Note – Originally posted on LinkedIn, 8/10/15, but it keeps getting better. Highlighted any updates to this circus.

It was June 16th when The Hairpiece announced in his Presidential candidacy speech that “The Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.” Not surprisingly, the reaction was one of disgust, and Trump found two of his most beloved branding opportunities, The Apprentice and the Miss USA Pageant, either cancelled or boycotted. He even had El Chapo use Twitter to threaten to “make him eat his words.” You gotta be pretty offensive to have a mass murdering, drug-dealing, convict on-the-lam actually take time to address you on Social Media.

That’ll shut him up.

Except it didn’t. The Donald continues to double-down on his rhetoric about illegal immigrants, has thrown in disparaging comments about Senator John McCain, and is directly calling out President Obama as “the worst ever.” He’s like J.R. Ewing, only not as likable.

And he’s gaining momentum.

Is Trump is a legitimate contender to be the Republican nominee for President? I’m not even sure he is committed to the cause, this whole “candidacy” could be from the Trump book of marketing – but I find this situation absolutely fascinating. Trump has an audience, and they are listening. You wonder if his camp is shocked by the support, considering the P.R. disaster this man can be. So why is this happening?

  • People believe him. I don’t know anyone in my network of professional contacts who would endorse Trump…(publicly, that is.) It’s not popular to admit supporting Trump, but polls show he has captured an issue people actually care about, whether they admit it or not. So while I don’t expect to see lawn signs appearing in my neighborhood, an anonymous straw poll would probably tell a different story.
  • He’s honest(ish). When he’s talking about illegal Mexican immigrants, you get the feeling that he’s pulling no punches. He’s now (loudly) reminding everyone he opposed the Iraq War [he did] and spelling out his militaristic plan to “take their oil, take their money, shut them down.” That may make him the only political candidate in the last 20 years to tell you exactly what his beliefs are. Even if they appall you. Our “professional” politicians are so talented in spin-doctoring that it’s nice to occasionally hear someone’s real opinion. If Trump ever had the opportunity to give a State of The Union address, it would be can’t-miss TV ~ when was the last time that happened?
  • We are starved for leadership. This is reminiscent of Ross Perot’s brief foray into the Presidential race. America wants a boss. At some point, the political correctness of our elected leaders becomes intolerable. Somebody, anybody, show us a plan, give us direction, show some conviction, make a stand, and tell us how to make this country great again. Compare that to Hillary’s continued bet-hedging with her email “scandal.” She’s exemplifying what we already think about politicians – you have to think Trump would have said “yes, I did that, so what? By the way, lose 15 pounds.” Which brings us to…
  • We love hot dogs. Yep, we just don’t want to see how they’re made. Trump promises to “make America great again,” which implies two separate messages: 1) America is currently not great, and; 2) he’s got a plan to put America back on top where it belongs. It could be quite ugly, cruel, and difficult to digest if we pay too much attention to how that happens, but all’s well that ends well… pass me the damn mustard.

So why not Trump? I’m sure it terrifies Democrats (and Republicans) to think of Donald Trump as POTUS. He’s brash, arrogant, bombastic, and prone to being offensive – you know, a typical American. He outdid himself with his comments about Megyn Kelly & dared to bite the Fox hand that feeds the Republican party (even Hillary saw that one as an opportunity) – but he’s still moving ahead. His gaining popularity in the current polls promise he has caught the attention of those who may have initially dismissed him.

So, as Trump stirs the controversy cocktail early in the political race, consider for a minute the message behind the madness. Trump may very well be the candidate who sets a topic ablaze (i.e., immigration) and then steps back to watch the fire, but don’t be surprised when you see a “kinder” version of his stance from one of his counterparts in the Republican primary. Did you see Ted Cruz come out in support of  Trump? Not necessarily for “how” he said things but specifically for bring the illegal immigration topic to light. Politicians go where the votes are; if Trump continues to whip their collective butts in the debates, get your popcorn ready, ’cause the circus is coming to town.

He’s loud, rude, crude, and somewhat of a bully (ask Rosie O’Donnell); his speeches seem designed specifically to cause angst and debate. He’s now been “dis-invited” from a Conservative event in Atlanta because of his inappropriate comments about Megyn Kelly’s moderator behavior ~ you have to know that for an anti-hero like Trump, that’s the LAST thing Republican leaders should do as it only lends credence to the possibility that the established political leadership (read as “political correctness”) fears him. Fascinating stuff, really.

And it’s working.