Trump's charm

Chris Matthews fixed his gaze on Donald Trump.  “Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?”

“The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment,” Donald replied.

Matthews probed, “For the woman.”

“Yeah, there has to be some form.”

“Ten cents?  Ten years?  What?”  Mathews wanted to know.

“I don’t know.  That I don’t know.  That I don’t know.”

The exchange between Trump and Matthews perfectly crystallized why The Donald is loved and loathed within the Republican Party.  In the words of one GOP insider, Trump undid thirty years of pro-life messaging.  However, Trump also managed to appear human in a way that politicians like Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz struggle to.

Listening to their exchange, it should be obvious that Donald Trump has never spent much time thinking about abortion, or meeting with consultants about how to frame the issue.  Pro-life politicians take pains to present women who have abortions as “victims of the abortion industry.”  This is smart politics, but it isn't the intuitive position to take.

Intuitively, when one creates a law, one creates a punishment.  The Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) outlawed the production, transport, and sale of intoxicating liquors, but it did not stipulate any penalties.  That wouldn't happen until Congress passed the Volstead Act.  Americans responded to this odd legal arrangement by going on a massive bender that ended once Volstead went into effect.

For decades, Republicans have walked a tightrope with abortion.  They had to reassure the pro-life movement they were serious while also not alienating women and moderate swing voters.  When it came to advocating criminal penalties for women, even the most committed members of the pro-life movement didn't want to go there.  Trump inadvertently wandered into a political minefield that the pro-life movement has tried to avoid.

Unlike many of the people who loathe him, I can appreciate his appeal.  Trump isn't honest, but he is authentic.  Unlike most candidates, Trump didn't have a slick prepared answer to Chris Matthews's question, and this is part of why people like him.  The average Trump supporter sees a little bit of himself in Trump, and Trump's gaffes serve only to humanize him.

A guy who goes to my gym has adorned his truck with a dozen or so Trump stickers.  One of the stickers says, “We've had politicians, let's try a job-creator.”  Somehow Donald Trump has convinced this man, and millions of other Americans, to invest his hopes and dreams in his candidacy.  On some level, these people feel that Trump is one of them.

Chris Matthews fixed his gaze on Donald Trump.  “Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?”

“The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment,” Donald replied.

Matthews probed, “For the woman.”

“Yeah, there has to be some form.”

“Ten cents?  Ten years?  What?”  Mathews wanted to know.

“I don’t know.  That I don’t know.  That I don’t know.”

The exchange between Trump and Matthews perfectly crystallized why The Donald is loved and loathed within the Republican Party.  In the words of one GOP insider, Trump undid thirty years of pro-life messaging.  However, Trump also managed to appear human in a way that politicians like Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz struggle to.

Listening to their exchange, it should be obvious that Donald Trump has never spent much time thinking about abortion, or meeting with consultants about how to frame the issue.  Pro-life politicians take pains to present women who have abortions as “victims of the abortion industry.”  This is smart politics, but it isn't the intuitive position to take.

Intuitively, when one creates a law, one creates a punishment.  The Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) outlawed the production, transport, and sale of intoxicating liquors, but it did not stipulate any penalties.  That wouldn't happen until Congress passed the Volstead Act.  Americans responded to this odd legal arrangement by going on a massive bender that ended once Volstead went into effect.

For decades, Republicans have walked a tightrope with abortion.  They had to reassure the pro-life movement they were serious while also not alienating women and moderate swing voters.  When it came to advocating criminal penalties for women, even the most committed members of the pro-life movement didn't want to go there.  Trump inadvertently wandered into a political minefield that the pro-life movement has tried to avoid.

Unlike many of the people who loathe him, I can appreciate his appeal.  Trump isn't honest, but he is authentic.  Unlike most candidates, Trump didn't have a slick prepared answer to Chris Matthews's question, and this is part of why people like him.  The average Trump supporter sees a little bit of himself in Trump, and Trump's gaffes serve only to humanize him.

A guy who goes to my gym has adorned his truck with a dozen or so Trump stickers.  One of the stickers says, “We've had politicians, let's try a job-creator.”  Somehow Donald Trump has convinced this man, and millions of other Americans, to invest his hopes and dreams in his candidacy.  On some level, these people feel that Trump is one of them.