Roy Temple is feeling good these days. Real good.
Out walking the dog on a Thursday afternoon, the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party was asked about a pair of political developments bedeviling Republicans: Donald Trump’s over-the-top remarks about immigrants and the crowded GOP field for governor.
Suddenly the silver-tongued Temple was roughly quoting Napoleon.
“If your adversaries are self-destructing, don’t interrupt.”
Trump’s rant on immigrants in which he said that Hispanics are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists” has some people in a lather and has Trump in first in a national poll this week. First place.
Trump is doing something else, and leading Republicans know it: He is stomping on the GOP brand the same way that GOP-er Todd Akin undermined the Missouri GOP and Republicans nationwide in 2012. That year, the party was poised to wipe out Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill at a time when she was prime for wiping.
Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments went global, the party reeled and suddenly McCaskill was a senator for six more years.
Janet Murguía, leader of the National Council of La Raza, in town for a convention, denounced Trump in an interview Thursday and suggested that the bulk of Latinos already are pulling away from the GOP in 2016. One reason: Leading Republican candidates have been slow to criticize Trump for fear of alienating a GOP base that largely embraces his remarks.
No Republican candidates opted to speak to La Raza. But Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley all will vie for headlines Monday.
Latinos account for 17 percent of the U.S. population, up from 12 percent in 2000. Republicans such as Jeb Bush were once said to have a shot at winning a big chunk of their support.
Closer to home, Democrats expect the GOP gubernatorial field in Missouri to reach half a dozen and include the three-term lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder. This is a train wreck in the making because in a tight race, which this will be, candidates go negative to boost their numbers.
Rough primaries brutalized Missouri Republicans in 1992, 2008 and 2012. Here we go again.
Republicans, who hold veto-proof legislative majorities, can’t crack the governor’s office. They have held it only four of the last 22 years.
Temple was walking in the sun, but I doubt he broke a sweat.
“I don’t feel the need to interrupt.”