I guess if I had to find some - some - beneficial aspect to his toxic presence in this election cycle, it's that he's bringing to the fore a glaring intellectual deficiency in certain quarters of conservatism.
To reiterate some basics:
1.) Donald Trump is shallow, vulgar, narcissistic, has no set of core principles or values, and regards America as a brand in competition for market share with other brand-nations around the world.
2.) Megyn Kelly did nothing outrageous at last Thursday's debate. She probably regards some of her questions as less well-advised than others in hindsight, but, between that specific performance and what the public knows about her generally, it's obvious she's not in anybody's pocket.
3.) There is indeed a Republican establishment consisting of big donors, operatives, consultants and disgustingly squishy politicians that has foisted some horrible presidential candidates and congressional leaders on us.
4.) The Democrat party has, over the last half-century, become an enemy to the United States of America, every bit as much as al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iran or North Korea. It is in the process of ruining our nation.
So those are the foundational facts.
The last two, taken in tandem, are enough to make any conservative angry as hell. Where the deficiency to which I refer above comes in is in letting that anger cloud one's acknowledgement of the first two.
And so we get the phenomenon Charles C. W. Cooke at NRO depicts:
To converse at length with a committed Trumpite is, in consequence, akin in nature to conversing at length with a moon-landing denier: Every protestation is taken as a clear indication of complicity in the cover-up; distinctions between matters of minor and major import are disintegrated at will; run-of-the-mill inquiries are received as telltale signs of “fear” or of “hatred”; and bluster and the turning of rhetorical tables (“so who do you like: Jeb?”) substitute for patience and for forthrightness. There is a certain irony in this. By their own insistence, Trump’s devotees consider themselves to be the rebels at the gates; by their dull, unreflective, often ovine behavior, they resemble binary and nuancless drones, as might be found in a novel by Aldous Huxley or Yevgeny Zamyatin.Mockarena at Chicks on the Right also illustrates this mindset. She mentions a post at their site by Red Dawn, another one of their writers, and the vituperative and embarrassingly crude and infantile responses it engendered:
But back to the Bush post. So, Red Dawn's post made it quite clear that we've got several good candidates to choose from, that she's not a Jeb fan, and that she likes it when Trump or anyone else puts pressure on the GOP establishment. But just take a look at the sampling of comments thrown at us in response to that thread on FB:
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, y'all. We can't dare say that we agreed with ONE FREAKING STATEMENT that Jeb Bush made without people interpreting it as a full blown endorsement of him. WTF. These people are simply incapable of rational thought. They are so blindly devoted to Trump that you can't so much as compliment another candidate's statement without them throwing complete hissy fits and calling you a RINO. (Which, seriously? Is that word even still a thing? It's got about the same amount of punch as "racist" as this point.)
NONE OF US here at COTR has Jeb at the top of our list. NONE OF US. And yet, Trump-ets are losing their minds that we have the audacity to comment positively about other candidates, and they're losing their minds that we are calling out Trump for his utter inability to say anything truly meaningful about solving this country's problems. He told O'Reilly that the way he would get Mexico to build a wall was, "I'll tell them to do it and they'll do it." That is his solution. And his supporters think that's awesome. He's essentially saying he's going to "give them an offer they can't refuse" - and his followers are eating it up. Nothing like mob rule as America's new brand of leadership, apparently.
I feel like we're living in bizarro world, where people literally want to turn the White House into a Jerry Springer episode. Trump feels slighted by the debate questions, and takes to Twitter to call everyone a dummy or a clown or a slob. THIS is what people want as president?!?!? Someone who is so thin-skinned that he can't even deal with Megyn Kelly criticizing him? How the hell is he going to manage Putin? Or Iran? Or ISIS? Is he just going to engage in Twitter wars with them and call them names? Or worse, is he going to be so hot-tempered that he'll just throw nukes at everyone?
It looks to me like the only hope for cooling this fever is for Trump to finally do something so outrageous that his support collapses and the focus can return to the slate of actual conservatives (and, to be sure, squishes).
That can't happen a moment too soon.