I’m a strong believer in the innate wisdom of the voters. But every once in a while, I have to wonder.

I’m trying to understand all the folks who are dewy-eyed about Donald Trump. Is their support just a protest statement, or do they seriously want to make an impulsive megalomaniac the president of the United States and commander in chief of our far-flung armed services?

If so, when did the World Wrestling Entertainment cable audience take over politics?

People whose hearts are racing over Donald Trump might want to take a close look at Maine. We got caught up in all this politics-as-entertainment stuff with Paul LePage. We had all the “blunt talk” and “tell-it-like-it-is” strutting, too. The loud insults, the fragile control-freak ego and the “my-way-or-the-highway” approach to governing.

It’s turned out to be a disaster. We’re now the slowest-growing state in the country. The governor has somehow managed to attack and enrage everyone, including within his own party.

He hasn’t been able to get anything of importance done for ages. And he’s now reduced to collecting signatures on street corners so he can use citizen referendums – which are supposed to be for citizens – to govern.

Maine can provide a great service to the country right now by letting everyone know how this fun-filled adventure of electing loud, insulting, mean-spirited, anti-government guys turns out.

Not that Trump and LePage are identical. Trump is a billionaire with a squirrel on his head, tail forward. LePage is not. But they are eerily similar in other ways.

 They both hate the government they want to run.

They both are convinced that they know everything.

They both employ insults gleefully, carelessly and indiscriminately.

Neither seems to have much understanding of the powers that a chief executive has – and doesn’t have – in a democracy and under our state and federal constitutions.

They both regularly confuse opinions and right-wing talk radio chatter with facts.

It may be possible, somehow, that Trump is even more fact-challenged than LePage.

PolitiFact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, has reviewed 49 statements made by Trump in this race for president. Not one was given a grade of “True.” Only 13 were “Somewhat True.” The remaining 36 fell into their “False” categories, including eight that were “Pants on Fire” whoppers.

Unfortunately, for growing numbers of voters, it’s becoming more important to have a candidate say what they want to hear and express their anger than tell the truth.

The Trump phenomenon is another illustration of how deeply frustrated many Americans are with the country’s direction. They’re angry with the collapse of the middle class. They don’t understand why the country seems to be losing influence in a rapidly changing world. And they don’t like either our changing demographics or increasing tolerance for differences.

But Americans are deeply divided on who to blame.

People on the right blame government for just about everything, and seem to adore billionaires like Trump. On the left, the legions supporting Bernie Sanders are equally frustrated with the country’s direction and the collapse of the middle class, but they blame the billionaire takeover of America and seem to love frumpy and earnest rabble-rousers.

Both sides are, ironically, beginning to converge on one issue: getting big money out of politics. For Trump supporters, that means electing someone who’s rich enough not to need money from others. For the left, it means supporting a more ordinary guy who rails against the ownership of government by Donald Trump elites.

America has always been fascinated by train wrecks, high-wire acts and tornadoes, so the infatuation with Trump, who combines the three, should come as no surprise.

We’ve also grown accustomed to seeing large fields of candidates in the Republican presidential primaries, including many who had no business being on a national stage. Over time, those primaries tend to weed out the most outrageous and vapid candidates, but not before nearly every one of them has had a week leading the polls.

Trump will soon fade, as the primaries move from the entertainment stage to the sober act of voting. But the desire by a large segment of Americans to swing a wrecking ball at government won’t.

All we can say to America is this: Come to Maine. See what happened to us. We’re the slowest-growing state in America. Our government is consumed with melodrama. We’re in gridlock. And we have a governor who can’t govern.

Oh, and spend as much as you can while you’re here!

Alan Caron is the owner of Caron Communications, a strategic consulting firm based in Freeport. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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