There are three major political parties in the United States: the Republicans, the Democrats and the Trumpeters.
The Republicans blow their horns for the rich. The Democrats blow their horns for the poor. And the Trumpeters just blow.
While the Republicans and Democrats are very angry, the Trumpeters are furious. The other two parties are looking for a winner. The Trumpeters are looking for a savior.
This savior will find an enemy to blame for America’s woes. This enemy will have dark skin and a foreign accent and will not be a “true” American no matter what his (probably phony) birth certificate says.
The savior will have a message. And it will not be unique. Andrew Jackson did pretty well with it in 1832, and a century later, it still has not lost its power. “Every man a king!” Huey Long told crowds in Louisiana in the early 1930s. “That’s my slogan!”
In February 1976, I interviewed George Wallace in the white, working-class neighborhood of Southie in Boston. Five hundred people packed into a small hall, and 300 others waited outside. Wallace spoke for nearly an hour in a strong, resonating voice.
“You will be the kings and queens of American politics!” Wallace thundered. “You! The working men and women will be the kings and queens instead of the ultra-liberal left that has been getting everything all the time. Paul Revere rode to say the British were coming. I will ride to say, ‘The People are coming!’”
After his speech, Wallace took questions from the same reporters he had denounced during his speech. Like Trump, Wallace was not afraid of the press. Like Trump, Wallace used the press.
I asked Wallace what his strategy was.
“My strategy? I put down the hay where the goats can get it!” he said, and then he roared with laughter.
Trump is no different in that he does not have to sell his policies. His followers are more than ready for someone who will feed their fears and promise them magic, like walls that will reach to the sky and be paid for by the same foreigners who want American jobs.
Trump does not need to build a coalition. The coalition is already out there festering, hating government, believing in conspiracies, waiting for someone to focus their anger.
On Tuesday, Ted Cruz woke up and decided to tell people that Trump was a really, really bad guy.
Trump is a “pathological liar” who is “utterly amoral” and does not know right from wrong, Cruz said. Trump has had “venereal diseases” as a result of his “serial philandering,” of which he is proud.
Trump is “terrified of strong women,” Cruz said.
And here is the really bad one: “He is not going to build a wall.”
No wall? What the heck are we going to spray paint?
Why did Cruz wait so long to roll out Operation Desperation? This is anybody’s guess. On April 26, after Trump swept Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, Stephen Colbert summed it up with deadly accuracy: “Trump’s candidacy just got five states less funny.”
And Hillary Clinton is not going to dawdle. Though technically, she still has to beat Bernie Sanders, she is already ready for Donald Trump. She is fired up and ready to go.
“We’ve seen the rhetoric; we’ve seen the insults,” she said Tuesday. “We’re going to have a tough campaign against a candidate who will say or do anything.”
The trouble with attacks against Trump, however, is that they usually lack the snap and verve of his own attacks.
Lyin’ Ted. Little Marco. Low-energy Jeb. Crooked Hillary.
As childish as they are, they stick in the mind.
“Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be president of the United States,” Trump said on Tuesday.
But what kind of temperament does the presidency require except a commitment to repeat the same slander day after day. “What I believed on Monday, I will still believe on Wednesday,” the candidate must say. “No matter what I believed on Tuesday.”
And when media outlets started writing a few weeks ago that Trump was dialing down his attacks to appear more presidential, Trump reacted with anger.
“I’m not changing; I went to the best schools; I’m, like, a very smart person,” he said. “I don’t want to change my personality. It got me here. I consider myself the presumptive nominee. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.”
And as for the rest of the campaign? The remaining primaries, the conventions, the presidential debates and all those speeches?
No worries. It’s easy when you have a plan, and Donald Trump has a plan: He is just going to keep putting down the hay where the goats can get it.
Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist.