Monday, May 16, 2011

Trump Got What He Wanted


In Donald Trump's office he has a wall behind his desk with a choice selection of magazine covers bearing his stupid face. And during this latest flirtation with the American Presidency, he will have many, many new additions to that stupid wall bearing his stupid face over the years. If you haven't heard: Trump is not running for President. In the end, Trump got exactly what Trump wanted -- publicity.

I don't believe Donald Trump ever planned on running for the Presidency any more than he did in his numerous "attempts" dating all-the-way back to the 1987. Kurt Anderson, a very wise media observer and something of a Trumpologist par excellence, said on WNYC earlier in the Spring, "It does seem, given that at this point he is more famous nationally than ever, has gone further out in suggesting that he's serious than ever before -- it seems as though it would be hard for him not to run."

Apparently not quite that hard.

Then again, with all due respect to Kurt -- Trump defies logic. Kurt sees the universe in terms of rational actors in the media generally making logical decisions. A decent person, having flirted with the Presidency for decades, would have concluded this acute flirtation as the real deal. Unfortunately, Kurt did not factor in the fact that Trump is not a decent, logical person.

Trump is willing, and often does, to cater to the lowest political impulses -- smarmily suggesting that the President of the United States was not born in Hawaii and was a product of affirmative action -- and thus is not governed by the rules of conduct and common decency that bind the civilized. Instead, the short-fingered vulgarian follows the pennies on the sidewalk, and affixes his name to shitty architecture and things like greasy colon-destroying burgers. Further, it is impossible to imagine Trump running for President because doing so would mean journalistic investigation into his finances and his intriguing relationship with that Dickensian villain Don King.

Is it any surprise that Trump dragged out this flirtation to maximize media attention to his show?

And it was one hell of a ride. In February Trump got a brief pop in the polls, coming within two percentage points behind the sitting President of the United States, according to Newsweek/DailyBeast. By mid-April April, Public Policy Polling revealed that Trump led the entire GOP field by nine points and was the front runner. But as Jonathan Martin noted in Politico on April 20:

"A latter-day P.T. Barnum with an insatiable appetite for attention and a knack for getting it, Trump has capitalized on two defining and interrelated features of the political-media landscape in the Obama era: the symbiosis between political provocateurs and traffic-conscious news organizations and the rise of a conservative constituency that hungers for voices that will attack President Barack Obama in sharp and unapologetic terms.

“Nobody I know in the real world of politics take this seriously, but in the world of 24/7 cable and the Internet, there is a mutual dependency because he tops the charts,” Frank Sesno, director of the school of media and public affairs at The George Washington University and a former CNN Washington bureau chief, said of Trump. “He’s quotable, he’s funny, he’s outrageous and he’s unpredictable.”

But by early May Trump's numbers collapsed like his combover in a stiff wind. "Donald Trump has had one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics," said the Public Policy Polling blog. "Last month we found him leading the Republican field with 26%. In the space of just four weeks he’s dropped all the way down to 8%, putting him in a tie for fifth place with Ron Paul." Charmed, I'm sure.

And so: let the Trump backlash begin. Let the late night comedy writers make their final jests. Just don't include me in the festivities because I was wise enough to know that this man was never -- ever -- going to run.

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