According to New York Times columnist Michelle Cottle, Donald Trump could be getting a reality check on Tuesday over his belief that the power of celebrity can make voters disregard a candidate for higher office with a controversial past and no apparent qualifications for the job outside of parroting the former president.
Addressing the campaign by Dr. Mehmet Oz to become the Republican Party nominee for an open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, the columnist pointed out that it appears Trump only endorsed him because he is famous -- and that voters are not buying his candidacy if polls are to be believed.
Quoting Trump at a May rally saying of Oz, "Dr. Oz has had an enormously successful career on TV, and now he’s running to save our country,” Cottle called the president's rationale for his endorsement disturbing.
"As political pitches go, this one may sound vague and vacuous and more than a tad creepy. But Mr. Trump was simply cutting to the heart of the matter. Dr. Oz’s chief political asset — arguably his singular asset in this race — is his celebrity. Beyond that, it is hard to imagine why anyone would consider him for the job, much less take him seriously," she wrote before adding, "By championing the good doctor, Mr. Trump is putting his faith in the political value of celebrity to its purest test yet. Upping the drama are signs that the move could backfire."
Case in point, she notes the surge of the previously obscure Kathy Barnette, who has pulled even in the polls with Oz.
"The decision to go all-in on Dr. Oz tells you much about Mr. Trump’s view of what makes a worthy candidate — and maybe even more about his vision for the Republican Party," she wrote. "Even after Mr. Trump’s endorsement, the race has remained tight. At the Greensburg rally, some in the crowd repeatedly booed the mention of Dr. Oz. Many had questions about his authenticity and values."
She added, "Anyone who takes public service and leadership seriously should be troubled by Dr. Oz’s glaring lack of experience in or knowledge of policy, government and so on. That, sadly, applies to few people in today’s Republican Party, which regards experience, expertise and science as a steaming pile of elitist hooey."
"For Mr. Trump, the perfect political candidate is one who has no strongly held views of his own. Whether candidates are in touch with the needs and values of their constituencies is of no interest — and could, in fact, be an inconvenience. Mr. Trump clearly prefers a nationalized Republican Party populated by minions willing to blindly follow orders in his unholy crusade for political restoration and vengeance," she concluded.
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