A new poll has Donald Trump leading the Republican pack with GOP voters nationwide. This raises the question: “Who are these people who say they’ll vote for Trump?”
How did he skyrocket past such statesmen as Rick “you can’t spell sanatorium without the letters s-a-n-t-o-r-u-m” Santorum; and Rick Perry, whose idea of a humanitarian execution is to make death row inmates listen to his speeches until they beg for the end.
Anyway, I was watching Paul Begala the other day with Anderson Cooper (full disclosure, Paul is one of my closest friends since 1986 — we go so far back that we remember when the GOP had actual ideas), and he noted that Trump’s candidacy was great for both far-right loonies and late-night comedy writers.
As a longtime late-night writer, let me make confirm this: even if the far far right abandons Trump over time, he can count on the support of late-night writers until the polls close in November 2016.
We writers LOVE “The Donald” (note putting the word “the” makes any name sound more impressive unless you are Dick Cheney). Let me give you the top reasons why:
1. Sometimes it’s a slow news day. That’s when writers have to go to the easy jokes like these that have made the air in the past: Donald’s plane will be Hair Force One. … His companies filed bankruptcy so many times his book is all chapter elevens. … He is a family values man who loves marriage so much he gets married every few years.
Those jokes may not be great, but they can jump-start a writer’s day. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to make a joke about John Kasich. By the time you explain who he is, your hourlong TV show is over.
2. His candidacy comes at a critical time for our nation. With Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah about to start their new stints in late night, with a new season of “Saturday Night Live” just weeks away, there is a crying need for someone the hosts can makes jokes about. And Trump fills that on a daily basis. And why is this?
3. Because he is prone to exaggeration and braggadocio (which is not a type of lettuce. I checked). This is important because comedy writers love larger-than-life hypocrites and unbridled stupidity. Trump will say anything without thinking and without being hampered by the facts. The man said he will defeat ISIS! How can he beat ISIS when he just got the crap kicked out of him by the 51 Miss USA contestants?
4. Late-night writers love celebrities and politicians, and Donald is both.
He is clearly a celebrity, one who is more camera hungry than a Kardashian, slightly more articulate than Miley Cyrus and hopefully less likely to throw eggs at you than Justin Bieber. He is a well-known star with 100% name ID. No need to explain who he is, for Trump, and what he says and does, are not only the setup to the joke — the man himself sometimes IS the joke.
And he is truly a politician in the truest meaning of the word. As Jay Leno once said in his monologue: politics, it comes from the Greek word poly, which means many, and tics, which means bloodsucking insects.
So Mr. Trump, please know that I am one Democrat who supports your candidacy, and I urge you to stay the course. And in the event the money starts to dry up, please know I am prepared, as I suspect all late-night writers are, to write a check to keep you going.
We need you Donald. In a comedy world where no one remembers Dan Quayle, Ross Perot or Al Gore and Sarah Palin is off shooting lemmings from a helicopter, we need a good old-fashioned crazy candidate.
And by crazy, I mean crazy like a Fox … News.