On Donald Trump, Florida Republicans agree: His unscripted, anti-politician style is connecting with people fed up with scripted politicians. “I’m a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win,” Trump declared Tuesday.
But consensus is lost on everything else — from how long the part-time Florida resident and full-time provocateur will last, to his effect on the GOP’s chances of winning the presidency.
He bewilders and amuses, worries and excites. Despite repeated predictions of imminent decline, Trump keeps charging.
“When he says things that make everybody cringe, it doesn’t matter. For the people who get it, that’s just not important,” said Sid Dinerstein, a former GOP chairman in Palm Beach County. “The other candidates are qualified, but they don’t have the same urgency. They don’t realize that Western civilization as we know it may never be the same again.”
“He’s helping the brand,” Dinerstein insisted. “The debate last week was the single-biggest nonsports event in the history of Fox.” Actually, in the history of cable TV.
“He’s hurting the brand,” said state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who is worried that Trump will do well enough that the Republican nominee will have to pay homage to him during the convention next July.
Hillary Clinton, “could easily stand up and say, 'There they were at their convention, and they affirmed this guy. They let him speak,’ ” Gaetz predicted. “That picture hurts the brand.”