The Donald Trump phenomenon: hidden meanings
“You could take the five major news networks and filter Jesus Christ, Buddha, Hitler, Stalin, Attila, Gandhi, and Lawrence Welk through them, and eventually you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference among them. They’d all come across in the same way. That, in fact, is the purpose of television.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
I have nothing against hope, but the brand of naïve hope that surfaces during every presidential election season is truly ridiculous.
Candidate after candidate lies through his teeth, and the people buy in.
Now some are saying The Donald is running to form a third party and thus hand the election to Hillary. Whereas the preferred alternative would be what? Prince Jeb? There’s a difference between Hillary and Jeb? Who’s kidding who?
Or they say The Donald is running to provide a safety valve, so the American people can blow off steam, but ultimately wind up with nothing to show for it.
If that were true, so what? Public despondency will set in? What grotesque political swamp-soup are we wading in now?
I approach this from a different angle.
Trump is unpredictable. He’s the only unpredictable presidential candidate in recent memory. That’s a major plus, because the press can’t do anything with him. They attack him on point A, and he responds with his own attack, or he replies with a non-sequitur, or he just changes the subject because he’s bored with the reporters.
He’s mentioning taboo subjects. Bring back tariffs on US imports. Get rid of inner city gangs.
He says something culturally and politically incorrect, and the press jackals go after him with flashing teeth and claws, fully expecting a take-down, demanding a grovel—and he shrugs—and his approval ratings go up.
Putting the press into the wall—this alone is a feat worth celebrating. Reporters want Trump to beone defined thing they can identify, and then they want to assault that…but he keeps shifting ground and juking and putting on new moves and faces. He drives them crazy.
And the crowds at his speeches are building. Maybe he’ll fill a football stadium one of these days.
What brings the people out? They sense he hasn’t got a script. They love that. They think he’s a different breed from Politician 1-A Normal. They love that, too.
The press hates that.
Right now, The Donald is all throwaway lines—and that’s good. If he resorts to analysis, the press will bring on an army of experts to refute him “on the facts.”
Megyn Kelly thought she’d make a bigger name for herself by trumping the Trump, and instead helped power his new numbers-busting popularity. Another defeat for the press.
When it comes to election campaigns, you have to understand that the job of the media is to grind down every candidate to a small series of meaningless truisms.
The press wants empty generalities. They want android candidates in the debates. They want to make a possible something into nothing.
This is a form of intended political correctness that goes largely unnoticed.
Trump has broken the mold. Therefore, he must pay. But…it’s not working. Not so far. Something in the machinery has gone wrong.
Trump has triggered a response in an audience who feels they’ve been bottled up and straitjacketed for far too long. They’ve been seething and straining. They can’t say this, they can’t say that. And they can’t look to presidents for solutions. Presidents spout rhetorical bullshit.
And then a man shows up who seems to feel the same way they do and isn’t afraid to say so.
The press doesn’t know what to do. Every line they feed Trump, in an effort to slam him, becomes the occasion for one of his comebacks that carries the day.
Trump doesn’t use filler. He improvises. He doesn’t play fast and loose behind the scenes; he does it right out in the open.
Worst of all, the media, for decades, built up the image of Trump. He was great copy. His hair, his marriages, his business deals, his scandals, his greedy eagerness for self-promotion.
Now here he is, and he can’t be cast off like an old suit. He’s front and center.
Presidential campaigns ARE the press. That’s the way it’s been for decades. Campaigns are media events manufactured out of slime you’d sue the city for if it bubbled up in your back yard.
The press takes the slime and lies and packages them into neat little products and puts them in front of television viewers. The press runs the campaigns and wins every election.
But right now…a monster has showed up.
Making a joke out of him doesn’t help, either. People laugh, but the laughs are becoming with-Trump rather than at-him. So what if he’s a self-serving cartoon? Isn’t all presidential politics a cartoon?
You can be sure the foul stench-ridden execs at the major networks are trying to figure out how to torpedo Trump. They’re in a dither. This is supposed to be their presidential campaign, not his. They own the franchise. But he’s ripping huge chunks out of their hides.
Is it possible they could unearth some horrendous cheating scandal from Trump’s past, expose it to the sky, and then watch Trump nod and say, “Yeah, I screwed up, so what?”—and his ratings would jump another ten points? Yes, it’s possible.
Regardless of the issues coming to the fore in this presidential season, the real issue, as always, is the press itself. That’s not supposed to be noticed, but more and more people are noticing it. And because they instinctively hate the powdered and coiffed anchors with their presumptive attitudes, every time Trump hits a home run against one of these smug bloodless motherfuckers, it’s an occasion for great glee.
Trump is doing much more than gaining ground on the other candidates; he’s attacking the whole framework of the Show.
He’s sawing off the pillars of the studio sets. He’s slapping the faces of the news hosts. And as the ultimate insult, he’s lifting their ratings.
An interview with Trump isn’t an interview. It’s a circus. He’s essentially saying, with every breath he takes, “See, audience, see this whole charade, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Why should I agree to their terms? Why should I consider these doofus Demo-Repub media mouthpieces are any better than I am or you are? Watch me crack the illusion of television. It’s fun. Let’s kick some high-priced ass together…”
On the media front, it’s looking like Trump is too big to fail. The only thing the networks can do is try to shut him out. I’m not sure that’s going to work. He’s cranked up too much visibility jizz.
On the Disney spectrum of personality, Trump is Scrooge McDuck with some Goofy thrown in, plus a slice or two of Mickey Mouse’s good will. But then there is also a piece of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a clump of Ralph Nader (Nader would hate to admit it), a splash of Salvador Dali, and a passable imitation of Ronald Reagan.
Let the press try to reduce that down to a mainstream presidential candidate.
The television medium, in particular, sets itself up to accommodate the lies candidates tell. It builds studios and lights them for those lies and empty promises. It provides camera angles to feature those lies. It hires hosts and moderators who will facilitate the candidates who lie.
But even all this is not enough. The networks set themselves up to offer a style of lying. Candidates are expected to deploy all sorts of hollow, sanitized, and familiar phrases. They’re expected to affect a fake sense of passion. They’re prompted to offer some fake “new beginning,” as if no other candidate has ever tried that before.
Through these mechanisms, the viewing public is conditioned to expect predigested soulless corporate PR and accept it.
This, as much as anything else, is the death of modern politics. It’s bright grinning groomed zombie android death.
Any man or woman who can come along and punch a gaping hole in that illusion is a threat to the Big Sleep.
Trump is warming to the job.
Could he win the election? It’s hard to fathom it. But again, consider his crooked business past against the crimes of the Bush and Clinton families. In those terms, Trump is a mere piker.
But right now, he’s providing another service. He’s cracking the media egg. And any presidential candidate who even mentions laying on protective tariffs and getting rid of gangs is outdistancing Queen Hillary or Prince Jeb.
Trump is trying to roll crazy sevens and elevens. Hillary/Jeb roll snake eyes every time.