Donald Trump, Postmodern Nihilist

Columnists assured us that Donald Trump’s campaign would implode after he cheaply besmirched war hero John McCain. They assured us again after he crudely dismissed Fox News’s star anchor and heartthrob, Megyn Kelly. And again after his schoolboy rumor-mongering about Senator Ted Cruz’s wife. And on and on.

Yet such nonstop insults and gaffes have had little effect on the Trump candidacy. Actually, they have had no effect at all. Zero. Zilch.

Political operatives insisted that Trump would fade, given that he had no real organization on the ground. My God, they said, he has no handlers, and not a position paper in sight. Where is his internal polling? Where are the senior Wise Men to advise him on the demographics of state primaries? Yet Trump garnered more free publicity, interviews, and attention from the liberal media than did any well-handled candidate, Democrat or Republican.

The commentators on the weekend talk shows employed adverbs like “finally” and “at last” to characterize each of the latest outrages likely to end Trump’s campaign. Trump broke his promise about releasing his income-tax returns (was he hiding a whittled-down 13 percent tax rate in Bernie Sanders fashion?). He fibs nonstop about opposing the Iraq war from the beginning. And he continuously exaggerates his net worth, as if the public were a lender that he was conning.

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