That anyone–anywhere–is taking “The Donald” seriously is a black mark on America.
This megalomaniac with really, really bad hair, whose most salient characteristic is a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, is busy pandering to the very worst elements in our political system–much as he has pandered to our obsession with money and celebrity. As a side show, I suppose some may find him moderately amusing, if bad taste and cluelessness are your thing. As a presidential contender, not so much.
On the other hand, the shamelessness with which he is playing to the Tea Party folks makes it abundantly clear what truly motivates them: hatred of Obama. Not the real, flesh and blood person who occupies the White House, but the idea of Obama. “Birtherism” is simply a slightly less obvious attack on Obama’s race. The other attacks flow from that central conviction: a black President is unthinkable, illegitimate.
Was there intense hatred of George W. Bush? Absolutely. But it developed over time, as Bush took actions that enraged many citizens. Even after the disaster of the hanging chads and the Supreme Court’s intervention, there was partisan disapproval but not the white-hot anger that developed as Bush revealed himself through word and deed. That is not the case with Obama; he was the object of searing personal attacks before he even assumed the office. You don’t have to agree with everything he’s done (and I don’t–especially his continuation of Bush’s national security policies) to recognize the difference.
But even the most reactionary among us surely don’t hate Obama–or America–enough to consider Donald Trump anything but the shallow side-show he is.