Why Does Everyone Still Treat Donald Trump With Kid Gloves?


As many, many people keep pointing out, no one has really taken on Donald Trump. Nor does anyone seem likely to start. Trump has somehow developed a myth of invincibility: nothing anyone says ever hurts him, so why bother trying?

But this is ridiculous. No one has ever really tried. The other Republican candidates tiptoe around, uttering only milquetoast criticisms, and nobody cares what Democrats have to say. But if there’s anything Trump has shown us, it’s the fact that presidential contenders can be a whole lot blunter than we ever thought. So why not really go after him? I can think of at least half a dozen avenues:

  • His serial affairs, divorces, and remarriages to models and actresses.
  • His obvious lack of religious faith.
  • His miserable financial record: bankruptcies, lawsuits, failed businesses, refusal to pay vendors, etc.
  • His endless penny ante shilling (Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump mortgages, etc.)
  • His many, many liberal beliefs held as recently as a decade ago.
  • His absurd penchant for lying.
  • The “bone spurs” that kept him out of the Vietnam War.
  • His abominable charitable record
  • His risible habit of naming everything after himself.

I’m not suggesting that somebody ask him about this stuff. That will just produce the usual hot air. Nor am I thinking of routine “contrast” ads. I’m thinking of full-bore, kick ’em in the nuts, Willie Horton style ads. Ones where you get to frame the attack in as vicious and unfair a way as you want. Ads that will really hurt him.

Would it work? Beats me. But it’s hard to believe that no one is even bothering to try long after it’s become obvious that he’s not going to collapse on his own. There’s a ton of money sloshing around the Republican primary this year, and Republicans aren’t especially noted for conducting touchy-feely campaigns. So why is Trump being treated with kid gloves?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.