Jay Bookman

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

Avoiding a holiday civil war over Trump


When Donald Trump bought a run-down golf course on the Potomac River, he wanted something to jazz it up, to give the property a little flair. So, Trump being Trump, he decided to pretend that a major Civil War battle had occurred on the site, then "memorialized" the faux battle with a plaque between the 14th and 15th holes.

It reads:

“Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ ”

Just to be clear, Trump didn't merely exaggerate, blowing some minor skirmish into a major confrontation. The whole thing was a fabrication, from beginning to end. History, reality, facts -- concepts that constrain the thinking of lesser mortals -- simply do not exist for Trump, and that ability to re-imagine the world and then sell it to others has pushed him into the lead for the Republican presidential nomination.

Not many saw this coming. I certainly did not imagine last summer that Trump would be leading in the polls come Labor Day. And Halloween. And now Thanksgiving. In a newly released Fox poll, 28 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Trump, his best showing yet in that poll. The fading Ben Carson is at 18 percent, with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz each at 14 percent.

Jeb Bush is at 5 percent, down among the likes of Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie.

Trump also leads when GOP voters are asked whom their second choice would be, and he would be the prime beneficiary if Carson were to drop out of the race. And according to Fox News, Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton 46-41 in a general election contest.

Looking a bit deeper, the Fox poll also challenges some of the accepted wisdom surrounding Trump and his supporters, which holds that his base is generally male, older and blue collar. That description may underplay the breadth of the Donald's support.

Among college-educated GOP voters, the leading candidate is Trump, with Carson in second. The leading candidate among female GOP voters is also Trump. He leads among those making more than $50,000 a year and among those 45 and younger. He even has a one-point lead over Carson among white evangelicals.

In other words, if you aren't a Trump supporter yourself, the odds are pretty high that you will be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with someone who is. It may even be someone whom you love and respect, such as family members and close friends. My own advice in such situations would be to find things other than politics to discuss -- "hey, how 'bout those Falcons!" "Seen any good movies lately?" "Tell me more about your fascinating macrame project!" -- and to carve the turkey before it gets to the table, so that no sharp knives are around.

At least, that's going to be my strategy. Wish me luck.


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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.