Mark Leibovich: Trump's success due to 'racism, gullibility' of GOP voters

Story highlights

  • Leibovich said Trump has made "fools" out of numerous political pundits with his success to date
  • Looking ahead to a probable Trump vs. Clinton matchup in this fall's general election, Leibovich said he expected it to be as "dispiriting" as he has found the primary season thus far

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works at the institute.

Chicago (CNN)Mark Leibovich believes political reporters need to stop using words like "frustrated" and "angry" when referring to voters' support for GOP front-runner Donald Trump and start being far more blunt.

"One of my peeves is that the press always says, 'Oh, well, the voters are just frustrated and angry.' And they just use those stupid graveyard words over and over again. I mean, what we're talking about here in the Republican Party is, I would say ... racism, gullibility. I mean, words that are less flattering than frustrating and angry," Leibovich told CNN Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. "On the Democratic side, I think it's a pretty virulent anti-Clintonism."
    Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and author of the book "This Town," a blistering critique of the Washington political scene, said Trump has made "fools" out of numerous political pundits with his success to date.
    "There are a lot of fools out there that, you know, I've spent a lot of my career really kind of rolling my eyes at, and I assume you have, too, that he has kind of, I think, exposed," he told Axelrod.
    Leibovich, reflecting on his past interviews of Trump, described the GOP front-runner as an "uncurious" person.
    "The amazing thing about Trump is just he's one of the most intellectually uncurious people in the world," said Leibovich. "I mean, he just watches himself on TV all the time. I mean, it's a perfect kind of 'Truman Show' sort of situation, but he's the director."
    Leibovich also had harsh words for the leader in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton.
    "She's just not a very good politician," he said, noting, "You don't talk to a lot of people out there in either party who are really excited about her."
    "I think she's had a pretty lousy campaign so far ... I just don't feel like she's moved the needle on a lot of people."
    Looking ahead to a probable Trump vs. Clinton matchup in this fall's general election, Leibovich said he expected it to be as "dispiriting" as he has found the primary season thus far.
    "The really depressing thing about her and Clinton World is you look at Trump and you look at her and you say, 'OK, it's apples to oranges. This person is prepared. She's experienced. She knows the world.' ... And then you wake up November whatever and Hillary Clinton is the next president and, you know, a lot of America is feeling good that, you know, this menace has been left at the door," he said. "And then you wake up and you see, you know, Sid Blumenthal and Mark Penn and, you know, David Brock lining up to become senior advisers to the president. And you're like, 'Oh, this is what we're all feeling good about?'"
    To hear the whole interview with Leibovich, which also touched on how he got his start in journalism at the University of Michigan and in San Jose, his current project on the NFL, and much more, click on http://podcast.cnn.com. To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at http://itunes.com/theaxefiles.