Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Trump Phenom... More Than 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.

American media in particular, and the vast majority of the American public are waiting, impatiently now, for the political phenomenon called Donald Trump to crash and burn. While a few in the business of punditry now ruminate about the possibility of a Trump presidency, 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, Donald Trump 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 to the Oval Office. Among women Trump has an unfavorability rating of over sixty percent. Among African Americans, that number is close to eighty percent.

Donald Trump 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 discharges 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 those within reach of the bite of his rhetoric. It does not take a genius to see that this character has little or no chance of being elected to the Presidency. The Republican Party recognizes this, and they are duly fearful of the down-ticket implications of his candidacy for the future of the Grand Old Party.

It is easy to exploit the well cultivated frustrations that many constituents have toward the average politician. An abiding disdain for the way Washington operates is a fact of our National political experience. Any demagogue 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 a discontented public 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 was initially an exercise in preemptive rubbernecking. Some of those who sold this point of view are now backing off in what might be called sellers remorse. There is no doubt that this contender has benefitted from a GOP culture that can be likened to a rudderless ship. Despite this however, there still remains among the political class an expectation that he will at some point suffer a catastrophic failure. He is expected to either wear himself out via the unsustainable nonsense he espouses, or 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 part of what is fueling the feeding frenzy around what is essentially a circus of political bigotry. Trump's braggadocio is his indelible trademark. As a feature of some kind of political comic relief, it is excusable. This may all be a set-up for his next “reality show”... “Trump’s World”. As a quality of leadership this imitation of Nero has the seeds of a disaster sown all over it. The voyeurism that this character invites is repulsive. Like some before him, Trump is nothing more than a ruthless prospector mining away at the old underground of our nation's still present bigotry. The lesson he still has to learn is that his loot is nothing more than fools gold. That is the reward of those who mine hate.

This morbid fascination with Mr Trump must for the sake of a viable democracy ...come to an end. The sooner, the better.

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