Check, check and check. It's official, the 2016 Republican presidential primary is not reality. It can't be. Can it?
I mean, sure, there are hallmarks of the real world amid all the insanity. Enough to make it seem authentic. However, there have been more than enough examples to convince me that we're actually trapped in a parallel universe. Trumptasia, 2016.
Let's start with the grotesque: repulsively ugly.
I cannot remember a political campaign so nasty, so low-brow, so tasteless as Donald Trump's. This is a man who, from the debate lectern, assured a national television audience that he is well-endowed. Until then, the biggest knock against Trump's debating capabilities was his inability to discuss policy at a depth beyond "great," "terrific" and "winning" ideas. Turns out, those were the good old days.
But his genitalia-related debate conversation isn't the only ugly thing about Trump's candidacy. He's a natural at spewing distasteful verbal assaults whenever a microphone is in front of him. Name-calling — "rapists," "bimbos," "disgusting people," etc. — apparently is the new norm. And his campaign goons have taken to physically roughing up members of the media. It's true. A formal criminal complaint has been filed against Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for bruising a female reporter recently. She dared — get this — to ask The Donald a question.
Then there's the bizarre: very strange or unusual.
Yes, I'm aware the whole campaign could be stuffed into this category, but there have been moments of mind-bending peculiarity. Like last week when Ben Carson suggested there were two Donald Trumps — an "on the stage" version and a "cerebral" one. At first Trump agreed with this analysis, then backtracked minutes later saying, no, "There's one Donald Trump."
So how many are there, really? I guess we'll never know. I mean, the man himself isn't even sure. Quick thought: What if both show up at the same time when bargaining with Vladimir Putin?
Lastly, there's the unreal: so strange as to appear imaginary.
Now this is where most of the Trump experience exists. There are so many examples of the unreal. Like the fact that millions of seemingly level-headed people truly believe the United States could get into a trade war with countries like China or India with no chance of negative economic repercussions. That if we just chant "Make America Great" while slapping gigantic tariffs on imports, everything will be all rainbows and unicorns.
Or that the leading Republican candidate can threaten his own party with riots if he is not its nominee. Not protests. Not even lawsuits (Trump's favorite thing). We're talking riots. Burn-it-down, violent, people-get-hurt riots. Has he been reprimanded for this ultimatum? Nothing. Crickets.
What planet are we on?
Or that countless big-name, respectable conservatives are slowly raising the white flag to let the Trump Train gain momentum. Instead of standing against what is the most hate-based, bigoted and divisive political campaign to hit the national stage in more than a generation, these typically reputable individuals are taking the easy way out, justifying Trump's harmful candidacy by saying his supporters have a right to be angry, or, "I think the American people should be angrier than they are."
We're all angry, but that doesn't mean good people should accommodate a vile and destructive man who isn't just bad for the GOP but for all of America.
This can't be reality. It's all a (bad) dream. Isn't it?
Contact David Allen Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DMart423.