The Heart of Trump

 

Trump CarI’ve resisted writing about the Donald. The sheer absurdity of the man seems to make commentary pointless. Even Jonah Goldberg, who mixed it up with Trump last week over “pants-gate“, has a sort of weary regret in dealing with his badly coiffed arch-nemesis. The absurdity is heightened when you consider the quality of the Republican field in 2016. The GOP has some remarkable bench strength, a sharp contrast to the warmed-over leftovers being passed off by the Democrats.

Compare 2016 with any election cycle in recent memory and you’re spoiled for choice: Jindal, Walker, Perry, Rubio, Cruz and Bush are all very plausible candidates for the presidency. You may have your favorite — I have a certain fondness for Senator Rubio — but each are basically conservatives candidates that the party can rally around. Jeb Bush does have the establishment smell about him, to say nothing of that family name, but see him in a clear and unobstructed light and yes, he would make a decent Commander-in-Chief.

Now enter the Trump. Granted he has put immigration on the table, divorced of even a hint of political correctness, but there are ways of raising awkward subjects without being excessively offensive. We understand that cousin Fred has a drinking problem; throwing it out there in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner between the turkey and coleslaw isn’t really going to help matters. If Trump doesn’t get bored with pretending to run for President – I give it until September – then the Dems are going to have an awesome gaffe reel to play against the eventual Republican nominee next summer.

The gravity defying act that is the Trump campaign can be explained in three parts:

1) Name recognition. In an incredibly crowded field, everyone knows who Trump is. I had a friend who recently visited the interior of China. He was able find more than a few people who knew that Donald Trump was a very rich man in America. There’s a good chance that large swaths of Oklahoma are only vaguely aware that Ted Cruz is the junior Senator from Texas. That’s not a knock against the good people of Oklahoma, just a recognition that few follow politics that closely.

2) Rhetoric. There is little ideological consistency in Trump’s message. He’s a populist with a remarkable eye for the main chance. He tells people what they want to hear. Are we surprised to find that makes him kind of popular? From time to time he raises a useful point in a tactless way. That can have its value in an era where conservative politicians are extremely cautious, only too well aware that their sound bites are routinely turned into bigot pretzels.

3) Copy. Imagine that you’re a reporter. At this point in history, you’re likely questioning your career choices. Physical newspapers are dying. No one has quite figured out how to make money online. You have a sneaking suspicion that modern technology is making people dumber — so dumb that reading even the tabloid press will be too much effort in the near future. And you got into journalism with dreams of being Woodward and/or Bernstein. Your editor wants copy. Not good copy but interesting copy. The sort that might get picked up. Donald Trump appears to you like a loud blonde gift from the gods.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an excerpt from an interview he gave to the Washington Post:

Will immigration remain your focus?

No. It’s just one of the things. It’s not only immigration. It’s about trade. They go hand in hand. Immigration is one of the things you have to do. I’m also a moralist. You heard what I said today about health care. I said, I’m sorry, folks, but we have to take care of people that don’t have money. I know it’s not the conservative thing to say, but I got a standing ovation — and these were very conservative people. We can’t let people down when they can’t get any medical care, when they’re sick and don’t have money to go to a doctor. You help them.

So Trump has a heart?

A big heart, let me tell you. Too big.

You almost have to admire the man’s brio. There’s a certain charm about someone who really doesn’t give a damn what other people think. Someone who flaunts his absurdity as a badge of honor. You can easily imagine him half-winking at you and whispering: “You think I’m crazy don’t you? That’s what I want you to think!”

The whole time there is that Trump smirk. The arrogant knowledge that, as with his bankruptcies and divorces, he is going to get away with it again. Tens of millions in free publicity, the vanity ride of a lifetime and a brand that will glow sweetly to the far corners of the earth.

Crazy? Yes. Like a fox? Possibly.

There are 15 comments.

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  1. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Richard Anderson: If Trump doesn’t get bored with pretending to run for President – I give it until September – then the Dems are going to have an awesome gaffe reel to play against the eventual Republican nominee next summer.

    I don’t think this matters. Pretty much at all. Pseudodyonisius put up an interview of Trump in another thread. I’ll pull the same quote out:

    “I’m gonna sue them and I’m going to do very well. That’s what I do in life.”

    There were at least half a dozen things in that hour that you could seriously make fun of him for. If he kept up at that rate the media would never run out of things to make fun of him for. If he straightened up his act right now and acted the perfect angel the rest of the campaign, the media would never run out of things to make fun of him for. If he’d done nothing but groom himself for this campaign since 2012 (including not blatantly contradicting his own positions), the media would still never run out of things to make fun of him for.

    As long as he keeps that haircut he’s sunk. And even longer if he ditches it.

    That all applies to Trump. Will the media try to play it against a different nominee? Sure. Again though, I don’t think there’s one single thing the GOP could do to stop the media from asking blatantly biased and unfair questions.

    • #1
  2. Leigh Member
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    One concern I have about Trump is that as a “Republican” he might try to use — and thus give some credence to — some horrible lines of attack on the other candidates.  Like, for instance, that partisan indictment of Rick Perry, or the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin.  I’m pretty sure the other Republicans recognize those as the monstrosities they are and know better than to give credence to those bullies.  Not so sure about Trump.

    • #2
  3. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Richard Anderson:I have a certain fondness for Senator Rubio

    Well, if you have a fondness the person that Ann Coulter called “the Mount Vesuvius of lies” back in 2013, you certainly aren’t going to understand Trump mania.

    • #3
  4. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Your assessment of Jeb forgot to mention that he’s destined to lose to Clinton. His hubris is beyond the understanding of people who think he’s a decent candidate.   Supporting Jeb means president Clinton.   Bush/Clinton are close buddies and are both bought and paid for by Wall St.

    Trump is an a$$ and everyone knows it.  He will inevitably fade and all this fuss is comical.  I have far far  greater concerns about the GOP than Trump.  See first four sentences.

    • #4
  5. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Hank Rhody:

    Richard Anderson: If Trump doesn’t get bored with pretending to run for President – I give it until September – then the Dems are going to have an awesome gaffe reel to play against the eventual Republican nominee next summer.

    I don’t think this matters. Pretty much at all. Pseudodyonisius put up an interview of Trump in another thread. I’ll pull the same quote out:

    “I’m gonna sue them and I’m going to do very well. That’s what I do in life.”

    He certainly does bankruptcy well.  Just as someone said of Rush Limbaugh that ‘the man believes in marriage so much, he’s done it four times,” so can it be said of The Donald and his serial financial woes.  (Of course, I’m sure that’s all part of his brilliant plan to rule the world.)

    And it just might be his single most important qualification to be President.

    • #5
  6. Tennessee Patriot Member
    Tennessee Patriot
    @TennesseePatriot

    Trump may be the best candidate for the future we face. Who doubts America is nearing bankruptcy and will be facing it without strong measures that are unlikely to be taken? Trump knows more about bankruptcy than any candidate who has ever sought the Presidency and would know just what to do. It just makes sense.

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    Jonah Goldberg also wondered whether Trump could enter the FoxNews debates because filing financial disclosure is one of the pre-reqs. Not sure that The Donald wants to do that.  He would love a scenario where he exits but blames the GOP establishment and leaves the field as the field-leading voice of the regular guy–and better ratings for his next broadcast adventure.

    Trump is a buffoon who will be forgotten by the time the process gets serious.

    • #7
  8. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    We discussed in another location if the term “assclown” passes muster with the CoC. Redact it if you must, editors, but it’s the only term in the English language which even comes close to adequately describing the man.

    • #8
  9. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    The King Prawn:We discussed in another location if the term “assclown” passes muster with the CoC. Redact it if you must, editors, but it’s the only term in the English language which even comes close to adequately describing the man.

    AC Trump seems fitting.

    • #9
  10. Pseudodionysius Member
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    MC Trump “Can’t touch this”

    • #10
  11. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    The 1990s were a time in which we could survive a Reality Show White House a la The Kardashians. The next decade we cannot. There are real problems to be addressed and (1) there is no apparent Messiah in the race, and (2) the MSM is ready for a crucifixion of anyone without a (D) behind their name. Let us hope the clown show closes down before the primaries start in earnest and that Trump hasn’t created too much fodder for the general election campaign. Recall that Dukakis’ “Willie Horton” problem originated as negative campaigning by a primary opponent (Al Gore) before it was an issue in the general election. (Which is to say that Trump can cripple the Republicans even without becoming a third party candidate.)

    • #11
  12. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Pseudodionysius:MC Trump “Can’t touch this”

    How about “Can’t brush this”?

    • #12
  13. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    “Crazy? Yes. Like a fox? Possibly.”

    And a stalking horse for Hillary, taking all of the air out of the REpublican side of the building, making all the other Republican candidates look doddering by comparison.  What have we read about Bobby Jindal or Carly Fiorina this week?

    • #13
  14. Pseudodionysius Member
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Doctor Robert:

    And a stalking horse for Hillary, taking all of the air out of the REpublican side of the building, making all the other Republican candidates look doddering by comparison. What have we read about Bobby Jindal or Carly Fiorina this week?

    Have you read what Trump says about Hillary? Calls her a filthy liar and beats on her about the 30,000 flushed emails. At this rate, cankle tweets will be fired once an hour starting next week.

    • #14
  15. Pseudodionysius Member
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Pseudodionysius:MC Trump “Can’t touch this”

    J. D. Fitzpatrick:

    Pseudodionysius:MC Trump “Can’t touch this”

    How about “Can’t brush this”?

    Can’t flush this.

    • #15

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