Donald Trump has been able to court controversy almost daily. Photo / AP
He hogs the headlines, has satirists in stitches and the Republican
establishment tearing their hair out. Donald Trump has hijacked the race
for the White House.
Since launching his campaign on June 16,
the billionaire real estate mogul has cornered the limelight on almost
daily basis – most strikingly by attacking Mexican immigrants and former
prisoner of war Senator John McCain.
This week he called rival
Republican candidate Lindsey Graham a “total lightweight” and, in a
stunning breach of normal political etiquette, read out his personal
mobile number to the crowd.
He ridiculed former Texas governor
Rick Perry by saying his recent resort to wearing spectacles was less to
do with deteriorating eyesight and more “so people will think he is
He slammed Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, as “the
worst secretary of state in the history of our country” and said: “She’s
going to be beaten and I’m the one to beat her.”
Some Americans are amused. Others are horrified. A swathe of
ordinary voters, fed up with Washington DC, say he speaks for them and
cable television networks follow his every move.
basketball star Dennis Rodman, known for visiting North Korea and for
his flamboyant dress sense, on Friday appeared to endorse the mogul with
the blonde comb-over for the White House.
been a great friend for many years. We don’t need another politician, we
need a businessman like Mr trump! Trump 2016,” (sic) he tweeted to his
half a million followers.
And he closed yet another working week as king of the polls.
latest survey released by YouGov on Friday put Trump on 28 per cent,
streets ahead of nearest Republican rival, Wisconsin governor Scott
Walker on 13 per cent, among party voters.
Trump’s brazen remarks
and outlandish stunts leave little space for the more carefully
calibrated points made by other candidates, Republican or Democrat. It
is Trump, Trump, Trump.
“Donald Trump is sucking the oxygen out
of the room for everybody else,” Stuart Rothenberg, founder of the
Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report, told NBC News.
Thursday, CNN broadcast live his arrival – by private jet emblazoned
with his name in huge golden letters – at the Texas-Mexico border to
condemn illegal immigration and declare his love for Latinos.
By contrast, when Ohio Governor John Kasich announced his candidacy, he was almost ignored.
video produced by fellow candidate Republican Senator Rand Paul showing
him setting America’s 70,000-page tax code on fire also panned: a vain
attempt to wrest back some publicity.
Republicans, their noses out of joint, don’t know how to fend off such an unpredictable, and populist opponent.
“That’s what the serious campaigns are trying to figure out,” NBC political director Chuck Todd said.
“They are worried that the more they attack and marginalise him, the stronger he gets.”
man nicknamed “The Donald” who claims to be worth more than US$10
billion (A$13.60 billion) is self-financing his campaign and appears to
be revelling in the attention.
The most feted political satirist
in contemporary America, Jon Stewart, who next month steps down as
anchor of The Daily Show has pored over Trump night after night.
“Thank you, Donald Trump,” he said “for making my last six weeks … my best six weeks.”
Republicans already fear the tone of their debate, scheduled on August
6, to which the top 10-poll ranking candidates are invited.
political strategists may be able to sleep in peace: in the YouGov poll,
only 10 per cent of registered voters who identify as Republican
thought he would win the party’s nomination.
A whopping 36 per
cent thought that honour would go to Jeb Bush, the former governor of
Florida who is the son of one former president and the brother of