There are serious problems, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a speech today at the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah. And Donald Trump is not the answer to any of them, Romney contended. “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.” Yet many prominent people have said essentially the same thing for months and still Trump bashing has found little traction among Trump supporters. They are far more persuaded that Romney and traditional Republicans, as well as the media, are fraudulent — not Trump. In fact every time one of these groups — pols or reporters — calls Trump a pretender, his supporters rally round him. Attacked, Trump does even better.
A long report in the New York Times and a sharp, humorous analysis by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone have already explained well Trump’s unique position and timing. In essence, the establishment and the fourth estate have been disemboweled — much their own doing, or non-doing in the case of Congress. Romney’s attempts to stigmatize Trump for having “the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss” is a punch that won’t land. Because that’s the same anger Trump supporters harbor — and they already feel that their nation, which they hardly recognize, has fallen into the abyss. Trump can laugh at Romney’s attempt to eviscerate him, noting that Romney is indisputably a “loser” — one of Trump’s favorite taunts. (Romney lost to Obama, of course.) And to further fire up his crowd Trump can cite Romney’s hypocrisy. In 2012 Romney said of Trump: “Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works, to create jobs for the American people.” That was while Romney was accepting Trump’s much sought-after endorsement for president.