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Despite ‘crazy’ campaign rhetoric, Trump maintains lead in GOP voter polls

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In Iowa’s Corn Belt, across Recent Hampshire villages, and at a West Palm Beach convention center, former President Donald Trump has ratcheted up the tenor and tone of his campaign rhetoric. His rapid-fire social media salvos and nearly two-hour stump speeches are a smorgasbord of reflections, dystopian predictions, boasts, pointed “routines” told with the veneer of comedy, and the quintessential dosages of grievance.

Blunt talk is precisely what the Make America Great Again diehards gather to listen to. Before Trump spoke on the Palm Beach County Convention Center to the fan group Club 47 USA, one attendee said he expected to listen to no-holds-barred talk from the previous president, especially on immigration and border security.

“He’s an eagle,” said Michael Baust, an architectural designer from Boynton Beach. “He’s a troublesome guy and never a part of the swamp.”

What’s lauded as ‘tough’ by Trump fans is derided as ‘crazy’ by critics—as he leads GOP polls by wide margins. Tough, sure, but others say an excessive amount of of what is claimed by the previous president sounds unhinged. Working example, they are saying was a Trump social media post suggesting retired Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley is guilty of treason and ought to be put to death. Then there are his assertions that electric-generating windmills are resulting in “lots of” of whale deaths, a claim debunked by federal marine regulators. And his invoking Nazi phrasing in stating that immigrants entering america are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

“The crazy is coming in fast and hot here,” said Rick Wilson, a founding father of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project. “His supporters adore it, however it’s given the remainder of America a extremely good picture of somebody who’s mentally pretty unstable.”

Nonetheless, nearly every poll of Republican voters conducted because the start of 2023 shows Trump holding double-digit leads over his primary rivals, and plenty of have him either tied or topping President Joe Biden. Call it what you’ll, said Tim Malloy, a pollster with Quinnipiac University, but the previous president is atop the GOP polls.

“Nothing that he has said or has been saying, no indictments, not one of the furor around Donald Trump has hurt him within the polls,” Malloy said. “I never use the word bullet-proof and I never use the word Teflon, but in the mean time he’s untouched by anything he has been saying or the massive legal problems he has. In the meanwhile.”

Polarizing, perhaps, and sprinkled with profanities, yes, but Trump’s rallies are a show for the MAGA faithful. The polarizing talk aside, today’s Trump rallies are again proving an entertaining lure for his base—near 4,000 filled the convention center for his West Palm Beach speech and so they stood, cheered, and chanted throughout. He’s more likely to draw much more at a Hialeah rally he has scheduled to compete against the GOP debate in Miami on Nov. 8.

Trump’s performances are a cross between Wrestlemania and the political Rocky Horror Picture Show, stuffed with bravado, punctuated with R-rated language, highlighted with reflexive audience participation, and interspersed with what he acknowledges are “routines.” The list of hits with the MAGA crowd features a soliloquy by which the Biden administration begs for help from Iran—”Please, please Mr. Ayatollah, sir” Trump says—and a “way, no way, way, no way” back-and-forth discussion he says took place with Russian leader Vladimir Putin after Trump asserts he warned Moscow to not take motion against Ukraine. Trump even admits that former First Lady Melania Trump has asked him to not do a particular “routine”—coping with transgender athletes—because, he says she told him, it isn’t presidential.

“I actually have an issue. I actually have a wife who hates this routine,” Trump said as people yell “Do it!” from the gang. “I say, ‘Darling, you are a terrific first lady, but people love this routine.'”

Rally coverage

Trump claims Netanyahu, Israelis backed out of 2020 attack on Iranian general. He vents over the 4 sets of criminal charges, saying Al Capone was only indicted once. He calls the cases filed against him this 12 months and scheduled for trial in 2024, “bulls—,” prompting the gang to chant the vulgar word.

When he delves into policy, his proposals are likely to be generalized and vague. In education reforms, he has called for the “direct election of principals by parents” and cutting all funding for schools with mask and vaccine mandates but doesn’t specify whether only on COVID or also inoculation for smallpox, measles, and polio.

Derision of Biden is woven throughout the speeches. In a single skit ridiculing the octogenarian president three years older than he’s, Trump walks away from the microphone and stands facing a curtain along with his back to a guffawing crowd. Claiming the president is disoriented and wishes medications, he muses White House aides are frantically saying: “Get him off the stage. That sh– is wearing off, man.”

The bitter mocking overlooks that Trump, at 77, has also uttered his own gaffes and memory lapses. He has confused the country far-right leader Viktor Orban governs—it’s Hungary and never Turkey as he said earlier this week. On Sunday, he reportedly confused the Iowa site of his speech, Sioux City, with South Dakota’s Sioux Falls. He says the U.S. Capitol “looks like sh–” and is in need of “polishing” and latest limestone, awkwardly omitting the violent vandalism and ransacking of the constructing by his own followers on Jan. 6, 2021.

He further relates how america didn’t suffer a terrorist attack during his administration without acknowledging domestic terror incidents comparable to the El Paso mass shooting by a white nationalist and an antisemitic assault against a Pittsburgh synagogue. Trump doesn’t mention those.

“We did not have an attack for 4 years,” Trump said of his time within the White House. “About two days after I left, I said, ‘How good did we do?’ We did great.”

Trump’s rhetoric gets pushback and fact-checked. But does the GOP base care?

While his far-right views are wildly popular with the now-dubbed MAGA electorate, it’s unclear how much they’re embraced by most people. The FiveThirtyEight survey of polls shows he stays consistently unpopular with the U.S. public at large.

On immigration, for instance, the outcomes are mixed. A poll released Oct. 17 by Quinnipiac suggests Trump’s signature issue, a border wall, is now embraced by a majority, 52%. But Quinnipiac pollster Malloy cautions that 31% of those polled also said they supported accepting immigrants while one other 37% said they welcomed immigrants although they expressed concern about their communities’ ability to handle them.

“That is 60-something percent of people that not less than have their eyes open to the very fact these are human beings and it is a crisis, and you only don’t shut your door on them,” Malloy said. “I still think there may be empathy. That is still a welcoming gesture.”

The 2020 election claims have been a big, unwavering bond between Trump and his base at the same time as those unfounded claims unravel. David Becker, executive director of the non-partisan Center for Election Innovation & Research, noted that three lawyers related to Trump’s 2020 disinformation campaign pleaded guilty within the Georgia case and issued confessions admitting to and apologizing for misleading the general public.

He said Trump’s statement in Derry, Recent Hampshire, telling supporters “you don’t must vote, don’t worry about voting” were indecipherable.

“I’m not quite sure what the purpose of that’s,” said Becker, who has held regular briefings previously three years to refute Trump’s assertions in regards to the 2020 vote count. “Candidates need voters to indicate up and vote for them. I didn’t think I needed to say that. But you apparently do.”

More former Trump administration officials questioning, opposing 45’s comeback campaign

Trump touts his own self-molded brand as certainly one of the world’s “tough guys” capable of go mano-a-mano with the “monsters, villains, dictators, and dictators,” including U.S. enemies like the fear group Hezbollah and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that Trump says are “very smart.”

“You realize I actually got together with the tough guys one of the best,” he said. “The weak people I didn’t get together with. It’s kind of a weird deal.”

Quite a few the anecdotes Trump tells from the stage trumpet what he says is his deal-making prowess. In them, he arm-twists the president of Mexico to send troops to the border, the French to drop plans to “tax” U.S. products, and the World Health Organization to chop the annual U.S. financial commitment.

He touts how his real estate knowledge served to get an Israel embassy built with Jerusalem stone at a fraction of the estimated cost. He says he would have struck other deals with Iran and Palestinian leaders and “would have done something” with Venezuela but offers no insight on what would have been agreed to.

Rally coverage:

Trump, in West Palm Beach, tells DeSantis: “I can always remember.” And ignore 2028, too.

Trump also related a fact disputed three years ago by U.S. military officials that handled Tehran’s firing of missiles…

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