It was fascinating to spend part of my vacation last week watching the political soap opera unfold. When I wasn't getting crushed by waves of the Atlantic Ocean, I was witnessing big-time political drama on a number of fronts.
The Presidential race got intense early and that's a good thing. The country is pretty much a mess right now with unchecked deadly enemies abroad and a sluggish economy at home.
Also, as it stands now, we are a socially divided nation with all the bitterness that brings. Some Americans will not even support legislation mandating federal prison terms for aggravated felons who defy deportation and return.
Opposing punishing those people is a special kind of madness, one that puts Americans in danger as we will demonstrate once again in the third block this evening.
Now, it's quite apparent that many voters are furious with craven cowardly politicians who don't even try to solve problems or even stand up against injustice. That's why Trump has stolen the show so far. His slash-and-burn style appeals to voters who are fed up with the system that is essentially cowardly and dishonest. Trump hammers the establishment on the border chaos, lack of respect for America overseas, and the often disgraceful treatment of wounded vets.
At this point it really doesn't matter whether Trump has specific solutions to vexing problems, it's enough for millions of voters that he is calling out the charlatans. Many establishment politicians and press despise Trump for highlighting a dysfunction system they themselves embrace.
But what Trump has really done is stimulate political debate -- a very good thing in a republic that is losing power and respect at home and abroad. Even though it's August, the country is buzzing about politics and some Republican contenders who never would have reached a mass audience have done so largely thanks to Trump. They should send him flowers.
Trump mania is hurting at least one politician though, Hillary Clinton whose machine is exactly the opposite of the open, vibrant debate the GOP is currently having. It seems this time around folks are rejecting politics as usual because problems are not being solved in Washington and most of us know that.
Moving forward, America needs a strong leader to ramp up the economy, secure the southern border, deal with rank injustice on our streets and stop the Islamic jihadists who are running wild. That person has to be honest, tough, and smart. He or she also has to be mature enough to deal with the largely unfair media and a changing electorate.
The harsh truth is that anyone seeking power in America will be brutalized. The social media sewer, overflowing with personal attacks and false information. The establishment press, also a problem. It has agendas all day long -- race, gender, ideology, personal animus -- all of those can lead to unfair attacks. These days those who would be president have to be able to turn those attacks around.
Here's a great example. During the last campaign, presidential contender Newt Gingrich was hit with an allegation by an ex-wife that he wanted an open marriage. Gingrich denied it. Nevertheless, CNN headlined the allegation in the South Carolina debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Mr. Speaker, I want to start with that this evening. As you know your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview at the "Washington Post" and this story has now gone viral on the Internet. In it she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair, she says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?
GINGRICH: No. But I will. I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office and I'm appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.
Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Demonstrating righteous anger, Gingrich won the debate and the primary that followed. Rather than being petulant over the aggressive questioning, he turned embarrassment into victory with skillful rhetoric. His response should be studied by every politician.
Now, at this point, there are two main themes developing in the presidential campaign. First, whether Secretary Clinton can hold things together in the face of an FBI investigation into the e-mail deal she brought upon herself. That could be a game changer and it is no accident Joe Biden is warming up in case Hillary crashes and burns.
By the way, Hillary's main competition, Bernie Sanders is somewhat like Trump. He loathes the system and rarely holds back. The problem is the senator from Vermont is a socialist and Americans will never put that extreme economic view into the White House. Sanders says he is a Democratic socialist. I guess that means after he seizes your house, he will leave an American flag on the lawn.
The second campaign theme is the Trump factor. How long can he go? About 25 percent of the Republican voters now support him but that's not enough to win. He is now calling for the mass deportation of illegal aliens. A very tough view that brings up major constitutional problems concerning due process and anchor baby citizenship. You can't punish folks for bad laws on the books. And believe me, the federal courts will never, never allow mass deportations even if Congress changes the laws.
Be that as it may, Trump has again trumped the field in media coverage simply by proposing policies some Americans desperately want to see.
Bottom line, simply impossible to ignore the mouth that roared and that is driving many establishment folks crazy. Donald Trump is not really a Republican. He is a Trump-ian. But it doesn't matter, does it? Because Trump has changed the election process, no matter what happens going forward. And he will be here tomorrow night.
That's “The Memo”.
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly.