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Jim Hightower: With Donald Trump in GOP Presidential Race, Let the Lunacy Begin!

Oh, joy! Oh, goody! Oh, happy day! For those of us who love the loopy side of American politics, our dream of some serious loco for 2016 has arrived: Donnie Trump in the race! For president. Of the United States. No, really!

"Wow," a beaming Donald Trump exclaimed as he stepped onstage, basking in the cheers of a throng that had assembled for his launch into the 2016 presidential race. "That is some group of people," he gushed. "Thousands."

He announced his candidacy from — where else? — Trump Tower, the luxury skyscraper on tony Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The celebrity billionaire, who has splashed the Trump brand on casinos, hotels, resorts, condos, neckties and even steaks, now wants to put it on the Republican Party. Indeed, The Donald declared that he should be our president because, "We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again." There you go — the U.S. is a brand, like a Big Mac, the Nike swoosh or Vidal Sassoon hair spray.

As for qualifications, Trump brandished his wealth, exclaiming that only someone "really rich" has what it takes to be America's CEO. This view that one's net worth is the measure of one's worthiness squares with an earlier self-assessment by Donnie: "Let me tell you, I'm a really smart guy."

Of course, smart is as smart does, so what does Mr. Smarty-pants propose to do as president? He claims he has "a foolproof way of winning the war with ISIS," the barbaric terrorists marauding through Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. Excellent! What is his plan? It's a secret, he says, "I don't want the enemy to know what I'm doing."

The announcement was a showbiz extravaganza. Literally. The crowd was there to cheer the self-promoting hypester who wants to be president — but not necessarily to support him. That's because some of these over-the-top enthusiasts were actors! Yes, hired at $50 a pop to do a three-hour performance as Donnie's "crowd." An outfit named Extra Mile Casting had been retained to puff-up the audience: "We are looking to cast people for the event to wear T-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him," Extra Mile said in an email to its list of actors who work as extras in films, TV shows, ads, etc. When The Donald Show was done, the actors were seen dumping their signs in the trash and going on to their next show-biz gig.

For his part, Trump gave a rambling, bumbling, almost-incoherent 40-minute rant. Citing his chief qualification for the highest office in the land, he said: "I'm really rich. ... And by the way, I'm not even saying that to brag. ... That's the kind of thinking you need for this country." And his immigration policy is simply, well, simplistic. He "would build a great wall" on the Mexican border to stop all the rapists and other criminals who, he claims, are streaming into the U.S. in droves. "And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me." Wow, apparently he's going to build the wall himself! Then he added a jingoistic gringosim to this Good Neighbor policy, declaring, "And I'll have Mexico pay for that wall."

And what's his economic policy, you ask? It's a whopper: "I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created," he bellowed.

No, no, Donnie — don't even try to blame God for creating you or your nuttiness. You truly are a self-made man, spawned from the fumes of your own gaseous ego. Yet you're a godsend for people seeking comic relief in politics.

Such goofiness explains why Trump is starting his run for the White House with some 70 percent of voters (including more than half of Republicans) viewing him UNfavorably. But, as a brand-name celebrity, The Donald will qualify to be in the GOP's presidential debates — so let the lunacy begin!

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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