Jonah Goldberg

The other week Trump released Christie from his Gimp-Kennel to spin for him. Christie declared that Trump is held to a “double standard.” He is — a much, much, much more generous one. He says idiotic things, nonsensical things, untrue things, non-responsive things every day, every hour. It is inconceivable that Cruz, Rubio or any of the other original 2016 candidates could get away with belching word fogs the way he does.

I’m convinced this is one reason why Rubio’s punching back at Trump seems to have backfired. I liked what Rubio did and thought it was wholly justifiable. But the problem is that voters have priced into Trump his deceitfulness and crudeness. They think that’s the authentic Trump – and they’re almost certainly right. When Rubio jumped into the gutter with Trump, he was changing roles and voters didn’t like it.

And that in itself is a perfect example of the double standard Trump benefits from. Trump knows little to nothing and he lies the way most of us breathe. But that’s him. And, bizarrely, many people like him (and many commentators have been seduced by his popularity). So he’s allowed to be Trump. No one else is allowed to be Trump-like because when we see Trumpism in others, we recognize its ugliness and vacuity for what it is.

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