As we get deeper into the weeds of the current election season, the din of empty rhetoric is deafening. Much of the blame goes to the Republicans’ darling of the moment, Donald Trump. I see Trump as the equivalent of cotton candy. It’s all puffed up, showy, appropriate for a circus and utterly void of meaningful substance. He’s all emotion, derogatory baiting and narcissism.

As we get deeper into the weeds of the current election season, the din of empty rhetoric is deafening. Much of the blame goes to the Republicans’ darling of the moment, Donald Trump. I see Trump as the equivalent of cotton candy. It’s all puffed up, showy, appropriate for a circus and utterly void of meaningful substance. He’s all emotion, derogatory baiting and narcissism.


Then again, as a seasoned political operative I know once observed, "Nobody ever got elected out of rational deliberation."


Trump’s core appeal is vested in fearmongering. As long as he keeps his base — less educated, lower middle class whites (it’s just a demographic fact, not a judgment) — focused on imaginary threats, he’ll continue to highjack the Republican party.


Because Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and the other mainstream contenders have little experience thwarting this kind of terror narrative, they are rendered impotent. The only meaningful challenge to date has been from Ted Cruz, whose ace resides in the more theocratic extremes of the GOP.


As someone who has worked for a number of Republican candidates over the years, I think this is all a pretty sad day for the party of Lincoln.


One of the more interesting ways Trump has bamboozled so many people is by the tired and completely fictitious mantra of "running government like a business" and by touting the true religion of capitalism.


Democrats like Bernie Sanders play a perfect foil in this errant dialectic. Trump wants us to believe that everything will be okay as long as the captains of industry continue to run government. He’s great at making money, so he’ll hold the wheel for us.


There’s only one small problem with this fantasy. Trump and indeed the majority of Americans don’t actually want unfettered capitalism. We have just been cajoled into thinking we do.


Facts being what they are, the United States is a capitalist society in the way the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a democracy. Like it or not, the United States is actually more dependent on many socialist institutions.


For instance: public schools; public streets and highways; sewers; open courts; prisons; taxpayer-funded police and fire protection; Medicare; Medicaid; Social Security; utility cooperatives; higher education grants. How dare those fascists give us free kindergarten?


Invariably people who fancy themselves "self-made" will dispute this characterization. I heard this best a few weeks ago when I stopped in a local coffee shop. There was a paunchy fellow sitting at a table who I know to be a wealthy farmer. Good for him. I also know that the crops he’s grown were well supported by federal farm subsidies. I almost spit my coffee when he loudly proclaimed to the assembled local intelligentsia, "I ain’t no god*****d socialist! I’m a capitalist."


The lady doth protest. Public price supports, tariffs, trade agreements and all the other manna from Washington protect that hard-working man from real, unbridled and often draconian capitalism. If the government (and by that I mean your fellow taxpayers) paid to keep your private enterprise going during the lean times, you’re not quite the capitalist you fancy yourself to be. Same can be said of the fossil fuel industry, the banks, the auto industry and a number of other great economic cornerstones.


The one place where capitalism does reign is small business. Small businesses are allowed to come and go because this volatility promotes the fiction that the best man always wins. If you fail, it’s all your fault. There’s also no real price for people like Trump when a few hundred thousand small businesses go bankrupt each year. He’s still "a winner."


Trump is a talented showman. He’s Putin with hotels instead of the KGB. He knows that loud, important sounding words, spewed out of a bully’s mouth have toppled regimes from the dawn of humanity. He would rather you fear words than facts. That’s not America. That’s not you. You’re better than that.