Donald Trump’s New Hampshire town hall Wednesday night was an hour-long pep rally of conservatives’ favorite ideas to “make America great again.”
And it worked like a charm.
While his competitors painfully craft nuanced positions to the country’s most pressing problems, Trump is a remarkable specimen in American politics. He says the first thing that comes to mind even if it might not actually happen.
“We are going to get in there, and we are going to get you really great coverage,” he said when promising to unravel Obamacare.
“I will tell you. We are going to make our military so strong and so powerful and so incredible,” he said. “Nobody is going to mess with us, folks.”
At a time of economic and international uncertainty, Trump makes the kinds of promises to voters and the press corps that more seasoned politicians are afraid to attach their names to. Wherever he goes, Trump doubles down on positions that have already been debunked. Even though a spokesman for the president of Mexico said the country would never pay for a barrier wall between their country and the United States, Trump still promotes it as fact. He consistently reminds voters, as he did Wednesday, he would defeat ISIS, but has offered little detail about how he would take down a complex insurgency in Syria and Iraq.
On his first day in office, Trump is going to deport all the immigrants who are living in the United States illegally, even though there are 11 million of them and little evidence as to where all of them are.
“We are going to get them out so fast and so quick,” Trump said Wednesday.
Trump is the perfect candidate for conservative voters who have been disappointed and disillusioned by the Republican Congress they elected in 2014 — a Congress that has been forced to reconcile policy aspirations with a Democratic president. A Pew Research poll in July found that Republicans’ support of their party had dropped 18 points in six months. Trump doesn’t have to operate in reality. He is playing on a political plane all alone.
He is the kind of candidate who will go anywhere. Instead of dodging, he hears a question, he answers it, and then he just keeps talking.
At one point during the town-hall meeting, a woman asked Trump how he could assure her that his “hubris” would not trip him up in the same way she believed President Obama’s had. Trump droned on for several minutes, promised her that he was different from the sitting president, and by the end of the question, had suggested that a wall between the United States and Mexico be named for him.
“If they call it the ‘Trump Wall,’ it has to be beautiful,” he said.
Unlike candidates who have been attacked for limiting press access, Trump faces it head on. He held an extended press conference before his town hall where he addressed everything from his family’s medical history to his defense of the term “anchor babies” to former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“He choked,” he said about the party’s 2012 Republican nominee.
While most candidates pretend—at least this early in the game—to adhere to a certain level of decorum and shy away from putting fellow candidates down, Trump knows no boundaries.
He attacked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was also hosting a town hall Wednesday night in New Hampshire, by saying most attendees had probably already fallen asleep. Bush hit Trump with his own audience in New Hampshire.
“When people look at his record, it is not a conservative record,” Bush said referring to Trump’s positions on health care, immigration, and taxes.
Not even candidates at the bottom of the GOP field are shielded from Trump’s fire.
“How do you get zero?” Trump said of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s polling numbers. “Does that mean out of thousands of people who are voting, you get none?”
In a campaign where there are four sitting senators, a handful of governors, and a myriad of policy expertise, Trump is finding his footing at a time when voters want a little reassurance delivered with gusto. Who needs details when you have promises like these from Donald Trump?
“We are going to get things done. We are going to make this country special.”