’re also elected officials: They legislate, they build coalitions, and they compromise between what they want and what is possible (though this is more true of Jindal than Cruz). They can appease the Republican base with harsh attacks on the other side, but they can’t endorse every crazy idea, lest they hurt their goals and priorities.

A political free radical, Trump doesn’t have this problem. He doesn’t have to collect endorsements, or persuade reluctant fundraisers (he’s self-financing), or build a team of party professionals. He doesn’t have to do anything other than put himself on a debate stage and get publicity. And so, he says what he thinks

Trump doesn’t just represent the Republican base on immigration. He is the Republican base on immigration. His anxieties are their anxieties. And his rhetoric—a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry—reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the Republican electorate.

The good news is that this meaningful part is still a small minority of the Republican Party. The right-wing of American populism might be ugly and angry, but it’s not powerful. The bad news, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to be a majority to be influential. You just have to grab the right influence at the right time. Trump is a distraction, but don’t be surprised if a more credible candidate—like Walker, who can cloak his hard-right politics in suburban blandness—tries to bring Trump’s voters to his side.

For many Americans, the fate of America’s cultural identity is not a matter of mere frivolous concern, as many liberals argue. It is fundamental, which is why it unleashes strong emotions in many part of the country. And these emotions are heightened by the phenomenon of more recent immigrants being increasingly reluctant to shed their own distinctive elements of heritage and increasingly inclined to shun the concept of assimilation.

What we see here is a huge gap in the sensibilities of large numbers of voters and the sensibilities of the elites charged with setting the direction of the country. When the people no longer trust their elites, you can bet that serious political and societal disruption is on the horizon. In a democratic system such as ours, that will translate into rebel candidates connecting with populist voters…

The slow-growth economy, the burgeoning inequality crisis, the growing global threat of Islamist extremism, America’s declining position in the world, expanding public debt, the looming threat of governmental unfunded liabilities—all these are products of the country’s current elites on Wall Street, in Washington, in public employee unions, in the mainstream media. They arose on the watch of the country’s post-Cold War politicians, most notably Hillary Clinton’s husband and Jeb Bush’s brother. Are these the people, many Americans are asking, to lead us out of the current political morass?

Trump says no. He says no with his usual crude rhetoric and with copious uses of words such as “stupid” and “stupidity” to bring home his point. But he’s getting his point across nonetheless because of the perceived failures of the nation’s elites.

Trump is surging for the same reason that Newt Gingrich enjoyed a brief bubble in the 2012 primary: he is taking on the media. Or, more accurately, he is being victimized by it…

It may all flame out eventually–either because of Trump’s own antics, or because of the many contradictions in his record. What is odd is that his competitors are not exploiting that record. Instead, they are telling him to shut up and go away.

The innumerable pundits who bash Trump–some of whom he has bashed in return, sometimes unfairly–seem to share the fanciful idea that the GOP primary was all set to be a genteel affair until Trump crashed the party. It is a naïve idea at best–especially when Democrats never, ever play by the same rules…

The conservative “base” is many things, but mostly it is tired of being told it doesn’t care. It cares most of all.

In daring to speak his mind — in fact, to speak what is on a lot of minds that don’t have access to a presidential-style platform — the New Totalitarians have zeroed in on Trump. The objective? Not to discuss. Not to disagree. No, the objective is destroy him. Wreck his business. Smear his reputation. To make certain that not only will he never again have any effective platform in business or the media, but that in destroying Trump anyone else of a similar mindset will be intimidated into silence.

This is no longer about Donald Trump. What we have here is a collective effort by the Ruling Class — the New Totalitarians — to shut down the grass roots base of the GOP over illegal immigration. The immediate goal: wreck Donald Trump’s business and remove him from the GOP presidential debates. All because Trump has had the temerity to raise the issue of illegal immigration — and is surging in polls. As if the Sanctuary City murder of Kathryn Steinle by an illegal immigrant who was a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deportee weren’t bad enough…

What is disturbing here is the realization that simply discussing the issue of illegal immigration results in the savaging of a man’s hard-earned business success. This is precisely what is happening in Oregon, where the owners of a small bakery have not only been fined $135,000 for exercising their religious liberty rights not to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding but silenced with a gag order as well, thus losing their right to free speech. It is the same thing that happened with the pizza shop in Indiana that the left tried to shut down for saying they, too, would not cater a gay wedding by reason of religious liberty.

This is exactly the “New Totalitarians” in action. You will agree with them — or else. The “or else” in this case means Trump must be punished by losing his businesses and being kept off the debate stage.

Trump is an anti-globalist conservative, a nationalist who seeks to put America first. This is why our media elites despise him. He does not care for the New World Order based on free trade, open borders and globalization. Instead, he champions patriotism and populism — the very things our transnational ruling class fears…

In other words, our elites are effectively embracing treason. They are siding with law-breaking foreigners and the government of Mexico over Americans.

The government-media-industrial complex has shown—beyond a shadow of a doubt—they no longer hold any allegiance to America or its citizens. Transnational progressives are determined to destroy our sovereignty, borders and culture.

Trump frightens them because he poses a direct threat to their power and influence. He is a Teddy Roosevelt-style nationalist, who seeks to break the stranglehold of Big Business, Big Media and Big Government. Moreover, his vast wealth means that he cannot be bought and paid for. Unlike Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, Trump is not in the pocket of special interests and foreign governments. He is genuinely independent. Ironically, the more he is vilified, the more his popularity surges. Middle America is with him. He is the anti-politician in an age when politicians are rightly despised.