So, Donald Trump’s over-the-top rhetoric dramatically escalated since I wrote the following piece. Even his amusing personality isn’t really funny to me anymore.
I have a confession to make: I love Donald Trump. As a minority who has historically leaned left, this wouldn’t seem to make much sense. Most people I know hate Trump. Most liberals I know despise him. Ironically, despite his reactionary tone that feels more like a throwback to an era of the popular fascist dictator, I think he’s a breath of fresh air. Now, as a caveat—before I lose all credibility with my friends and family—the thought of an actual Trump presidency does terrify me. But based on his unfavorability numbers alone—60% among the entire US population—I can’t see him actually being sworn in as the next president of the United States. This gives me space to enjoy what I’m witnessing.
As with any cultural phenomenon, articles are hot off the press mansplaining why the success of Donald Trump, success contrary to 100% of prognostications eight short months ago, when Donald Trump entered the race. Explanations center on the cult of personality, people’s anger towards the establishment, and a somewhat ironic theory that American’s have an inclination for authoritarianism. Maybe I’ve fallen victim to the cult of personality—and that’s probably impossible to remove from what I’m going to say—but there’s more nuance.
Donald Trump is hilarious. It’s real time, raw, unedited. In a sense, better than actual comedy due to its sheer unpredictability and misplacement of setting. This isn’t supposed to be happening on the presidential stage—and it is. My cynical, long-story-short summary would be: life is boring, this is exciting! Why not? Presidential politics is dominated by old stuffy elites with ancient texts. They flip to the corresponding chapter to enlighten us on why a presidential cycle mimics what happened in 1960, or 1972, or 1980. Trump? He strong-arms them into feeding that archaic text into a giant paper shredder. There is zero precedent for The Donald’s domination. I’ve always joked about having a longing for an alien arrival, mainly for the excitement. Talk about being snapped out of your daily routine and experiencing something outside the realm of the predictable. Donald Trump is the closest thing to experiencing an alien invasion. The experts are looking at each other, dumbfounded, writing the rules as they go. Nobody knows what will transpire next. It’s exhilarating. It’s scary. It’s fun.
Now I know many people do not think this is funny at all. And my better inclinations should encourage me to feel the same. This man has openly broadcasted some downright scary, fantastical, and borderline racist overtones. But honestly, I just don’t take him that seriously. He was basically a liberal very recently and doesn’t have steadfast convictions. He just doesn’t. He’s malleable and chooses sides as he goes. He likes to entertain the crowd and spew whatever he thinks makes sense in that given moment. It’s just stream of conscience improv with a steady diet of Trump slogans mixed in. He’s already softened stances on numerous controversial statements. Whether it’s a calculated shift to a focus on the general election or not (nobody can be sure), the billionaire mogul has been singing the praises of compromise and give-and-take, extolling the virtues of not keeping a hard line. In the last debate I think he flat-out said he changed his mind on a previous position at least three times. But listen. On top of all of this, he couldn’t accomplish 25% of what he’s preaching, anyways! For one, most of the prescribed action in his tough talk is illegal. There are things in America called laws and checks and balances, which, I guess ironically, are designed to obstruct absolute rule by a dictator. The blustering Donald Trump on the campaign trail would be neutered in office.
Maybe I’m wrong about this. Maybe I’ll look back at this little writing and marvel at my own ignorance and poor analysis when we’re in World War III against China and it looks like Mad Max and the Walking Dead in the streets of Denver. But I don’t think that’ll happen. In the meantime, I’m not sensitive and don’t join the fake outrage clan every time a controversial statement is made. I tend to think racist comments in 2016 are more funny than anything (maybe I’m too desensitized). And I still don’t think Donald Trump is an actual threat to take the White House. So, I’ll be eating my popcorn, laughing and enjoying the spectacle. Let’s make America great again!