The ranks of the birthers have been thinning ever since President Obama released his long-form birth certificate. And now so has the standing of Donald Trump, the man who rode the racist birther conspiracy theory like a bottle rocket to the top of the GOP field for 2012. In a national poll and one in New York, the Donald’s faux campaign is losing momentum just in time for him to get back to reality — television.
A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday revealed that 58 percent of those surveyed "would never vote" for Trump. (The same percentage said the same about Sarah Palin, FYI.) Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute summed up their predicament nicely. “Sarah Palin and Donald Trump,” he said, “suffer from the reality that, as our mothers told us, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’”
First impressions in New York of Trump took a beating decades ago. This explains why an overwhelming percentage of New Yorkers of all political stripes don’t want Trump’s candidacy to go from faux to fo’ real. According to the Marist poll released Thursday, 75 percent of New Yorkers surveyed don’t want Trump to run for president. Among Democrats, it’s 82 percent. Among Republicans, it’s 66 percent.
Such resounding rejection ought to make a sane person rethink getting into the presidential race. But we’re talking Trump here. There’s been nothing sane about what he’s done. And he’s deserved every lump he’s received in response.
Trump is in too deep at this point to quit his flirtation with the GOP nomination without confirming that this was all about ratings for his reality television show. Still, there is a credible way for him to bolt for the exit. David Meadvin, former speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Attorney General Eric Holder offered the following proposed statement for Trump in a piece for the Huffington Post.
“I seriously considered running for president in 2012 because I’m deeply concerned about our country’s ability to create jobs and compete in the global economy. We need a president who’ll get serious about these real and growing problems for a change. I’ve known all along that Washington is broken, but in the past few weeks, even I have been shocked by the poisonous atmosphere in American politics. Anyone who presents themselves as a candidate for public office deserves scrutiny, but the viciousness of the current process precludes a serious debate on the issues. For this reason, I’ve determined that I can do far more good for America by continuing to build things and create more jobs in the private sector than anyone could as president.”
Even if Meadvin weren’t a good friend — so good that I bought my apartment from him and was in his wedding — I would say that this statement passes the laugh test with me. As Meadvin points out in his HuffPo piece, the statement blames the media for the circus Trump created. But it doesn’t elicit the customary “side eyes” I give when I hear someone say something patently ridiculous. If Trump follows Meadvin’s advice before NBC announces its 2011-2012 lineup on May 16 folks might actually believe him.