Donald Trump is like a fever in the Republican body politic: a sign of sickness. A lot of Republicans are hoping and praying the fever breaks before the sickness infects the entire body.
Trump has owned about a third of the Republican vote in polls since he announced. That one-third gravitated to him when he labeled Mexican immigrants murderers and rapists. They stuck with him even – or especially – when he attacked other candidates and the GOP Washington establishment. They stick with him when he says things that aren’t true. They stick by him even more when he attacks Syrian refugees.
Democrats, Independents and some Republicans may abhor all that. But they get it. They get how Americans can be fearful and anxious. We live in fear-inducing and anxiety-provoking times. Clearly, Trump knows how to speak to that fear.
But last week he did something that truly makes you wonder what’s in the hearts of those who support him. He publicly mocked a physically disabled man. He made fun of the man’s disability. Trump twisted his arms and contorted his face in what he obviously thought was a hilarious imitation.
He looked like a middle-school bully mocking a disabled classmate.
We got a clear look at the real Donald Trump. It was ugly.
But we knew that. What we don’t know is how Trump’s one-third feel about it. And who they really are down deep.
In a few weeks, Republican voters and caucus-goers will have a chance to show us who they are. For all my differences with them, I want to believe they’re better than this.