Friday, March 11, 2016

what is the appeal of donald trump?

why did i have to wake up thinking about this? i should be sleeping for another couple of hours (up late). i have no desire to be fair to the presidential candidate! every headline regards him as a buffoon. but wait, he's winning thousands of votes in a lot of states, ahead in the quest for the republican nomination. do i have to take him seriously? after all, practically all i know about him i've read on facebook, where he's mercilessly lampooned, Hitler mustaches and swastikas painted all over him.

true, i have read a few articles, mainly in the daily new yorker. the article with the most cache' said he appeals to authoritarian-minded people, the spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child variety. that makes sense. if you switch back and forth from the reasonableness of barack obama and bombast of donald trump,  the first seems pretty wimpy. i'm just talking about impressions, not about anything true. 

okay, i thought, i'd better find something out about this guy, headlined as 'the great hater' on the cover of a national magazine. i decided to watch videos of him at work, advising in business, saying in the 80's he wouldn't run for president, a few snippets of speeches and bits of banter on talk shows. one thing comes out: as a public advisor he rarely smiled, always sitting with a pretty glum face. this is much more like the french president Francois Mitterrand, whose first smile ever on television caused headlines in france. 

yes, the french think we're crazy to be smiling all the time. i'll take the smiles, even though i understand their reasoning. they believe in reserve and privacy, not making friends at work and so on. luckily for me, americans not like that. we have more fun, though it comes at a cost: the environment, the world of ideas, education, fiddling while the world burns. still, i like the attitude of living in the present. all our gurus talk about 'being in the now.'

after a few videos i stumbled across one source of trump's power: HE'S NOT AFRAID TO MAKE FUN OF HIMSELF. true, the humor in the above video definitely on the crude side, yet i can see how it would appeal to 'the common man'. not worrying about appearing foolish the exact opposite of his determined face when giving financial advice. and he's written best-sellers on the subject, which i know absolutely nothing about. there's a charm to his public persona which can be found when i looked for it. 

the guy simply can't be a dope. his campaign must be highly organized to take advantage of the tough-guy, sarcastic and coming back with telling ripostes  when attacked. no, i'm not trying to be fair. after watching a number of videos i felt myself taking on his persona, which means there must be some charisma to it. did i like myself? i definitely felt more decisive, picking up a coffee cup with an attitude, or being firm with the cat. at the same time, i lost my sense of humor while gaining a sense of irony. no, i didn't like being Francois Mitterrand, even if it meant i could never become president.

the cour de grace came with watching his wife melanie being interviewed. she's a model and entrepreneur from slovakia, twenty years in new york, gorgeous and very appealing. she actually appeared to be thinking of answers, though i'm sure she rehearsed them many times. her feeling for trump loving and intimate. i'd naturally assumed she married for money. of course, that had to be part of the equation. at the same time, no dummy herself, she admired his intellect and care. 

alas, i certainly didn't become a fan. on the other hand i understood a lot more, which always confuses me. i did not feel it would be a disaster if he became the republican candidate. he's merely saying what the other politicians thinking and he makes them look pretty phony and stiff. somewhere i read, people vote for someone they wouldn't mind having in their room on tv every night. i'm wondering if our love of entertainment not carrying us away?