The red-faced blowhard at the end of the bar (see my September 2015 post, ‘Trumped Up’) has won the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States. He traded on TV celebrity, brashness, and a genius for saying in blunt terms what a lot of people (including the other candidates) were thinking, but were shy about saying. The Trump (promoted from his media moniker, ‘The Donald’) was never shy. Indeed, his outgoing, plain-speaking, off-the-cuff manner is the secret of his appeal to Everyman (though somewhat less, perhaps, to Everywoman). He can say the most outrageous things, and no one can determine whether he is really means them, or is just throwing chips onto the fire. He quickly knocked his opponents off-balance in the cattle-show ‘debates’, and his growing legion of followers loved it; the other candidates never recovered.
In the process, he managed to insult practically everyone in the Republican Party. Many, such as the Bush family, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, et al., pushed to the sidelines by the Trump circus, sit in sullen resentment, while others, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, offer less-than-enthusiastic support. Still the campaign draws huge crowds of cheering, chanting, fans. Despite the media harping on The Trump’s misteps (like his foolish put-down of the Democrat’s programmed Good Moslem, who lost a son in Iraq, but is also an Islamic operative), an apparently amateurish approach to campaign organization, and dire polling numbers, The Trump remains viable, at this early stage, and has the potential to draw upon millions of ‘silent-majority’ Americans dismayed by eight years of the crypto-socialist Obama: the disappearance of good jobs, the wildly-escalating costs and inefficiencies of health-insurance, a weakened military leading to defeat and chaos on the world stage, traditional morality ripped apart by ideologues and courts, and the destruction of the civil society in the Democrat-run cities, leading to murder and riots and the prospect of race war.
The Trump also managed early on to display an appalling ignorance of world and national affairs. When someone who grew up during the Cold War does not recognize ‘the Nuclear Triad’, you know he has been leading a strangely insulated life. But ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity. The Trump is glib, often ill-informed, but not stupid. He has lived in different worlds from those of us who even idly follow political affairs: first a world of big-time real-estate development, managing a succession of increasingly large-scale enterprises started by his father and continued now by his children; and second, the world of entertainment, where he traded on an ebulliant, larger-than-life persona to create a TV show.
The first world interests me more, though the second may account for much of his popularity. There are not many of us who would have a clue how to evaluate the market potential of a sky-scraper office or apartment tower, or a vast resort complex, nor would we know how to manage their construction and operation. Donald Trump does. It is quite revealing to see him in his element, as he was in Senate testimony in 2005, where he presents a devastating critique of bureacratic ineptitude and likely corruption in United Nations planning to renovate their headquarters building in New York City:
You can find the complete hearing, with speeches from the participating Senate members HERE.