Monday, May 16, 2016

Week of 05/16/2016

My Problem With... Donald Trump
(Note: This is the continuation of the ongoing look at the candidates that make up the 2016 Farce.  Each of the “dominant” candidates will be examined.  The author will not entertain nor permit anyone to try to negate the focus of each candidate by saying “X is bad but Y is even worse” because they all are bad in their own way.  Each will have their turn to be examined and castigated, and you probably will not like it when it is your candidate’s turn.)
I have a problem with Donald Trump.
Readers of my column knew that I’d eventually get to this guy.  “The Donald”.  The “money man”.  The “deal-maker”.  The Ego.  The Fox News media personality.  The man who is the literal interpretation of the #nofilter hashtag.  The self-promoting clown act.  I couldn’t even possibly get into the whole mess with the 2016 Farce and not focus on Trump the Candidate at some point.
And, as the fates and fortunes of the universe would have it, I got to him not long after the big “revelation” that the two publicists that were really, really, *really* helpful to the media in answering questions about Trump... were, in fact, Trump himself.  Yes, the self-promoting clown act really was self-promoting back in the 90’s... or so the newspapers allege.
But I’m not really surprised by that kind of news.  Back then he was rich and he could afford to do it, and at least he knew what kind of information to feed the media to push up his exposure.
That’s why I’m not really surprised or outraged by what he’s had to say the past year.  Once you realize that this guy is a self-promoting clown act, then you know that he would say anything to get attention and to keep that attention on him.  In fact, one of the key reasons why I steadfastly refused to deal with anything connected to the 2016 Farce until this past December was because of things like this.
Of course Trump would come up with some outlandish idea for a “wall”!  Of course he’d say he’d kick out the Muslims simply for being Muslims.  Of course he’d say he’d do mass deportations of people that don’t “belong” here.  Of course he’d “solve” the so-called “bathroom issue” and require people to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”.  Of course he’d say all of the outlandish things that he could; not because he is really prepared to do them, but because he knows that this is what “the base” expects him to say!
You see, I get it.  I figured out the secret behind Trump’s political rock-star success.  It’s not about having the same values or supporting the same causes.  It’s saying the things that “the base” really want to hear.
All this time, whenever Trump would open his mouth and say something stupid, the media would say “Oh he’s done it now!  This is it, folks!  He’s finally crossed the line!  He’s done!  He can’t walk back from this!”  But then the masses love him even more, and he still wins primaries and caucuses, and the media and the party bosses and the self-professed political “experts” all slap their foreheads and they ask how that could be.
Think about it... all of those clowns in the GOP clown car!  Senators, members of congress, governors, doctors and former CEOs, even seasoned presidential wannabes have all fallen by the wayside.  Only Donald Trump, the one man who everyone wrote off as a novelty item and claimed would never win a single primary, is left standing and now (as of this article’s posting) is the presumptive nominee.  This thin-skinned mostly-unapologetic bloviating blowhard who uses his own name as a marketing brand is on the verge of becoming the next President of the United States of America!  How the hell did this happen?
Simple: because Trump the Candidate is not your typical presidential wannabe.
Trump is not trying to advance some party platform or some special interest agenda.  Instead, he’s selling “Trump the Candidate” to the GOP “base”, and he’s doing it by telling them what they want to hear.  He feeds their egos, which in turn feeds his own.
And make no mistake, folks, Donald Trump doesn’t just have an ego.  He has an ego that has its own publicist (itself) and probably runs a few of his businesses.  In fact, his ego is so large, it also has an ego, which also has a publicist and probably will be running a few other businesses in the Trump empire in the near future.
So he’s talking about building a wall between the United States and Mexico and getting Mexico to pay for that wall and kicking out all of the people here illegally (presumably after they build that wall) because that is precisely what the “base” wants done.  He wants to block anyone who is Muslim from coming to the United States because that is what the “base” wants done.  He wants everyone to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” because that is what the “base” wants to have happen.  He would promise a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot and that “all babies must eat” if he knew that it is what the “base” would expect him to promise.
Let’s get brutally honest here... the real secret to Donald Trump is that he is tapping into the very “base” of the GOP in a way that the party bosses would never consider.  This is the real core of the GOP, in all of their bigoted, biased, delusional, self-absorbed glory!
Everything you hear about Trump being bigoted and racist and sexist and xenophobic is really what you hear from the “base” of the GOP.  This is who they really are in newsgroups and social media and email groups.  This is who they are when they call in to talk radio shows and write letters to the newspaper editors.  This is what they tell each other when they’re at church functions and in the breakroom at their workplace and around the bar and at their local barbeque gathering.  I know this because I have heard it myself from their own mouths!
In fact, the whole “wall” issue could come straight out of a conversation between a bunch of half-drunk conservatives pissed off at the world.  “You know what?  We need to just put a whole stupid wall up on the border!  Yeah, that’s what we need to do!  We just need a huge wall from one end of Mexico to the other!  And then kick all of those damned ill-ee-guls out and never have them come back!  What?  Cost?  Screw that!  We’ll get Mexico to pay for it!  They owe us for the Alamo!”
That is what Trump is tapping into.  That is what he’s feeding, and, in turn, it feeds his ego and his ego’s ego.
And that is what the GOP bosses and party players have been afraid of all this time.  Because it’s one thing to have their unending support.  It’s another to have that be the reflection of who they really are.  Remember why they lost in 2008?  It wasn’t just because Barack Obama was seen as the better candidate; it was because they had Veep-wannabe Sarah Palin riling that very base up in all of their irrational, self-absorbed glory and having shown on the nightly news.  When you had that little old lady tell Senator John McCain “(Obama is) an A-rab” right in front of the media, you could feel the whole GOP hierarchy cringe, because that helped cost them the election.
And we can’t even blame this on former Governor Palin, because this goes back decades!  Remember Pat Buchanan?  He also appealed to that “base” that the GOP didn’t want to acknowledge, including some of the most polarized racist and bigoted and sexist groups out there.
And all that time, nothing was really done about that part of the GOP.  They just let it fester and stew and build.  They manufactured a whole pseudo-revolt called the “Tea Party” and used it to help get them back control of the Congress.  When they weren’t happy with John Boehner as Speaker, they used that base to push Boehner out and put in Paul Ryan, who didn’t want the job in the first place. 
All of this... led to Trump.
The thing is... this isn’t my problem with him.  He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last one to tap into that rude, crude, bigoted, and obnoxious segment of the American populace. 
I’m more concerned with what Trump the Candidate really would do should he actually become Trump the President.
We’ve seen first-hand the difference between what a candidate says they’d do and what they actually do when given the opportunity.  We know that Obama from the whole “Obama-mania” craze wasn’t the same Obama we ended up with once he was elected.  But with normal politicians, even someone like Obama, you had some inkling of what that person would do.  That’s not the case with Trump; because he is such a showman, you can’t really tell what he’s really like outside of that showman personality.  And what he claimed to support in the 80’s and 90’s when he was just a businessman is not necessarily what he would really represent today, especially after he’s been a regular media personality on Fox News and the talk radio circuit.
All these other things... Trump’s verbal tirades with Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, his pissing contest with Univision, his Twitter diatribes, his tantrum over his tax returns, all of these things are nothing more than diversions.  They’re ways to keep him in the news.  We need to know more about the man, and less about the show. 
The voters may be voting for “Trump the Candidate”, but we don’t elect a brand; even when that brand is a name.  We elect people.  Hopefully we’ll find out who that person is before we end up with buyer’s remorse.

1 comment:

Carrie Kube said...

His ego, desire to be the center of attention and his inability to admit when he's wrong is what scares me. When he has to put his money where his mouth is and put in a situation where his smoke and mirror will not work, what's he going to do?