Donald Trump held a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he merrily repeated a woman in the crowd. She called Ted Cruz a pussy. A day after that, Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide.
The immaturity of the moment was clearly visible, the glee Trump took in his „She said it, I didn’t” game. I mean, isn’t this a little too childish for someone his age? The media, which has grown being used to covering Trump as a sideshow, loved the moment along with him: it was funny! However, there is more than that. It was the front runner for the Republican nomination for president, showing off the demagogue’s instinct for amplifying the angriest voice in the mob.
Watching Trump is tremendously enjoyable. He’s red-faced, hilarious, angry, discursive, unpredictable and real. He speaks without filter and tweets with reckless abandon. He is a phenomenon and America’s most skilled political entertainer who puts the greatest show that we have ever seen.
Watching him is so fun and easy that it is easy to lose sight of how terrifying it really is.
He is the most dangerous candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he’s a racist, a sexist and a demagogue. Moreover, he is also a narcissist, a bully and a dilettante. He constantly lies and he is doing it so fluently that it is hard to know if he even realizes that he is lying.
Trump is in serious contentation to win the presidential nomination. His triumph in a general election is unlikely, but far from impossible. He’s not a joke and definitely not a clown. He is someone who could soon be making decisions of war and peace, who would decide which regulations are enforced and which are lifted. Moreover, he would be responsible for nominating Supreme Court justices and representing America in the community of nations. This is NOT political entertainment. This IS politics.
His path to power has been unnerving. His business is licensing out his own name as a symbol of opulence. He has endured bankruptcies and scandal by bragging his way out of them. He rose to prominence in the Republican Party as a leader of the birther movement. Oh and, did you know that he climbed to the top of he polls in this election by calling Mexicans rapists and killers? Not to mention the fact that he defended a poor debate performance by accusing Megyn Kelly of being on her period.
He also responded to rival Ted Cruz’s surge by calling for a travel ban on Muslims. When two of his supporters attacked a homeless man and said they did it because “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”, Trump brushed off the complaints that he’s inspiring violence by saying that his supporters are “very passionate”.
Regarding Trump’s success, it represents and unerring instinct for harnessing anger, resentment and fear. His view of the economy is entirely zero-sum.
“We’re going to make America great again, but we’re going to do it the old-fashioned way. We’re going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade. We’re going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis. It’s not going to happen anymore.” he said in his New Hampshire victory speech
When America’s rage shows, he responds with even more rage. As the journalist Molly Ball observed, “All the other candidates say ‘Americans are angry, and I understand.’ Trump says, ‘I’M angry.’”
Trump does not offer solutions as much as he offers villains. His message isn’t so much that he’ll help you as he’ll hurt them.
Trump also has another gift, one that gets less attention but is perhaps more important than others: his complete lack of shame. It is easy to underestimate how important shame is in American politics. However, shame is our most powerful restraint on politicians who would find success through demagoguery. Most people feel shame when they are exposed as liars, when their behavior is thought cruel or when respected people in their circle condemn their actions. Trump does not! He has the reality television star’s ability to operate completely without shame, which permits him to operate entirely without any kind of restraint. It is the single scariest facet of his personality. It is the one thing that allows him to go where others won’t, to say what others can’t and do what others wouldn’t.
He is not here to make friends. But the reason reality television villains always say they’re not here to make friends is because it sets them apart, makes them fun to watch.
“I’m not here to make friends. I’m not bound by the social conventions of normal people. The rest of us are here to make friends, and it makes us boring, gentle, kind.” Trump said
When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Trump about his affection for Vladimir Putin, who “kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries,” Trump replied: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”
Later, he clarified that he doesn’t actually condone killing journalists, but, he warned the crowd, “I do hate them.”
It is a fact that if you put the American political system in a room with Trump for long enough, we slowly lose track of how noxious he is, or we at least run out of ways to keep repeating it.
What is your view on Trump’s character and his actions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.