Donald Trump is the first talk radio candidate.
Everything he says on the primary trail sounds just like what you can hear on conservative talk radio every day.
When he’s riffing about the failures of the political class in Washington, calling for an end to birthright citizenship or handling a media heckler like Jorge Ramos at a press conference, Trump is talking straight to the hearts and minds of the talk radio demographic.
He’s not much of a conservative, or much of a Republican, for that matter.
But as Trump forces many of the other timid GOP candidates to address subjects they’re otherwise too scared to address, he’s echoing what millions of conservative talk-show listeners have been yelling about for decades.
I know. I used to be one of those talk show guys. I’ve heard what the silent majority yells and bitches at their radios about.
Trump is an entertaining showman. Though he’d hate to admit it, he’s also a natural-born politician.
He might not be likable. But he knows how to relate to and communicate with his constituents. All he needs are catchy slogans, half-finished sentences, quips and shrugs.
The Donald is authentic all right – to a fault. But because he’s immune to criticism from the media or other politicians, as a candidate he has it easy.
Like any conservative talk show host, he can say any wild-and-crazy thing about immigration or the Iran nuclear deal he likes without paying a political penalty or having to explain his sketchy policy ideas.
For example, he can promise us over and over that the first thing he’ll do as President Trump is build a 1,900-mile wall to stop the illegals coming in from Mexico.
But the wall is the simple part. Every conservative talk radio guy in North American has been calling for a strong southern border wall for years.
But what would President Trump do about the 12 million illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.? And what about the millions of illegals who didn’t wade across the Rio Grande to get here?
Studies say as many as 50 percent of them came here legally but then overstayed their tourist or student visas and never left. More than 10 percent came from Asia.
That “Great Trump Wall” he’ll build on the Mexican border won’t stop those kinds of “unauthorized” guests, no matter how tall it is.
It’d be nice if Trump – or any of the genuine conservative Republican candidates – had a few smart ideas about fixing our horrible legal immigration system.
With its long wait times, Soviet-style paperwork, high legal costs and politicized selection process, it’s the epitome of a Big Government bureaucracy.
Last I heard, conservatives were supposed to be against such things.
Meanwhile, a one-man party like Trump will not be able to fix immigration, legal or illegal.
It’s going to take a “boring” career politician like John Kasich, Rick Perry, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush to accomplish that and everything else Trump is talking about doing in Washington to “make America great again.”
As Republican governors, Perry, Kasich, Christie and Bush have proven track records. Perry and Kasich have done all the right conservative things in Texas and Ohio.
They’ve cut taxes, cut back government and created new jobs by encouraging economic growth. Poor Perry did all three, plus he dealt with the border and hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.
Trump has many accomplishments. He’s a fabulous negotiator and builder. He’s also stirring up Republican primary politics-as-usual in a beneficial way.
It’s really great that he’s not afraid to say what a lot of conservatives in the country want to hear him say.
But as any talk radio guy can tell you, saying something and getting something done are two different things.
What Perry and the other governors actually have accomplished in their states is what Trump can only espouse and promise if, by some miracle, he gets to Washington.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.