Donald Trump has defied the rules of engagement observed by generations of presidential aspirants, voicing opinions, waging battles and forming alliances that have sunk other candidates.
Here are all the ways he’s defied the rules of political gravity.
11. Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Any Other Republican
Ronald Reagan developed the so-called 11th Commandment during his run for California governor in 1966.
Where do we begin? From dismissing establishment favorite Jeb Bush (a “low-energy person”) to publicly revealing Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number and mocking the hearing aid-wearing Rand Paul, most of Trump’s GOP rivals have faced the billionaire’s barbs. Only the equally combustible Chris Christie, Trump’s new BFF Ted Cruz and low-key Ben Carson have avoided the wrath of Trump.
10. Thou Shalt Not Let The Press Into Your Bedroom
An allegation of an affair — and a photograph with an attractive blonde aboard the appropriately named boat “Monkey Business” destroyed Democratic front-runner Gary Hart’s chances for the White House in 1988.
Trump is seemingly inoculated from an election-year sexual takedown thanks to a New York Post front page with a supposed quote from his mistress praising the married real estate mogul’s bedroom talents.
9. Thou Shalt Not Use An Unauthorized Campaign Theme Song
John Mellencamp told John McCain to stop using his songs “Our Country” and “Pink Houses” at rallies during the 2008 campaign.
Trump had already been criticized by Neil Young for using his song “Rockin’ in the Free World” at the June announcement of his candidacy. At Wednesday’s rally to oppose the Obama administration’s Iran plan, he entered to R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” as Trump made his way to the podium. Singer Michael Stipe relayed his response via bassist Mike Mills’ Twitter page: “Go f— yourselves, the lot of you–you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”
8. Thou Shalt Not Stereotype a Region or Ethnic Group
Jesse Jackson’s long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988 came off the rails when a reporter revealed he had referred to Jewish Americans as “Hymies” and New York City as “Hymietown.’”
A generation later, Trump launched his campaign with a speech that included saying Mexican immigrants were “bringing drugs, and bringing crime and they’re rapists.’’ At a campaign trip in Iowa later in the summer, Trump adopted a cartoon accent to imitate Asian businessmen: “We want deal!”
7. Thou Shalt Not Be Photographed Wearing Head Gear
In 1988, Democrat Mike Dukakis donned a helmet (with his name on it) for a ride in an M1-A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. The stunt was supposed to boost the Massachusetts governor’s military credentials; instead, ‘’Dukakis in the tank’’ is forever shorthand for disastrous campaign imagery.
Trump’s sartorial stumbles – from the white shoes and golf pants to the multicolored baseball caps and his trademark coif — haven’t dented his popularity. And sales from his “Make America Great Again” campaign gear just add to the Trump fortune.
6. Thou Shalt Not Attract Praise From the Klu Klux Klan
On the way to a landslide defeat in 1964, Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater attracted praise from Robert Creel, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan: ‘’I think the same way he thinks,’’ Creel told reporters.
In August, former Klan leader David Duke said Trump’s candidacy was a ‘’great thing’’ and praised his pledge to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. But Duke, an avowed anti-Semite, stopped short of an endorsement because of Trump’s support for Israel.
5. Thou Shalt Not Publicly Display Anger
At the 1976 Vice Presidential debate, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole made headlines when he told opponent Walter Mondale to “stop lying about my record.”
Trump had no problem refusing to answer questions from journalist Jorge Ramos, telling him to ‘’go back to Univision’’ and directing his personal bodyguard to escort Ramos out of a news conference.
4. Thou Shalt Not Blatantly Flip Flop
John Kerry lived to regret characterizing his record on funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by saying he “actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” The comment provided opponent George W. Bush with a gold plated example of a flip flop.
Trump has explained his financial and electoral support for Democrats such as Hillary Rodham Clinton as akin to Ronald Reagan’s conversion from one-time liberal Democrat to conservative icon.
3. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt Membership in the 1 Percent
Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign was overshadowed by a secret video from a fundraising event where he dismissed the 47 percent of voters who “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” adding that his job was “not to worry about those people.” Four years earlier, John McCain stumbled over the question of how many houses he owned, saying, “I’ll have my staff get back to you.’’
In June, Trump boasted that his wealth totaled “9 billion, 240 million dollars” and said the value of his assets were understated by news organizations trying to independently estimate his empire. His campaign noted that official government filing documents were ‘’not designed for a man of Mr. Trump’s massive wealth.’’
2. Thou Shalt Not Disrespect a TV Blonde
When Vice President Dan Quayle condemned the sitcom “Murphy Brown” for a storyline in which the lead character decided to have a child out of wedlock, late night comedians had a field day and George Bush’s ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign had a problem.