NOT MORE TRUMP!!!!
Surely he has said enough to land him with a thump
The utterly ridiculous, annoying Donald Trump.
But when you have at your command a billion bucks or more
It doesn’t matter what you say, you’re too rich to ignore.
It’s just a little more than a month since I last blogged about Donald Trump – and, like many others, I assumed that I would not need to return to that subject. I quoted a number of satirists who saw him as a bad joke, a clumsy clown, a rich buffoon with nothing to motivate him except a monstrous ego – a perfect example, in fact, of the difficulty in these times of distinguishing between the satire and the reality.
Now, if I am to be current in my coverage of satire, I must come back to Trump. Every day the media, especially television, is agog with more examples of his outrageous sayings, such as his denying that John McCain is a war hero because he let himself be captured. Surely that would sink him in the polls. On the contrary, he went into the first TV debate on Fox News leading all other Republican presidential candidates. And in that debate, challenged by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on past gross characterizations of women, he fought back with an insult that many interpreted as referring to her menstrual period (which he hotly denied). This, along with several other intemperate, blustering assertions during and after the debate, ensured that he would continue to be easily the favorite target of cartoonists and satirists on television, on line, and in print.
Cartoonists were besides themselves, depicting Trump as bigoted, stupid, and weird – but most of all as a magnet for the media: he is shown offering a bone and saying “Here boy!” to an enthusiastic media, and even being endorsed by the editorial cartoonists’ association.
All of the late night hosts joined in – though their jokes seem rather tame in the light of day, so for something more biting we may have to wait until Stephen Colbert begins his new stint next month. For now Colbert begs Trump to take care of himself and not drop out too soon, and says that meanwhile he is “dry-Trumping.”
The Onion offered Trump bragging about his monopolizing the news. “How many articles have you read about Ted Cruz lately?” He’s leading the Republican field bya wide margin’ despite the fact that “I’ve already alienated America’s largest immigrant population, seen dozens of my high-profile business deals implode one after another, and publicly insulted a national hero’s military service, all while not offering a singe viable policy idea. But none of that matters at all…because none of you can look away. Nor even for a second. Admit it… You people want to see just how far this goes, don’t you…..I’ve got you eating out of my hand and I haven’t even released a single campaign commercial yet.”
The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz did offer a specific Trump policy proposal. If elected he would defeat ISIS with “broad and relentless attacks on Twitter.”
Maureen Dowd admitted in her New Yorker column that she was rather enjoying the show. “There are too few operatic characters in the world”, and Trump is “gleefully offensive and immensely entertaining, a high chair king in the Great American Food Fight.”
Yet the remarkable, truly absurd aspect of the entire Trump phenomenon is not so much Trump himself: there are plenty of boorish clowns like him, but they don’t have the billions to attract attention. Andy Borowitz noted in another column, Trump, “having shocked the American people by being considerably more heinous than they had previously thought…is now the choice of 70% of Republican voters.”
This, of course, is satirical hyperbole. Currently the polls measuring support for Trump vary between 18 and 24 per cent. But imagine that: this crude, gross, blundering dolt actually attracts close to a fifth of the presidential preferences of the supporters of one of America’s two major parties(even though many of them don’t expect him to be the nominee).
In previous blogs I have mentioned major political figures in other democracies who seem to cross the line separating reality from absurdity. But Trump, and his ability to appeal to large numbers of voters, is an especially egregious example of how the defects of our political system can be stretched beyond the limits of the ridiculous.