There’s no shortage of commentators who have referred to his campaign as a “joke,” among other things, claiming he’s long on bluster but short on details.
But as Trump’s popularity continues to grow with an American populace frustrated by national and international events — from higher health care costs, a lagging economy, or a bad nuclear bomb deal with Iran — even some of those critics are backtracking.
Investors Business Daily got an early peak at The Donald’s soon-to-be-released 14-point economic plan and they came away surprisingly impressed.
IBD says the draft copy it saw reveals a “sensible and pro-growth” policy of lower capital gains tax, elimination of the estate tax, and the allowance of tax breaks for capital expenses.
But Trump’s plan also drew criticism for its protectionist idea of placing a tariff on Chinese imports, a topic he raised again on my WJR radio show on Monday, when he said, “We try to sell product in China and they kill us (with taxes).”
“I love free trade,” said Trump, but “the bad part of free trade is we need smart people and we have some real dummies in Washington. And personally, I think our president is incompetent.”
A Steve Mitchell poll commissioned by Fox 2 and conducted the night before his sold-out speech in Birch Run this week, showed Trump as the leader among likely Michigan GOP primary voters at 20 percent support, followed by Carly Fiorina at 15 percent, with Ben Carson and Jeb Bush tied for third place at 12 percent.
As time has gone on, Trump’s message of frustration with Washington continues to touch an electorate nerve, and as we’ve watched other political stories develop — both nationally and locally — the East Coast businessman seems much less unqualified.
In Birch Run, state Democrats planned a big rally protesting his appearance but it drew barely three dozen representatives and judging by some of their comments, Trump’s popularity may be dispiriting them.
Hayley Alderman, 21, of Port Huron told The Detroit News, “I don’t think that he speaks for anyone really in this country and yet you see so many people lining up here to see him. It’s pretty disheartening.”
Consider that the Democrats’ top candidate, Hillary Clinton, is now under investigation by the FBI over her possible use of a private email server to share top secret government documents.
Consider that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hailed actress Melissa Gilbert (delightful little Laura on “The Little House on the Prairie” many years ago), a Michigan resident the past two years and now a candidate for Congress, as a “top tier candidate.”
That Gilbert faces a six-figure tax lien in California and owes the IRS over $360,000 seems lost on party leaders, who also fail to see the hypocrisy of her goal to champion the working class.
Then throw in the alternative universe in which Republican state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat are living while they stubbornly refuse to resign despite their sex scandal and his bizarre cover-up attempt.
Add it all together and you’ve got a political world that resembles a reality TV show, where a former reality TV show host like Donald Trump is coming across as the sharpest tack in the box.
Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.