The second the Internet alerted me to the fact that someone -- a woman in a hat to be specific -- had nodded off while on camera at a Jeb Bush event last week, the first thing that came to my mind was: Donald Trump is going to have a field day with this.
Trump never disappoints. Here's the Instagram video he released Tuesday afternoon.
Trump has been bashing Bush for being "low energy" for some time now -- although this video, which purports to be a sleep-aid commercial, is either a new low or a new high in that effort depending on what you think of The Donald. The ad's tagline -- "Jeb: For all your sleeping needs" -- is absolutely brutal.
Trump's trolling of Jeb speaks to the challenge the reality star/real-estate investor poses for the former Florida governor and all of the other more "traditional" candidates in the race. Trump is playing by a different set of rules than everyone else he is running against. Can you imagine Jeb Bush posting a video that suggests Marco Rubio is so boring he puts people to sleep? No. Trump can -- and is willing to -- say things that no one else in the race would ever dream of uttering in public. And so, Trump is always getting the last laugh.
The current state of the race reminds me a lot of an episode of "Black Mirror," a terrific BBC show about a dystopic near-future. In one episode -- called "The Waldo Moment" -- a blue animated bear named Waldo (stick with me here) decides to run for a local office as a way to boost ratings on his TV show. (Waldo is voiced by a comedian who never shows his face.) Waldo has no qualms about using profanity, lewd jokes and all sorts of non-PC behavior to win verbal sparring matches with his opponents. Those traditional pols have no idea how to handle Waldo because he is, well, a made-up bear. Waldo loses, but his impact on the public -- and against politicians -- is huge.
But wait, you say, Donald Trump is not an animated bear. You are correct! But Trump's ability to say and do things no one else would makes it very difficult for Bush to win a fight with him. If your opponent doesn't play by the rules -- or doesn't acknowledge there are rules at all -- it's no fun to play a game with him. Bush is learning that the hard way.