A guy I play hockey with on Sundays recently asked me what I thought about Trump. I said I was treating him as a form of social thermometer, where it gave us some insight into where our society was at. He said that he found him hilarious, an angle I completely understand. Here’s why:
He knows how to get certain things done, and if you don’t believe him, watch one of his speeches—hell, watch a few clips. The man knows how to work an audience, even if he’s working them into a fervor of jingoistic, misogynistic, racist, bigoted whirlpool of America. The man is brilliant.
In pop culture, to be a celebrity is to be truly recognized as better than others. There’s money in it, fame, obviously recognition as being a superstar of the rich and famous. It’s a position of power, because what you do is automatically listened to by millions of people, whether they want to hear it or not. It’s like that easy target, Kim Kardashian. We all know who she is—unless you’re that far removed that we could consider you a statistical outlier—and we all know that we all know.
It’s not hard to pinpoint the reason for this. She’s constantly being thrown before us like she’s someone that matters, and she does, to those who buy into or make money off of her cult of personality. She is an uber-celebrity, married to a man of equal status, so there’s no surprise that she stands out from all the other fairly attractive, rich, vain springs of influence. If she says something, shit always goes viral, and that’s what Trump has managed to do.
It’s a matter of understanding and then playing the hustle. He realizes that the more outrageous the things he says, the more his clips and name will be repeated by the masses. Does anyone know who Carly Fiorina is or what she possibly stands for? Not really, and that’s because she doesn’t have near the celebrity status as Trump has. I’ve never heard of the Fiorina Towers, and I doubt you have either. Does the line, “You’re fired,” bring up images of whatever Carly Fiorina looks like? Not me, and I know I’m not alone in this position.
Trump is brilliant in the sense that he’s actively trying to buy the election through sheer influence, all stemming from his name recognition. The fact that he’s also able to turn on the angry conservative base in the process doesn’t hurt one bit, as it both plays to their patriotic fear that the socialists are winning as well infuriate the left, effectively ensuring both sides continue talking about him.
Of course, there is some danger in his game. Riling up the conservative fringe will have consequences, as now all of the republican candidates are forced to move further right, which could make the moderate crowd side slightly more to the left, as the right is fucking crazy. Supporting—hell, encouraging—inequalities of all kinds can only make our country more divided at this necessary time of change, and that’s not good for social progression. Trump is pushing America backwards at a pivotal time, but doesn’t matter to him as long as his celebrity status grows, which it will, because he’s brilliant. He’s brilliantly playing a hustle.
Too bad the target of the hustle is us…