Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Preoccupation With Trump... A Case of Preemptive Rubbernecking

Rubbernecking: a human trait that is associated with morbid curiosity; a voyeuristic interest in someone else's business or affairs. A common example of rubbernecking is drivers trying to view the aftermath of a traffic accident.

The American media in particular, and the vast majority of the American public are waiting for the political phenomenon called Donald Trump to crash and burn. There is a general perception that candidate Donald is the antithesis of everything that we have come to expect of an aspirant to the highest office in the land. If the polls at this stage of the game are to be taken seriously, "The Donald" is  turning conventional wisdom on its head. The more he rises (in the polls), the greater the anticipation of a catastrophic end to what has been a most unlikely candidacy. Instead of the kind of inspirational rhetoric that we have come to expect from any serious candidate for national office, he has engaged in the kind of demagoguery that has blown up other campaigns in the past.

The list of his transgressions are long, and continues to grow. He has alienated the fastest growing demographic in the country. Trump's unfavorables among Hispanics, according to Gallop, is the highest of any of his Republican rivals. He has insulted women in ways that would sink the candidacy of other aspirants. In America, women elect Presidents. Trump has an unfavorability rating of over sixty percent among women. Among African Americans, that number is close to eighty percent. He has demonstrated no fluency in any of the issues that demand the attention of an American leader. What Trump is very fluent in are the gross insults and indecent aspersions that he carelessly casts at anyone who dares to require him to speak intelligently to any issue. Instead of any effort to be a meaningfully articulate candidate, what we have in Donald Trump is a carnival barker... And he is the show to which he invites all who are unfortunate enough to be within reach of the sound of his voice. It does not take a genius to see that this character has no chance of being elected to the Presidency. That being the case, we might ask why the "lamestream media" follows him around to the extent they do. What explains the apparent fascination with this "entertainer"?

It is easy to exploit the well cultivated frustrations that many constituents have toward the average politician. Any charlatan can establish a soapbox from which the sins of our political culture can be bellowed and exploited for gain. It does not take much to get loud agreement from the discontented with the fact that idiocy, general incompetence, and wanton graft are rampant features of our governing class. We are all aware of these obvious problems, but the idea that we should replace our political undesirables with a charlatan who presents his gross vanity as his only virtue is immeasurably untenable.

The Media's preoccupation with Trump is an exercise in preemptive rubbernecking, based on the expectation that he will at some point suffer a catastrophic failure. He will either wear himself out via the unsustainable nonsense he espouses, or he will crash and burn on the low road he takes in his vile attack on others. The anticipation of what is expected to be a spectacular descent into ignominy is what is fueling the feeding frenzy around what is essentially a circus of political bigotry. Trump's braggadocio has become his trademark. As a feature of some kind of existential comic relief, it is excusable. As a quality of leadership it is generally reviled. The voyeurism that this character invites is repulsive. This morbid fascination with Mr. Trump will come to an end. The sooner, the better.


  1. Will it? I'm now watching the watching and the watchers. If he hits the numbers and makes the right deals, he could meld media and power like never before.

  2. Great piece! Fully agree. But America's comfort with bloodletting and blame may pull us down as Trump creates conditions.


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