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Trump hasn't lost the ability to surprise

In the course of a campaign, why grade on a curve? Why let Trump off the hook simply because he's earned a reputation for using inflammatory language?
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump waves has he arrives for a campaign rally, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (Photo by David Goldman/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump waves has he arrives for a campaign rally, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N.H.

<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trump keeps it classy ahead of NH vote...<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Maddow?src=hash">#Maddow</a> <a href="https://t.co/t2c6wz5ZOb">https://t.co/t2c6wz5ZOb</a></p>&mdash; Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) <a href="https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/696889939896610816">February 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> '

In context, the Republican frontrunner was complaining about Ted Cruz not being enthusiastic enough in his support for torture. "You know he's concerned about the answer because well, some people," Trump said pointing to a woman in the crowd, "she just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out 'cause I don't wanna." Then he said it anyway: "She said, 'He's a p—y.'"

The crowd erupted in laughter and cheers. Moments later, a "Trump" chant broke out. Trump faux-chastised the woman, for the good of the press, as he's done before when one of his attendees has shouted out something uncouth. "That's terrible! Terrible."
 
There may be some who shrugged this off, saying to themselves, "There he goes again." But I hope Trump hasn't desensitized us to such a degree that we're no longer capable of surprise.
 
After months of Trump's candidacy, it may be easy to get used to his over-the-top nonsense. We've all heard his offensive rhetoric about Mexicans, John McCain's military service, Muslims, and others -- the kind of language that would sink a normal campaign in a normal election cycle -- and we've probably reached the point at which Trump is simply expected to be offensive. It's like we're watching a comic with a reputation for being unnecessarily outrageous, and he or she keeps coming up with new ways to shock audiences, for fear of slipping into irrelevance.
 
But in the course of a presidential campaign, why grade on a curve? Why let Trump off the hook simply because he's earned a reputation for using inflammatory language?