Commentators have been having a field day with Donald Trump. He's good for at least one fresh controversy a day, along with one shocking insult per week. He's been called Archie Bunker on a bad-hair day, Lord Voldemort if he was born in Queens and Frankenstein's monster reborn.
I'm kind of feeling the last one, especially when you consider some of the words that Frankenstein author Mary Shelley put in her monster's mouth: "You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!" ("Hey Republican Party," you can almost hear The Donald saying between the lines of his improvised stump speeches, "I'm in charge now. Oh yeah, and you're welcome!")
The politics of the past half-century have, indeed, created the force of nature that is Donald Trump. Politics that reward the outrageous, the simple-minded and that always fall back on what's the most macho are perfectly manipulated by Trump's media savvy. You could also say that Roger Ailes, the visionary behind FOX News, is the Dr. Frankenstein in this scenario. He has practiced the dark science of elections since working for Nixon, mixing wedge issues and well-tested Pavlovian responses to the point where they've been implanted in the American consciousness. Ailes' animating spells seem to make Trump impervious to normal attacks. In fact, some polls show he's the front-runner to be the Republican nominee.
It will be interesting to see how FOX News treats its creation. In Shelley's novel, the monster only wants to do Dr. Frankenstein's will and is confused when his creator is horrified by what he made. Then the monster destroys everything Dr. Frankenstein holds dear. It's no bedtime story. So will Ailes and the FOX team be pleased to watch Trump roam the lands, wreaking havoc on the GOP brand? Or will they get out the pitchforks?
Republican plans for 2016 are already way off script. Too many candidates, again, are a problem. And in a time when the GOP needs to moderate to attract voters, Trump is sucking up all the oxygen with his media stunts. To get any attention at all, the rest of the Republican field may be forced to out-crazy the master. And debate season is still two weeks away.
Sure, it's unlikely that the GOP would ever nominate Donald Trump to carry its banner. But it may not matter. Trump is independently wealthy (to the tune of about $4 billion) and seemingly untroubled by sacrificing his empire. ("The Apprentice is canceled? Who cares!")
"Independent" is the key word, as Trump — in a move that could make Ross Perot look like Abraham Lincoln — may decide to launch and fund a third-party candidacy. And the monster can keep tormenting his creator. ♦