When I first saw Donald Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for president, I thought I was watching a skit on “Saturday Night Live.” From his strange entrance on an escalator to the Neil Young music he played in the background, the entire thing seemed like it belonged on a spoof. Trump’s buffoonish antics have been the subject of public outrage ever since then: he’s advocated for a “Great Wall” between Mexico and America, attacked John McCain’s bravery in the Vietnam War and claimed that Megyn Kelly was unfair to him in a debate because she had “blood coming out of her wherever.”
Despite all of this, Trump is still leading the Republican primaries with 29 percent of the vote, leading the second place candidate, Ben Carson, by 14 points, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling released on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Yet many seem to be content with just making fun of Trump instead of actually taking him seriously as a candidate. In August, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Trump’s campaign “entertainment” after his comments about Kelly.
It’s this kind of dismissive attitude toward Trump that will inevitably be a problem for both Democrats and other Republicans. As much as I hate his guts, Trump needs to be recognized by the opposition as legitimate if it has any hope of winning against him. If they don’t actually address the things Trump says and does, he will go unchallenged.
It’s this lack of a real challenge to his ideas that helps propel Trump to further and further success — and with that success comes his awful policy ideas, which include sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State group and completely repealing the Affordable Care Act.
This, combined with the opposition’s dismissiveness toward Trump as a candidate, is what worries me most going into 2016.
Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing down, and ignoring it won’t help anything. While Democrats are busy laughing at him, Trump is gaining massive political support for ideas and policies that would be an unequivocal disaster for the country if they were implemented in the real world.