It seems pretty obvious to me, for better or worse, that Donald Trump is the biggest thing in the news today, especially in the US. Love him or hate him he is everywhere. No matter what he does he makes headlines and even though it seems most people in the media seem to hate the guy, they can’t stop writing about him. Even if it is for all the wrong reasons the guy is news. Every one from the media to sports stars are weighing in on the matter and it seems there is something new about him every day. My Facebook news feed, much to my chagrin, is filled with his name.
Currently, much of my time is taken up with enjoying my life and my travels, so I haven’t really been following the whole thing much. But even for me it is impossible to be completely ignorant of all his shenanigans. I don’t agree with much he says really. I find his racist bent and his aggressive and offensive manor is downright ridiculous. But perhaps that is the point. Regardless of my personal opinion of the man and his antics, I’ll be the first to admit I am not convinced he is actually the aggressive racists ass he makes himself out to be. I do believe Donald is a smart guy and he knows exactly what he is doing.
As such, I am not really convinced his run for president is a serious thing. It’s still early in the process and I don’t think a large majority of American voters are actually taking it seriously either. For now it’s all just a show. When it gets closer to primary time, I don’t think he will really be taken seriously. If he actually wins the primary Ill be shocked, and truthfully extremely worried for our country, but I still do not believe that is going to happen. If his run is not actually about being president, then what is it about? So far, I have two thoughts on the subject.
The most popular theory is that Mr. Trump is just trolling the Republican Party[i][ii]. By going over the top with much of the hate and fear filled rhetoric that has, in many ways, come to characterize the Republican party since the most recent Bush administration, he has managed to make the whole party look stupid, or at least more so then was already the case in many people’s eyes. Despite the best efforts of many within the party, with every racist, fear filled, isolationist proclamation he makes, he does a little more damage to the whole parties image.
If that is the case, the question become why. What benefit would Mr. Trump get from essentially digging the party into a hole that they will have very little chance of climbing their way out of before the presidential race really even starts. The obvious answer is that he wants someone else to win, Perhaps Mrs. Clinton, and by torpedoing the opposition before they can even get started significantly improves the chances of that happening. A quick Google search reveals this very scenario has been reported on by numerous large media outlets, including CNN[iii]. Jimmy Fallon asked him that very question in his recent interview with Mr. Trump. He does have a history of support for the Democrats, especially the Clintons, though this support comes largely in the form of donations to charity organizations. If this is the truth, it’s a pretty ballsy move and I cant help but wonder what he will end up getting out of it all, though I am not convinced this is the case.
On the other hand, even if he doesn’t get a single vote in the primary, his name will have become one of the most well known in the world. In terms of brand recognition, Trump is now one of the most widely recognizable names around the world. I have seen his name in newspapers in Vietnam and Thailand. I have been asked my opinion on him by people from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Europe. No publicity is bad publicity as they say and when I think about it in this manner, I can’t help but be impressed. It is the most brilliant publicity stunt of our era. It makes Kim Kardashian’s antics look armature. Regardless of what happens, the Trump name is now one of the most recognizable names worldwide, and for that I have to take my hat of to him. I also can’t help but laugh because the people who seem to hate him the most are the ones shouting his name the loudest. When looked at from the perspective of a brand recognition publicity stunt, it’s downright genius.
My issue with the whole thing is this: By using the presidential campaign as the platform for this publicity stunt, or what ever it is, he is making our whole country look stupid. His inflammatory and racist remarks don’t just make the news in the US, they make the news all over the world. I am aware that Trump is not the only prominent figure gaining popularity by spouting this sort of nonsense, but none of them are running for President of the US. Now I’ll be the first to admit I have never really been involved in politics, so I am far from an expert on the matter, but I do think I have seen enough in my travels to know that our position in the world is already slipping and this sort of hugely public dog and pony show is not helping our cause in the least.
I just hope something good will come out of it all. I, and many of my generation who I have spoken with, have always sort of felt our political system is essentially rigged, and that regardless of who is running it’s essentially two sides of the same coin. Perhaps I am just getting older and wiser, but thanks partly to Mr. Trump’s theatrics I have begun to take it all much more seriously. Perhaps others will do the same and our lackluster participation rate[iv][v] will take a turn for the better. My main hope is that what this whole episode will do is to take our country, which it seems to me has become hugely and in and many ways aggressively divided, and help to bring us back together.
Perhaps that is actually Mr. Trump’s mission, to give our country something like a common enemy in which we can rally against. Perhaps, rather then seeking just to make a mockery of our political system, he is actually trying, in his own way, to deliver a wake up call to our fracturing nation. After all, united we stand, dived we fall.
I would love to hear other’s views on the subject. Do keep it respectful though. I welcome and encourage differing views, but I will not tolerate hate.