Donald Trump isn’t Running for President, He’s Running a Publicity Tour

The further we get into this political cycle, the harder it is to believe he still has people thinking he’s a candidate people take seriously. I really can’t tell if he believes his own bullshit or the whole thing is an elaborate put-on. There is nothing about this campaign that is serious. It’s rallies, speeches, public appearances and noise, a symphonic cacophony of vacuous empty promises.  All one needs to do is compare serious candidates to this circus freak and it becomes quickly obvious that Trump is a train wreck waiting to happen or simply an attention junkie who has built up such a tolerance to people sucking his figurative dick that the only thing left that can satiate his glory-addled ego at this point is to take his sideshow act to center stage. It baffles the imagination to think how will–if I may–trump this for his next attention fix.

Political Positions

Trump doesn’t have any. Ok, that’s not fair, he has one.  One fucking position, and we’re supposed to believe he takes the role of President seriously? Trump once complained about the cost of the Healthcare.Gov website, claiming he could do it for $3. Judging by his site, that may have been its actual budget.
This is what a serious candidate‘s issues page is supposed to look like. Or this. In fairness, Scott Walker is the worst, with exactly no issues (But a hell of a selection of merchandise, so there’s that). But Trump has him beat there, too.
Bush’s website is a mess, with a chaotic and confusing melange of issues, pledges and accomplishments, blended in an exotic and dizzying concoction guaranteed to confuse. To his credit, his shopping page is my favorite, not just for the stylish decision to go with muted colors and graphic designs, but mostly for the absurdly incongruous decision to plant a guaca bowle–No, I’m serious, click that–smack dab into the middle of it. I will give Jeb bonus credit for making me actually bust out laughing. I actually stopped scrolling just to marvel at it. The only Republican candidate who seems to be taking this election seriously is Carson, whose website may have a sparse and drab design, but unlike other Republican candidates, actually has a list of the candidate’s actual positions. I am seriously starting to change my mind about his chances.
I know this section was supposed to be about Trump’s positions, but it’s hard to build off of “Fuck everybody, especially the Mexicans. We need to be bigger assholes than we already are.”

Public Appearances

Trump doesn’t hold campaign rallies, he holds Narcissus parties.  When you see Trump among the crowds, he isn’t meeting the people he wants to represent and serve, he’s basking in their adoration. Where real candidates give speeches and talk about their plans and policies, Trump gets up and bloviates about how great he is, boasts that he can do anything, drops a few racist comments and doubles down if anyone expresses dismay. He’s not a presidential candidate, he’s an embarrassingly drunk uncle at a wedding reception.
Then he goes down to the crowds and deigns to let them bask in his awesome glory, unwittingly thankful that not a single person in the crowd has actually stopped to think about how borderline incoherent every Trump speech–and I use that term loosely–is, because actual speeches are organized thoughts. Trumps are rambling, stream of consciousness rants and tirades. The next time you hear Trump speaking on the campaign trail, close your eyes and actually listen to what he’s saying and ask yourself if it makes a whit of sense.

Substance

Trump has none. He has no character; he is the character, even a caricature. I suspect he’s a deeply insecure man, judging by how sharply and, disproportionate his response is to any perceived slight. If I had to guess, he spends so much time telling everybody how great, powerful, smart, strong, competent, and rich he is because deep down inside he’s an empty shell of a man who doesn’t really believe it himself.
Great men don’t go around telling people how great they are, those are marketers. Great men go out and do great things, and I’m sorry, but building a failed casino and lots of golf courses doesn’t make you great. It makes you a land developer. Trump doesn’t even own most of the properties his name hangs on; after spending the 80’s promoting himself and turning his surname into a brand, he now licenses his name out to companies hoping to use it to attract business.  Trump is like National Lampoon, a fitting comparison. Once a tangible entity but now primarily just a licensed brand. His boasts that he is the largest developer in New York are empty; that honor likely goes to the Durst organization.
Trump’s greatest pledge, after “we will kick all the Mexicans out and then build a wall to keep out the manual laborers we need to erect it” is that he will “make America great again.” If you think about it, this is an unusual position for a presidential candidate. Traditionally, candidates talk about how great this country is, they don’t run on the slogan “if elected, I will clean up this shithole you call a country.”

Strategy

Trump has none. He’s not targeting any demographics, he’s not trying to select key states on which to focus his energies to seek the necessary votes to win, he is just running around the country boasting of his prowess, how each of his (dubious) accomplishments are the greatest of their respective kinds, and making America great again. Not as great as Trump, because Trump is super incredible great, but pretty great. The kind of great that would make America worthy of hanging around Trump. His one political position has alienated most of the Latino vote crucial to winning key states like Florida, Texas and California. He lost the rest when he treated one of the most respected men in journalism and an icon among Hispanics like his lawn boy. It is telling and ominous for the success of a Trump bid that the remaining press immediately turned on him, forcing him to lie to them that he had nothing to do with ejecting Ramos (He can clearly be seen turning o security with an angry glare and saying “go ahead”). He promptly surrendered, the only time I’ve ever seen him publicly back down. He has since declared war on Fox. If I were to come up with a name for a strategy that consisted of pissing on the media,  it would be “Little Bighorn.”
He doesn’t have a plan for winning votes, he just figures he can sell himself to enough voters to become the leading brand. It’s fun to watch in this irrelevant phase of the primary season, but as caucuses and votes draw closer, people will start paying more attention and once the press really starts digging into him, he will regret having treated them like the help during this meaningless honeymoon period.

Qualifications

Trump has none. At least, not to be President of the United States. He has been forced out of control of his companies 4 times, each after nearly running them into the ground. Why do you think he spends so much time on Fox and Friends and working as a game show host? Although he lost that job–it was taken by an immigrant. He has no political experience and no experience working within a framework of limited government. While he insists he would be a great president, you have to keep in mind this is a man who claims he has military experience because as a boy he went to a school where he dressed up in uniforms and marched up and down the square.
He has no foreign policy experience and, in fact, may have negative foreign policy experience. One need look no further than his cavalierly demeaning statements about Asia, specifically China and Japan. When he says things like he would feed the leader of China McDonalds hamburger, not a state dinner, when he boasts “When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time,” when he mocks Asians with a Mr. Yunioshi accent, Trump is proving he’s not ready for prime time. China and Japan do not cower before boisterous and crude displays of machismo, they find it vulgar, repugnant and insulting. China and Japan respect respect. The Chinese have already dismissed him. saying “We understand that in the United States every person has the freedom to make all kinds of comments. But for the Chinese government, we pay even more attention to the U.S. government’s policy towards China and mainstream U.S. public opinion.” While that language may seem mild, the Chinese speak in nuance. Translated into American, they said “this dickhead is never getting elected anyway, so who gives a flying fuck what the silly asshat thinks.” You have to admit, the Chinese say it better.

———–

I still can’t figure out if Trump is just trolling us all, stroking his ego, or actually delusional enough to think he’s qualified to be President. In any case, this isn’t a presidential campaign in any legitimate sense of the word. I just don’t see any realistic scenario where Donald Trump can hold this artificial “lead” for the duration. He’s entertainment.
In the movie Private Parts, Stern’s popularity is explained by his outrageous behavior: “I want to see what he’ll say next.” This is the Trump appeal. And it’s fun in these dry months before the real race begins.
I confess I am enjoying the hell out of watching him preen and strut about; a loud, hollow man, armored in an expensive suit and endless clamor of braggart and blarney, the adulation of fans he despises, the rage of people who see this would-be emperor has no clothes. For the moment, the freak has taken over the circus, but it will not last. I suspect he doesn’t care either way. This was never about becoming President. This is and was–like everything in his life–always about Trump: The Brand.

Share This:

Comments are closed.