Donald Trump may not have a realistic shot at becoming president, but his Republican opponents could learn a thing or two from his candor and message of "nationalism … (and) the willingness to embrace Middle America," Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol said Monday on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," according to Mediaite.
Kristol said he wouldn’t be surprised if Trump won the first debate.
In the current issue of The Weekly Standard,
Kristol devotes his column to Trump’s candidacy, pointing out what "Trump understands" that perhaps the rest of the vast GOP field does not:
Trump understands that Americans aspire to greatness, he says. Trump understands that Americans like winning.
"Trump is aware the public believes international politics is more zero-sum than globalist elites like to think," said Kristol, who quotes the billionaire real estate developer who said "our enemies are getting stronger and stronger, by the way, and we as a country are getting weaker."
Trump, Kristol points out, "is pro-tough trade negotiations, he’s pro-China-bashing, and he’s pro-military."
"I will find within our military," Trump promised voters. "I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur, I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around."
Trump also understands that Obamacare "must be repealed and replaced. It’s not clear most of the rest of the field does," Kristol opines.
Trump is well aware that he’s at a "major disadvantage" having never been elected to office, so instead he puts politicians in his crosshairs, a move Kristol suggests is a savvy one.
"I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life," Trump said. "If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you. You’re certainly not very good. And that’s what we have representing us. They will never make America great again."
Trump, according to Kristol, "understands that Americans have deep doubts about the competence and probity of our political class. It’s not clear most of the rest of the field does."
Trump understands that Republican primary voters don’t want a candidate afraid to take on Obama and his bad decisions, including the swap of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been charged with desertion, for "five killer terrorists."
"We get a traitor, a no-good traitor, and they get the five people that they wanted for years, and those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us," Kristol quotes Trump.
"Trump understands that it’s OK to say something the media elite will shake their collective head at," writes Kristol. "It’s not clear most of the rest of the field does."
He recalls that in 1992, when "oddball and egomaniac" Ross Perot ran for president as an independent, his candidacy was mocked by President George H.W. Bush, something that may have cost him re-election, according to Kristol.
The outcome may have been different had Bush adopted "the attitude that there are things to be learned from smart oddballs and eccentric egomaniacs who have a feel for public opinion," he says.
Like Perot, primary voters who cast their ballots for Trump would be "up for grabs" in the general election.
"A little touch of Trump in the rhetoric, the attitude, the bearing of the other Republican candidates could go a long way toward making this election more like 1980 than 1992," Kristol writes.
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