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Has Trump Acquired Reagan's Teflon Coating?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/03/2016 Ira Kalb

If you have watched any of the Republican debates, you are likely to understand why many have called them a three-ring circus. It seems that the more outrageous Donald Trump has appeared in these debates and personal appearances the more votes he has received in the primaries. With his victories on Super Tuesday, many are panicking that he might be the Republican candidate for President. Why is this happening? Since nothing negative seems to stick to him, many are calling him the Teflon candidate. This reminds those who've noticed, including conservative, of the "Teflon President" Ronald Reagan and the "Teflon Governor" Arnold Schwarzenegger. What do these three have in common? Could it be their experience acting and communicating on TV?
Starting with his attacks on immigrants from Mexico
Even since NBC, Macy's, and a long list of other sponsors fired him in July of 2015 for his comments about immigrants from Mexico, Donald Trump has been like the Energizer Bunny. He keeps going and going. All the while, he insults opponents, brags about himself, and refuses to take the blame for doing anything wrong. To the amazement of many, he continues to lead in polls and win races. In fact, with each insult his lead seems to increase.
What's the fascination with Trump?
Taken all together, Trump is entertaining. Many can't wait to see what he will say or do next - whether they like him or not. Some like him because he is not "politically correct," but says what he thinks - even if he contradicts himself. To his supporters, that's refreshing when many of his rivals put a different "spin" on their positions every time they speak to a different audience. Thanks to the Apprentice, some believe he is a great businessman.
The other view of Trump
Others view Trump as a modern Wizard of Oz with little substance behind his self-proclaimed image as a winner. Two years ago, New York's Attorney General filed a lawsuit that accused Trump of defrauding students of Trump University - an unlicensed seminar company that does not satisfy the legal requirements of being called a university. One thing is certain. Trump has become a celebrity that likes to be in the spotlight. What is not clear is how much of Trump is real and how much is "reality show" or smoke and mirrors?
Successful businessman image
Trump has Mark Burnett to thank for his positive business image. Burnett created the Apprentice - a reality show that portrays Trump as a "great businessman." In dramatic Boardroom scenes, Trump decided which contestants to fire and which to save so they can compete to become the apprentice. Even though the show was deemed a success, reviews of Trump by contestants were not always complimentary. What's more, NBC fired Trump in July after incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants and Mexico. Ironically, when the show continues, NBC has replaced Trump with Schwarzenegger.
Not his first rodeo
The Apprentice was not Trump's first success. Born into a wealthy family, The Donald (as his first wife Ivana branded him) took over the family real estate business. He had some early development success acquiring properties at favorable rates - often using other people's money, improving them, and selling them at a profit. He successfully rode several real estate booms. However, there were busts too.
Failures paint another picture
His development activities created a mountain of debt that led to a series of business failures and bankruptcies. His marriage to his first wife collapsed because of an extramarital affair with Marla Maples, whom he later married and divorced six years later. He has since married his third wife, Melania Knauss. The suit filed by New York's Attorney General is just one in a string of lawsuits involving Mr. Trump and his companies.
Even when proof was provided to refute his allegations about President Obama's citizenship and education record, he questioned the authenticity of the evidence without even examining it. Similarly, the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of New York does nothing to help Trump's credibility. Based on the reaction of his supporters so far, none of this matters. They seem to have made their mind up, and tune out all of these negatives that would doom other political candidates.
Equal opportunity attacker
His fans seem to like the fact that he attacks people of all parties and persuasions. In addition to his requisite attacks on Democrats, the Mexican Government, and Muslims, he has attacked conservative talk show hosts, such as Megyn Kelly, Republican war hero John McCain, Republican strategist Karl Rove, the Bushes, other Republican rivals, and even the Pope. Most politicians would suffer greatly for attacking any one of these. Not Trump.
Every attack seems to just add another layer of Teflon
To the amazement of just about everyone, except those that support and vote for him, Trump is still ahead in the polls and winning elections. Will this continue up until the Republican Convention and beyond? That's anyone's guess, and those that thought he would fold long before are no longer sure. Even as his remaining rivals are ganging up on him after his Super Tuesday victories, nobody can be sure that anything will penetrate his Teflon coating. What is consistent about Trump includes his...

  • Inconsistency
  • Attacks on immigrants (even though we a country of immigrants)
  • Attacks on anyone that attacks him
  • Saying and believing that everyone loves him
  • Slogan Make America Great Again (has America lost its greatness?).
How will it turn out?
This presidential race is certainly a "head scratcher" and more interesting to watch than any political race in a long time. What happens eight months from now is anybody's guess. One thing is for sure, those that have predicted Trumps downfall over and over again are no longer counting him out after Super Tuesday.

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