Night of the Trumpasaurus

People like to be entertained. They love it. That’s  why big Hollywood stars make so much more money than the rest of us. It’s why football stars are paid such astronomical salaries.

Everybody likes a good show, which is what brings us to Trump.

Even now, there are still those who profess to be shocked that such a vulgar baboon and buffoon as Donald Trump could possibly be leading the pack of Republican presidential candidates (although fellow buffoon Ben Carson is said to be gaining). Why oh why would so many people cheer on this man who says so many horrible things one right after the other? What is wrong with America? Is what they say.

How can it be?

The  more seriously analytical and reflective answer to that question comes back with the answer that Trump reflects the rotting underbelly where all that is the worst in this country remains on high boil, creating a stew of hatred and intolerance that continues to spill over onto the body politic that seems only too happy to lap it up like a pack of starving imbeciles.

Too much? Yeah, I wondered about that too as I was writing it.

So how about this; Trump is great entertainment. Period. True, he is a sick, twisted individual who could probably benefit greatly from all sorts of therapy, but he is a sick and twisted individual who knows how to wield a mic and snatch the headlines far better than any of his opponents, and he is better at it because he is a natural entertainer. Remember Andrew Dice Clay? Same principal applies. The guy played to the lowest common denominator consistently, and he also played to sold-out stadiums.

Part of what made Clay so popular (until he wasn’t) was that he tapped into that same gutter vein as Trump for material, then managed to transform the contents of that gutter into gold. But what also made Clay so popular – and this is critical – was his delivery. Because imagine your neighborhood grocer delivering those same lines to an audience. Or your mother. Your little brother or sister. Chances are the jokes wouldn’t go over so well. That’s because it’s all in the delivery, and it’s also in knowing how to handle an audience.

Many, if not most, of the greatest politicians in our history were phenomenal entertainers. From Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan to John F. Kennedy to FDR to Teddy Roosevelt. Obama too. They all know how to read a room, and they are (or were) all masterful entertainers. Of course it helps to know a thing or two about foreign policy and the economy, but ultimately that doesn’t help enough it you can’t sell it.

No way am I going to predict how this all turns out in 2016, although I do now believe that anyone who still dismisses Trump as a long shot for the Republican nomination isn’t paying attention. Even certain opinion-shaping types in the New York Times is beginning to reach the same conclusion. But I will say that in the age in which we live, where attention spans are non-existent and hardly anyone reads anything deeper than a stop sign, it should come as little surprise that the candidate with the best show  will be the candidate you can’t take your eyes off of. And the candidate who can command that much media attention for any length of time will be the biggest threat.

It used to be the economy stupid. Now it’s who’s got the best jokes.



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Writer and musician.

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