Of course, The Trump is pretty much an obscure and neglected figure just now, so apologies for boring my few readers by doing yet another post about him. I mean, what is there to say about this little-known, reclusive, enigma?
OK, irony aside, I have genuinely tried to limit my comments on Mr Trump, if only because the blogging world surely already has an huge over-supply of opinion on the subject.
But that’s the Trump for you – he just won’t let you ignore him. Even if you want to, even if you’re not American and even you if live thousands of miles away from him and don’t get to vote on whether to put him in charge of your country for the next few years. Rampant attention-seeking is, of course, just part of a politician’s job, especially during an election, but he makes Kim Kardashian look shy and retiring.
So what do I think about recordings of his lewd remarks about a woman he worked with on TV coming out? Well, firstly, and boringly, no, that isn’t the way you should talk about or behave towards women; I’m not going to remotely try and defend what Trump said. However, there is, without doubt, the most colossal self-righteousness on this whole subject, particularly from the male commentators now lining up to condemn him , and this is particularly relevant to Trump because a lot of his popularity rests precisely on his willingness to challenge the norms of good behaviour and acceptable belief. As Bart Simpson once said of a popular rival in an old episode of The Simpsons, “He’s just a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules.” OK, “good-looking” for Donald Trump is pushing it, but the rebel playing by his own rules bit certainly applies.
What would have happened to me if I had been born rich, become richer and acquired media stardom along the way? Perhaps many things; but one likely outcome is that I would now be writing this without the benefit of a head, which would have fallen off through decades of having as much sex as possible with those women who are attracted to rich and famous men regardless of their many character and other defects. I’m not, morally, a better person than Donald Trump; just one who can’t get away with bad behaviour and outrageous public comments as easily as he can. And I don’t think I’m unusual in that either. A lot of people would have reacted to decades of fame and fortune exactly as badly as the Trump clearly has. Some actually do; look up Acquired Situational Narcissism as it applies to those who achieve fame. Specifically, a lot of men might have done exactly what he did.
I would hope I wouldn’t have gone down the road of borderline workplace sexual harassment to obtain my lascivious goals, but then, until earlier this week I would have hoped I wouldn’t get into an obscenity-laden shouting match with a stranger in a public place too. You can’t be sure what you will do until you get the chance. We should really stop pretending otherwise.
And, as I mentioned above, that is really the point of Donald Trump. The world is full of people, especially less well-off or powerful men, who given the protective blanket of wealth and power, might well indulge all their baser instincts and their nastier prejudices too. And somewhere deep down many of them know this and resent the social restraints that stop them doing it here and now. Donald Trump turns up and says “Aren’t all these restraints stupid? Watch me break them and get away with it. Vote for me and maybe you can too.” And that’s really the core of his appeal. He’s the candidate of the Id, far more than the Republican Party.
If you think that sounds like a fictional character, I’d agree. Just about every villain or anti-hero in fiction with a decent fan-base bases their appeal on doing just this; Donald Trump is what happens when this leaks out of novels and TV into reality. It’s perhaps not surprising that he was host of a reality TV show, where even the “reality” is fictionalised. If he now loses the US election for going too far, it will show that, even in a media-dominated era, there are still limits to behaving as if real life is fiction.
EDIT: Another point that’s occurred to me about Trump since I first posted this a week ago: why has it taken allegations that he sexually harassed women to (perhaps) cause his downfall? After all, there’s been ample evidence for months, most of it originating from his own mouth, that:-
- He’s unbelievably vain, narcissistic and self-important, even by normal political standards.
- He stands for policies that would probably ramp up international tension hugely, to the point of risking outright war if they were pursued hard enough.
- His motive for doing this is fairly clearly to appeal to racial prejudice and/or rampant nationalism among voters. A lot of right-wing politicians everywhere, of course, do that from time to time, but usually in covert ways. Trump is a lot more blatant about it and will toy with extreme lunacy like conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism that in Europe, even overt far-rightists like Nick Griffin or Le Pen would probably avoid (in public, anyway).
- He takes not giving a damn about other people’s views way, way beyond the level required for success in public life, and seems to revel in it. As mentioned above, he’s actually made doing this a big part of his appeal.
- He wears a ridiculous wig. That may sound petty (and it is), but believe me, if he’d been standing in a UK election his campaign would probably have been derailed by the hairpiece alone.
Everything about Trump, to me, screams, “I am as unstable and untrustworthy as hell and will proceed if electedto make as big a mess of America as possible, probably with a huge grin on my face whilst doing it (and undoubtedly with a bad wig on my head).” It’s like the real-life version of the plot in every cartoon or comic ever, where the bad guy gets elected as Mayor of Niceville and proceeds to make life hell for the hero(es). And he can shrug all this off, but not a receptionist claiming he shoved his tongue down her throat?
“People are strange” doesn’t begin to describe it.