Some people misunderstand my relationship with Donald Trump. I think he’s a privileged asshole who doesn’t care about anyone except Donald Trump.
I also think he’s astute in his marketing and I’ve worked with the kind of pollsters that businesses buy and they sneer at the politicals. They work with much larger samples so the demographics are at least 95% confidence (Want to slice them finer? Get a bigger sample.). They are not Frank Luntz faux focus groups (there is a whole other art to that I’ll maybe tell you about someday).
Anyway this has less to do with the accuracy of metrics than it does to Trump’s ability to spot an under served market and fill it.
In this case the market is true Teabagger Republicans, the ones that genuinely hate government nearly as much as they hate the Mexicans and other unworthies and think they’ve been disenfranchised and betrayed by their elected representatives.
And this is what I think is the true Trump appeal, the willingness of even the Reds to revolt. He throws them meat on occasion whether he means it or not. He’s an actor (or a con man, but they’re basically the same). On other things he is remarkably libertarian for which they fault him not at all. This is because he is expressing their fundamental rage with the current regime and refusing to apologize for it. They feel the Villager Media is completely corrupt (except Faux) thus their genuine outrage at the poor treatment Trump is getting (including Faux). I think this is a great development.
Trump has shut down the Republicans and exposed the also rans as the corporatist shills they are. I’m not sure they can ever recover and there’s no reason for him to quit. He’s running a remarkably frugal campaign based on free coverage. As long as the polls don’t get embarrassing and they sure aren’t yet, why stop?
I say to you, dismiss Trump at your peril. Consigning him to the ‘Entertainment’ section does you no credit at all, it merely highlights how badly you’ve missed the point. Even idiots like E.J. Dionne are starting to get it (the most pretentious piece I’ve read in a while).
The Donald Trump show: 24 hours with the Republican frontrunner
by Paul Lewis, The Guardian
Tuesday 18 August 2015 06.00 EDT
“Fifteen series of The Apprentice has made Trump a polished television performer,” Stone says. “If you look at the show he looks like a decisive, tough leader, in the high-back chair, perfectly lit, perfectly made-up, making decisions.”
Stone, who used to work for Ronald Reagan, recalls how in 1980 a reporter asked the then presidential candidate how an actor could possibly occupy the White House. Reagan replied: “How can a president not be an actor?”
Stone adds: “The voters don’t distinguish between reality TV and politics.”
To the extent to which it can be summarised into a coherent narrative, it is that America is in decline, losing jobs and industry to China and Mexico, and losing oil to the Middle East. Barack Obama is stupid. The other presidential candidates are also stupid, or boring.
They’re all controlled by wealthy donors who pay for their campaigns and are the dark forces pulling the strings. Money is the real puppet-master in America, and Trump knows this because he’s rolling in it, and he’s been controlling politicians all his life.
Now only Donald Trump, a smart, successful, property tycoon and TV celebrity so rich he is beholden to no one, can fix the problem. He will bring jobs, take care of veterans and the elderly, and be the most militaristic person in the room.
The audience loves every second of it, especially those parts that parody the political establishment, such as when Trump does an impression of a stiff politician. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says, in the mock drone of a monotone politician. His shoulders are hunched, his eyes squinting at an imaginary script near the podium. “Hello,” he says. There are howls of laughter.
“You don’t want a scripted president!” he tells them, as people rise to their feet for a standing ovation and the loudest applause of the night. As the crescendo builds, he adds: “And you don’t want a politically correct president!”
For decades presidential contenders have been coming to the fair to eat corn dogs and slap the backs of farmers, but veterans of the festival will say they’ve never seen anything quite like the pandemonium sparked when Trump turns up.
He is supposed to visit a life-sized cow carved out of butter, but his entourage quickly realise it will be impossible to make a path through the mob. Instead, for close to an hour, Trump and the crush of people around him just meander through the fair in the searing heat.
People are laughing and reaching forward to shake his hand or take his photo. They shout things like “We Love You Donald” and “Bring It Home Donald” and “Money, Money, Money, M-o-ney”, the tune of The Apprentice theme song.
It takes five minutes for a Guardian reporter to squeeze through the scrum and ask a question. “You said voters don’t care about policy. Why do you say that?”
Trump looks tickled. “The voters know I have good decision-making abilities,” he says. “They trust me.”