Wally George

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz banter in a scene from tonight's debate. (Actually, that's late L.A. institution Wally George, who may very well have been a Trump inspiration.)

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As a lifelong political beast, I’m fascinated by Donald Trump. His existence as a persona should surprise no one, yet somehow it does. Pundits blame That Darned Obama, but of course, they're completely wrong.

Trump represents the natural evolution of the Republican party. Over the last 24 years, ever since the GOP realized the White House wasn’t its permanent address, its members have transformed a once-noble entity into a clutch of ankle-biting provocateurs pandering to the excitable working class. From its phony swagger rose the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party and Fox News, all practicing a quasi-snark effectively mixed with a pearl-clutching bosom-grip disguised as “offense.”

The problem is they were all talk, teasing caged baboons with raw meat. Enter Donald Trump, who gamed this ancient ruse by raising the volume to hysterical levels and actually unlocking the cages. He swallowed every test tube in the GOP’s laboratory and seduced its most coveted audience.

At last the rabble had its savior in a silver-tongued millionaire who’d simply reverted to the alternate-universe character he’d created for the WWE (Gekko-esque bully/Wally George hustler), with an added splash of cheap-cologne populism. While most of his rivals burst blood vessels to become the “beer-with” candidate, Trump fakes it easily. His secret: He’s willing to be louder, dumber and angrier than everyone else. He flip-flops with aplomb, lies with aggressive gusto and kneecaps with sadistic glee. It’s fleapit theater — no one cares.

Now he’s a presidential contender, the likely Republican nominee after months as a trifling diversion. He’s reduced great hopes and dynasties to ashes. It’s been interesting to watch his own party attempt to sabotage his momentum, when what it should do is apologize for birthing such a monstrosity in the first place.

Nevertheless, the alternatives aren't promising. Marco Rubio’s a crawling loser who crowned himself class president 30 years ago and forgot to clock out. Ted Cruz, a creepier Kenny G to Trump’s rubber-room Miles Davis, wears a face so structurally punchable his mouth extends constant invitations. John Kasich’s continued presence could be considered cruel abuse, a frat prank gone sour. Politically, they’re all janitors.

Yet these pinheads monopolize my television on a near-weekly basis, vying for my country’s toppermost throne, when they should be banished to the cable hinterlands, locked in a studio apartment, arguing over the last dollop of peanut butter. These are not serious men.

How tragic is that? We’ve reached the point where Republican debates are Jackson Pollock paintings. No, I take that back, because it implies a sense of even accidental artistry. They’re Friars Club roasts for imbeciles and sociopaths. Whenever there’s a lull in its schedule, some network dips three pigs in bourbon, swats a stage in boudoir red, and lets 'em go to town. That’s a Republican debate, and anyone who watches for edification might be better off daydreaming atop a mountain of spent whippets.

Ponder that this evening as you watch Donald Trump manscape himself on live television while Marco Rubio vomits sound bites down his clown pants, Ted Cruz belches the ABCs through a Hello Kitty megaphone and John Kasich quietly wonders if he even registers to the naked eye anymore. They’re crudely entertaining, but should we decide to pull one of their fingers, we’ll never get the stench from our clothes.

UPDATE: Spurned suitor Ben Carson has threatened an impending Trump endorsement. May we live in interesting times.

Cory Frye is obviously not your friend.

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