This is where his true gifts are on display, this form of emotional intelligence and business acumen, the ability to tap into and exploit other people’s emotions, even those whose response to him is revulsion. This is the art and craft of the demagogue.
You have to see Trump’s statement for what it was: A naked attempt at Willie Horton-izing Mexican immigrants, and thereby the exploiting of the image, substantiated or not, of the brown-bodied predator destroying our country and taking the virtue of our women.
It provides language for people to hide their racism and nativism inside the more honorable shell of civility and chivalry. It allows Trump to tap into anger and call it adulation.
Trump knows how to get a rise out of people, and he’s doing it.
But the Republican Party isn’t innocent here. Trump isn’t imposing a poisonous view of Hispanics; he’s voicing it. And he’s voicing it in precisely the blunt and noxious terms that a sizable portion of the party feels it and in which they want to hear it discussed.
.. There is no need for anyone to have one ounce of sympathy for the G.O.P. Its chicken has come home to roost.