Stephen Colbert is the king of satire, but since stepping down from his role as host of The Colbert Report last year, the comedian has occasionally gotten more serious with his politics. Though he has been known to lambaste Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on both his former and new show, Colbert came surprisingly close to giving The Donald some praise on his upcoming Face the Nation interview. And that wasn't his outrageous conservative persona talking, either — Colbert, as himself, said Trump's candidacy is "appealing," and it wasn't just for comedy shticks and ratings.
In his Face the Nation interview set to air on Sunday, Colbert discusses the fact that he's spent a lot of time assuring his viewers that Trump could not secure the nomination or presidency. But the candidate's rise to the top has surprised even this political guru, who admits that he "may be wrong" about Trump's odds to win. This, he says, is based on his "opinion of the nation," which now polls Trump an average of 21 points higher than any other GOP candidate.
Colbert feels he understands why Trump has had this steady swell in the polls. Though he can't get behind the man, he can, on some level, get behind his reason for success with voters: "What I do respect is that he knows that it is an emotional appeal, and it might be emotional appeals that I can't respect, but he knows that you have to appeal to the voter."
If there's been one other thing Trump has shown he's good at throughout his campaign, it's disrupting the Republican establishment. Colbert touches on this during the interview: "There's a populism to Trump that I found very appealing. The party elders would like him to go away but the people have decided that he is not going to."
This aspect of Trump's campaign is what Colbert focuses on — that in a sea of Republican candidates, who all talk, walk, and think the same, Trump offers, at the very least, something different.
I may disagree with anything that he's saying and think that his proposals are a little ... well, more than a little shocking. But there is something really hopeful about the fact that, well, 36 percent of the likely voters want him so the people in the machine don't get to say otherwise. That's the one saving grace, I think, of his candidacy.
This saving grace seems to have forced the Republican Party to wrestle with their political morals. Are they going to be the party of Trump, who proposes sweepings bans on Muslims entering the country and wants to build unrealistic borders? Or will they center and realign themselves with a nation that has grown progressively liberal? Perhaps in this way, Trump does have an "appealing" quality to him after all.