Has America gotten enough bogus reports (e.g., “fake news”) or the truth on President Trump, nevermind his bewilderingly infantile tweets that are reminiscent of any run-of-the-mill jilted high school girl?
Or, in today’s socio-political climate, have we #gottrump yet?
The strategy during the primaries, so it is alleged, was for Trump to suck up as much publicity as possible. In fact, his plans to run for president were first revealed before a boardroom of Republican operatives for New York state in the weeks prior to Christmas 2013, long before most Americans — indeed, even many politicians — had contemplated the 2016 presidential campaign at the conclusion of the first year of Barack Obama’s second term.
When approached by twenty-five New York political operatives to run for governor reported Politico’s Eli Stokols and Ben Schreckinger in February 2016, Trump balked, instead revealing of “another plan — a very specific plan — to run for president.” To the Republican county chairs and assemblymen present inside Trump Tower’s conference room overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park, the man destined to succeed Obama appeared poised to choke on his aspirations with a scheme appearing at best far-fetched and “downright implausible”.
“You guys are going to be very helpful when I do the big thing,” said Trump.
As one longtime operative in New York State noted, Trump boldly went where none had gone before — down a path where in nearly every prior instance, led to a candidate’s political demise.
“He said, ‘I’m going to walk away with it and win it outright,’” a long-time New York political consultant recalled. “Trump told us, ‘I’m going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I’m going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that they will never take the lights off of me.’”
Indeed, Trump has worked the media, playing it like like a heart from hell. As Politico further noted, the “Notoriously frugal” Trump claimed he would succeed on a tight budget, not needing to spend much for advertising. His seemingly scattered, unconventional logic prompted one dumbfounded operative to remind him he could not run on “earned media”.
Then again, this is Donald Trump. Pausing for “a long moment” before replying, “I think you’re wrong,” he simplified his explanation, that “… it’s really about the power of the mass audience.”
An unconventional strategy for a grandiose pipedream transformed into “a fantasy” which proved prophetic as to America’s current reality. One can only attribute the meteoric rise of the political novice Trump as the most improbable, yet innovative and greatest campaign in history in in spite of the man’s flaws. As the article acknowledged, Trump’s wholesale reliance on selling his personality “couldn’t have worked for anyone else,” given his “mind-blowing success —his uncanny ability to read and react to people and to bait his foes into positions of weakness, his eagerness to accept risk, and, above all, his ability to trust his gut to navigate the race while eschewing professional guidance.”
“When he looks down his nose at the political consulting class, no wonder. And I’m one of them!”
— Tony Fabrizio, New York Republican pollster
The current inquisition by Senate Democrats and rogue Republicans into Trump’s alleged relationship with Russia should not concern his supporters. His political career already reflects his lifelong wheeling and dealing among the ruthless New York real estate, media and political circles. By granting Trump publicity, the media further empowers him, who then paints himself as a successful businessman and political outsider who’s lived the American Dream, yet remains on the outside looking in, persecuted by the media and national political establishment just like the little man who feels disenfranchised, alienated and insignificant — and yet, his vast wealth buys him the political collateral to grant him political immunity by playing to “people’s fantasies”.
Trump must remain true to his outlandish character of shooting from the hip, and pay no heed to potential political consequences. The more he misbehaves, the more electoral power he will attain through “unearned” media coverage because no amount of publicity is bad so long as successfully sells Donald Trump to some people all of the time and some people, some of the time. It is wholly unimportant for him to appeal to all the people all of the time, and he knows it.
So, have we really #gottrump yet? Chances are, we’ve only scratched the surface, whether we like it or not.