(Author’s note: This post doesn’t intentionally support or criticize Donald Trump. It is a series of observations of the candidate, hopefully offering an interesting perspective. Torches and pitchforks should not be required.)
Having read or heard countless attempts to label Donald Trump, we still can’t answer the question. “Who is Donald Trump?”
Is Donald a liberal? No! Of course, he isn’t! Many of his public statements, however, have agreed with the far left. For example, Donald never fails to pummel George W. Bush, regarding the Iraq War.
Is Donald a Democrat? No! Of course, he isn’t! Nevertheless, Democrats seem to pray that Donald will win the Republican nomination, believing that he’ll be easy prey for the Democrat nominee. (Note: Be careful of what you wish for Democrats!) Donald was once a registered Democrat though he disclaims that registration. He has explained it as a one-time necessity for doing business in New York.
Is Donald a Republican? He says that he is. Well, sometimes, anyway. But each time he makes a politically questionable overstatement, the entire Republican elite class–including opposing candidates and party leaders–publically rebukes him. And, of course, the Donald periodically threatens to run as a third party candidate, if the Republicans “don’t treat me fairly.” Donald himself will be the sole arbiter of the word “fairly.”
Therefore, Donald must be a conservative. But that’s not quite right either. Many of his stated positions are contrary to conservative principles and conservative “thought leaders.” He certainly doesn’t fit the mold as an evangelical. Nor is he a resident of a flyover stale, as disdainfully described by President Obama as “clinging to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Since conventional labels fail in defining Donald Trump, perhaps we need to be more creative. For example, we might ask whether Donald Trump is a creation of the media. Or, as his supporters will ask rhetorically, “is he a man of the people?”
Though the media may not have created him, they certainly can’t get enough of him. Media people of every stripe seem to record and comment on every word, every speech, and reactions of crowds at every venue. They all take a position, for or against his latest eyebrow-raising statement. But few readers or viewers pay any attention to the media opinions. They only remember things like what he said about Hispanics or the need to ban Muslims from entering the US. Most politicians, pundits, and media people in both parties rebuke those positions, but Donald Trump couldn’t care less.
The Donald has created a new kind of politics. It works for him every time. It has several stages that have become effective and repeatable:
Stage One: The candidate makes a well-planned, bellicose, over-the-top statement.
Stage Two: The media gleefully reports it. Cable news stations may repeat the video fifty times. Or more.
Stage Three: The media compels individual responses from every other candidate.
Stage Four: The Donald’s spokespeople may trim or reposition the statement, telling the world what the candidate really meant. The candidate himself never apologizes of “walks back” any statements, though he may restate for clarity if public reaction appears to be negative.
Stage Five: The Donald’s supporters cheer. His covert supporters–people who secretly agree but won’t do so publically for fear of being politically incorrect–agree privately. Many don’t really care about the political position. But they’re disgusted with the current direction of the country, and cheer for someone who breaks up the status quo.
Stage Six: Donald Trump rises in the polls. Again.
My book “The Victory that Wasn’t” offers a fictional alternate history with a different kind of Military, and better outcomes for all Americans. It’s available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1GUL8oX