While Donald Trump makes many Democrats want to jump off a bridge, many are jumping for joy at the perceived damage the demagogue is doing to the Republican brand. On the flip side, GOP chair Reince Priebus is trying to get Trump to tone it down for the sake of his party.
Well, Rep. Carlos Curbelo seems to think all of the hubbub isn't a coincidence. He claims there's a chance that Trump may, in fact, be a Democratic plant out to sully the proud integrity of the Republican Party and its voters.
Last week, Curbelo was a guest on Spanish-language radio station Z 92 and offered his theory on Trump.
"I think there's a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate," Curbelo said. "Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons' foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious," he said, according to the translation from the Miami Herald.
He previously told a Colombian radio station that Trump was irrelevant and "quite possibly is a phantom candidate recruited by the left to create this entire political circus."
Curbelo, of course, holds a seat that, before his election, was known for a lot of shenanigans involving fake candidates. A fake Democrat was recruited to run in a 2012 primary against Democrat Joe Garcia, a strong contender against then-incumbent Rep. David Rivera. That fake candidate claims Rivera funded his campaign, though the investigation is ongoing. Garcia ended up winning the election, but in 2013 allegations surfaced that this campaign had funded a third-party candidate in the previous 2010 matchup against Rivera.
Curbelo went on to defeat Garcia and is the ultimate winner of all that fake-candidate buffoonery, so you can't blame the guy for thinking this sort of thing is commonplace.
Indeed, Trump has donated to Democrats, but he has donated far more to Republicans, especially since 2012, according to Politifact.
There are, of course, two big logistical problems with Curbelo's theory:
1. Donald Trump would never love the Democratic Party more than himself and his money, and while he may be doing some peripheral damage to the GOP brand, he's doing far more to his own brand and his own bottom line.
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2. Trump might actually help Republicans. He'll make even their most firebrand candidates look sane by comparison.
Granted, clearly some in the Grand Old Party are rather embarrassed that Trump seems to be popular among quite a few of its voters. Trump is currently in first place in the Huffington Post's average of polls, a fact he noted as "very nice" on Twitter yesterday.
However, in the competing Real Clear Politics average, Trump is in second place, behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.