James Gill: Trumpery coming to Louisiana _lowres

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) ORG XMIT: NVIB135

Trumpery is coming to Louisiana. Naming his state campaign team in Louisiana, The Donald says he will soon honor us with a visit.

So much for those pundits who were predicting last summer that Trump would flame out because he is a buffoon. He remains the buffoon at the head of the polls, and his prospects in Iowa just got a boost from Sarah Palin.

The Republican establishment is, no doubt, horrified at the thought that Trump could still be a leading contender for the nomination when the Louisiana primary rolls around March 5, but he is evidently counting on it. Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and longtime former state Rep. Woody Jenkins will be in charge of the campaign.

They will be delighted that Palin has endorsed Trump. She may be that rare politician with a shakier grasp of public policy and international affairs than Trump, but she remains a darling of the evangelicals who will flood the caucuses in a couple of weeks.

If Trump should win in Iowa, as the polls suggest he well might, it would bode well for the campaign in Louisiana, where the fundamentalists can be counted on to turn out for Republican primaries. Indeed, one of the reasons Jenkins might be a shrewd choice is that he has spent years as a Christian broadcaster and is an uncompromising pro-lifer. His big pal and protege, Tony Perkins, is head of the Family Research Council in Washington, where his efforts have brought admiring words from Trump. Those words may not have been sincere, of course; Trump’s opposition to abortion is relatively new and looks like political opportunism, but humbugs can make effective campaigners.

So can incoherent ignoramuses, as Palin continues to demonstrate. She appeared on the Iowa stump with Trump just after the British parliament debated whether he should be banned for committing “hate speech.” The debate was required under British law after more than 500,000 delicate souls signed a petition for Trump to be kept out of Britain because he wanted to keep Muslims out of America and wall off the border with Mexico.

“Buffoon” was one of the insults hurled at Trump during the debate, but it was all for show. No vote was taken, and Parliament has no exclusion power, anyway. The winner was Trump; he got oceans of publicity, confirming for his supporters back home that he could be a force on the international stage. If Home Secretary Theresa May, who does have the power to ban foreigners, did declare Trump persona non grata, he’d probably go up a couple of points in the polls. It would just go to show that he would be a commander in chief with the fortitude, in Palin’s felicitous phrase, to “kick ISIS’ ass.”

That would be one ass kicking another; the Middle East has never proven susceptible to the kind of simple-minded solution that is Trump’s stock-in-trade.

For him, the vast body of scientific evidence that demonstrates climate change can be blithely dismissed as a “hoax.” He proposes a 45 percent tariff on imports from China without any apparent concern for its effect on a tanking global economy. As for that wall, there might be practical problems since the border is 2,000 miles long, and it remains to be seen how Trump could make Mexico pay for it. And surely, nobody believes he could find a way to deport 11 million illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children within two years of taking office. The idea, in any case, is inhumane and economic madness. It always gets an ovation at his rallies.

Trump’s every pronouncement is, for the pundits, further proof that he is utterly unfit to be president, but then he wouldn’t be riding so high if voters were inclined to listen to political experts these days. It is still impossible to imagine his being elected president or even winning the Republican nomination, and, perhaps, he will be a spent force before the Louisiana primary.

Still, we have already seen how dangerous it is to write him off. “Trumpery,” the dictionary tells us is “nonsense” or “twaddle,” and that will get you a long way in politics.

James Gill’s email address is jgill@theadvocate.com.