A ram­bling Trump ral­lies faith­ful, but of­fers lit­tle pol­icy as he jabs his ri­vals

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MICHAEL MATHES

The ex­tra­or­di­nary DonaldTrump- for- pres­i­dent road­show ca­reened into Amer­ica’s deep South Fri­day, as the abra­sive ty­coon railed once more against the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment but of­fered lit­tle pol­icy sub­stance in a ram­bling speech at an Alabama rally.

The bil­lion­aire real es­tate mogul has snatched the lion’s share of the at­ten­tion and sup­port of vot­ers of the op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party, us­ing a com­bat­ive tone to lash out at other can­di­dates with a coarse­ness rarely seen at the top tier of Amer­i­can cam­paigns.

And he has left his ri­vals flum­moxed over how to con­tain the po­lit­i­cal brute now turn­ing the pres­i­den­tial race on its head.

With more than five months be­fore Iowa and New Hamp­shire cast the early votes in the party nom­i­nat­ing process, Trump leads his 16 Repub­li­can ri­vals in polls across the board.

He is a wildly hy­per­bolic, hugely en­ter­tain­ing non-politi­cian — and his anti-es­tab­lish­ment clar­ion call has quickly be­come the loud­est voice in U.S. pol­i­tics.

It rang out in jar­ring fash­ion at an Amer­i­can football sta­dium in Alabama, where sev­eral thou­sand fans gath­ered for Trump’s latest it­er­a­tion of a stump speech.

Pa­tri­ot­i­cally don­ning a red base­ball cap, white shirt and blue blazer, Trump lashed out at Amer­ica’s ex­ist­ing immigration sys­tem, in par­tic­u­lar its birthright cit­i­zen­ship pro­vi­sion that al­lows any­one born in the United States to be a citizen, even if their par­ents are un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

“We’re the only place, just about, that’s stupid enough to do it,” he boomed.

Trump also

let

loose on

his main fel­low Repub­li­can ri­vals Jeb Bush and Marco Ru­bio, mock­ing them for trail­ing him in a re­cent poll con­ducted in their na­tive Florida.

“We have a gover­nor, and we have a sit­ting sen­a­tor, and I’m killing them,” Trump said, to rau­cous ap­plause.

And, while short on pol­icy specifics, he in­sisted his rep­u­ta­tion as a Grade A busi­ness ti­tan will bring Asian pow­ers to their knees in trade ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“I do know what I’m do­ing, and I don’t say that in a brag­gado­cious way,” Trump said.

“The rea­son peo­ple like what I’m say­ing is be­cause I want to put that energy, what­ever the hell kind of energy it is — I don’t know if it’s screwed up, if it’s good, if it’s in­ge­nious, if it’s what — what­ever it is, I know how to do things.”

South­ern states are not used to such high-pro­file vis­its by pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates so early in the race, and while the sta­dium in mo­bile was not filled with the 35,000 to 40,000 sup­port­ers Trump had pre­dicted, it was a sea of at­ten­dees soak­ing up The Don­ald.

Ve­gas ‘schmaltz’

Trump re­it­er­ated his crit­i­cism that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has failed to lift the “spirit” of the na­tion or cre­ate suf­fi­cient jobs.

“I am go­ing to be the great­est jobs pres­i­dent that God ever cre­ated,” Trump pledged. “You are go­ing to be so proud.”

He boasted that his lead was so over­whelm­ing that he wanted to call snap elec­tions.

“Can we do that? I’d like to have the elec­tion to­mor­row. I don’t want to wait,” he said.

Trump’s ex­tra­or­di­nary early suc­cess has Repub­li­can can­di­dates, donors and party lead­ers mys­ti­fied.

Re­spected Repub­li­can strate­gist gave Trump’s per­for­mance a thumbs down, how­ever, de­scrib­ing the speech as a com­bi­na­tion of Las Ve­gas schmaltz “and your Un­cle Whitely mak­ing a drunk toast at a wed­ding.”

Per­haps rec­og­niz­ing a need to counter the Trump ma­chine, Bush has upped his rhetoric, snap­ping on Wed­nes­day that Trump had been a mem­ber of the rul­ing Demo­cratic Party “longer than be­ing a Repub­li­can.”

He also cited the mag­nate’s ear­lier sup­port for abor­tion rights, a sin­gle-payer health care sys­tem, and a mas­sive one-time tax on the wealthy, poli­cies the right-wing Repub­li­can Party does not sup­port.

The mes­sage came through in Mo­bile, as a plane flew over the sta­dium shortly be­fore Trump’s speech, pulling a ban­ner that read: “Trump 4 higher taxes. Jeb 4 prez!”

Other can­di­dates have gone af­ter Trump head on, with lit­tle to show for it.

Sen­a­tor Rand Paul be­rated him in an Aug. 6 de­bate but it did min­i­mal dam­age, and the Ken­tucky in­sur­gent has slipped in the polls.

Paul has also re­leased an ad at­tack­ing The Don­ald, but that, too, has not moved the nee­dle.

He con­tin­ues to throw el­bows even as he grows in stature, de­spite pun­dits and an­a­lysts fore­cast­ing that he would be merely a pass­ing po­lit­i­cal fad.

“It’s like a science fic­tion film, where you shoot at him and he gets big­ger,” Newt Gin­grich, the for­mer U.S. lower house speaker who ran for pres­i­dent in 2012 and, like Trump, was an early fron­trun­ner, told Fox News this week.

“You’re deal­ing with some­body who is to­tally dif­fer­ent from any­body in mod­ern pol­i­tics.”

AP

Op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump waves to the crowd dur­ing a cam­paign pep rally, in Mo­bile, Alabama, Fri­day, Aug. 21.

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