Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

GOP voters more interested in vengeance than governance


Zero, and 48.

Between them, Donald Trump and Ben Carson claim zero years of governmental experience, and 48 percent of the Republican primary electorate.

More alarmingly, neither man demonstrates even the slightest intent of trying to offset that inexperience with a crash course into the issues that confront the country. "Aside from obnoxious insults, his utterances reflect a bizarre policy brew of exaggeration, fallacy and liberal convictions," conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin notes about Trump. And as Leon Wolf notes at RedState, Carson has repeatedly proved himself "unable to answer a very basic question about United States policy, or to even be prepared to discuss the subject knowledgeably (or even conversantly)."

Yet it does not seem to matter. Both men have adopted the mindset that when you're peddling ignorance and people are buying it as if it were gasoline at 99.9 cents a gallon, why confuse your fan base -- and yourself -- with actual facts or comprehension? They'll only get in the way.

According to the latest CBS poll, 35 percent of Republican voters now say that Trump would be their party's most electable candidate come next fall, and 80 percent say they would support him if he becomes the nominee. Just 11 percent say the most electable candidate would be Marco Rubio, and 10 percent say it's Jeb Bush. (Among his fellow Republicans, Jeb has a 32-38 percent approval-disapproval rating, and I'm not sure there's enough PAC money in the world to reverse that kind of number.)

More alarmingly, 83 percent of Republicans say they are very or somewhat confident in Trump's handling of the economy; 62 percent would be very to somewhat confident in his ability to handle a major international crisis.

Just 8 percent of Republican voters say "the right experience" is the most important attribute in selecting a presidential nominee. Just 2 percent say it's the ability to win the general election. And 53 percent of Republicans describe Trump as honest and trustworthy.

It's just amazing. And if you start looking for a commonality between the boisterous Trump and the more withdrawn Carson -- if you start looking for one explanation for their success -- it would be their willingness to give voice to conservative frustration. As demonstrated in their visits to Georgia over the weekend, both men are eager and willing to stick it to the liberals, to the media, to the Chinese, to the immigrants, to the GOP establishment and to Obama. And that's all that matters.**

“America is worth saving,” as Carson put it. “If that means getting into a war with the PC police, I’m ready to fight that war. And I hope you will join me.”

Think about that. "America is worth saving," and what endangers it is the "PC police." They're not electing a president who can run the country, they're trying to elect a president who can exact vengeance for them.

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** The bizarre story arc of C.J. Pearson offers further evidence of that conclusion.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.