Presumptive Republican nominee for the 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney, made some headlines this week for cozying up to Donald “You’re fired” Trump, or “the Donald” as some call him. Trump is perhaps the last holdout in the birther controversy. While even the most hardened anti-Obama-ites have conceded defeat on from their theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., the Donald continues to press the issue against all logic.
So why would presumptive nominee Romney cozy up to someone that many people might consider, at best, guano-level crazy, and at worst, an anti-America job-killing egomaniac?
Granted it’s quite early, but the polling numbers for Romney are clearly bothering him. Most recent is a poll showing Obama’s lead widening in Wisconsin, considered one of the key swing states in the Presidential election. The poll there, conducted by Marquette Law School, shows Obama with a 51-43 lead, and a solid majority saying they believe the country is on the right track in terms of its economic recovery. He’s hitting all the key Republican talking points, such as terrorizing the American people about how unsafe we are at any given moment. But it just doesn’t have quite the appeal that it did when candidate George W. Bush beat those same war drums.
In addition, the state-by-state electoral college numbers simply don’t look good for Romney’s prospects:
Trump offers Romney millions, yes, but Romney is at no shortage of billionaire donors who want to keep the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%. Why associate yourself with someone who can’t let go of a conspiracy theory that even hardened conspirators have moved on from?
Romney’s Etch-a-sketch, flip-flopping Presidential ambitions have him mired in a quandary. He’s not the average guy, the way President Bush was popular among the Joe-Six-Pack demographic. Ron Elving of NPR argues that Romney’s making a play for this demographic by associating himself with people the likes of Trump. Because, according to Elving,
“What Romney is looking for in Trump is something he can’t get from other billionaires: It is populist appeal. And from the Romney perspective, Donald Trump looks closer to popular appeal than Romney himself.
Look at the TV shows, the cable TV news shows, the instant attention from conservative pundits and pollsters. Trump has star power the way Sarah Palin had star power, except you won’t catch him retreating to Alaska and renouncing it.”
By befriending Trump, he’s aligning himself with an ally that’s not afraid to berate talk show hosts, who then might appear that they’re on Obama’s side if they dare oppose Trump’s lunatic rants about birther controversies and the like. And then they look elitist and left-leaning to the Joe-Six-Packs, and then they might just vote against Obama.