One of the most startling things about the 2016 campaign is just how committed people who dislike Trump are working around the clock to get him elected.
Trump has become a sort of “Teflon Don” to criticism, as any celebrity is. With both politicians and celebrities, you expect scandal. Politicians rarely recover. Celebrities usually do.
That’s mostly due to the fact that we live in a world where we’re exposed to the constant actions of celebrities — their ups and downs, the brand of sweats they wear to the grocery store, relationships, breakups, drug scandals, arrests, and the relentless quests for redemption.
the thirst is real
With politicians, you have a carefully-controlled public image where you kiss babies, pretend to like minorities, eat calorie-laden local specialties, and whore yourself out in front of people with disposable incomes and no hobbies.
for god’s sake, someone help her
For example, it’s rare for a politician to overcome a mistress unless they’re so horribly corrupt that the mistress is the least of their problems.
Conversely, how many movie or record sales have been impacted by the lead star/singer cheating on his wife?
Of course this begs the question: why don’t you have more celebrities run for higher office? Reagan ran for President, but after becoming Governor. As a celebrity, he was divorced, which was a “first” for a president. Schwarzenegger did it, and he was a stoner with a later-uncovered love child (which probably wouldn’t have mattered much for his recall campaign that he won).
imagine how much we’d hate him if he was a politician with a love child that later went into movies
A celebrity is a political consultant’s dream: they know how to use the media and the public gives them leeway. Which is why we were bound to have a celebrity with no political experience run for President sooner or later. Roseanne did in 2012. Jesse Jackson did in 1988. If you could name the top 5 potential presidential candidates from the celebrity sphere, Trump would’ve been on that list for the past 3 decades.
imagine the possibilities if these two ran together in 2000
The problem with Trump’s opposition, whether it’s Rubio die-hards, Cruz fans, or outraged liberals, is that they’re totally caught off guard running against a celebrity. These people have spent decades learning politics and how to run against politicians. Pump up your guy, dig up dirt on the other guy, win, wash, rinse, repeat. The most well-funded consultants usually win the race (Linda McMahon being an exception, mostly because her consultants were terrible and “celebrity’s wife” doesn’t hold much cachet).
Trump’s campaign staff is shockingly thin, his political advisors include a fashion social media manager in her 20s (Hope Hicks) and the Khashoggi of Republican politics (Roger Stone), his PR apparatus is a Twitter account and a Rolodex with every major TV reporter and host, and his joke about people saying he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and still get elected is probably true.
now that’d be a hell of a thing
All of which is why the half-baked Rube Goldbergian schemes by his opponents to stop him keep failing. He’s sexist! Racist! He made fun of a reporter! We’ll steal his delegates! Have you seen his tax returns? Bankruptcy filings! Divorce records! Fake memes! State party hijinks! His wife’s a whore!
for those of you who want to see his actual Oprah interview this still is taken from circa 1988 where he gives the exact same foreign policy speech he gives now, check it out
The man’s been a celebrity for over 3 decades – did you think he wouldn’t be able to handle this?
The problem for these political consultants and his opponents is that actual voters hate allegations of sexism and racism, reporters, party corruption, and invasion into personal lives. Congratulations, Trump Opponents, you’ve made the man a sympathetic character in the eyes of many.
Celebrities become iconic because we have sympathy for them: Robert Downey Jr, Winona Ryder, Amanda Bynes, Mel Gibson, etc.
We have no sympathy for politicians of course, despite the fact that, like celebrities, we’re financially supporting them as a general public.
We want to be celebrities, we don’t want to be politicians.
In every modern election it’s the candidate the public can identify with that wins. Stiff and uncomfortable Romney or relaxed, well-spoken Obama? Wonky, bitter McCain or aspirational, fresh-faced Obama? Guy-you’d-have-a-beer-with Bush or guy-you’d-move-away-from-in-a-bar Kerry? Plain talking Bush or scolding Gore? Embattled Clinton or doddering Dole? Aw-shucks-Bill or out-of-touch, tax-raising GHW Bush?
poor Bob Dole
At this stage you have fast-talking lawyer Cruz, charmingly nerdy Kasich, sprightly and eccentric Sanders, will-never-be-personable Hillary, and unscripted yet sympathetic Trump.
The party that chooses to manipulate the rules to keep the most popular candidate from getting nominated will lose. Neither a Trump nor a Sanders movement will go quietly into the night or fall in line and accept their fate. You don’t thwart the anti-establishment wing by using establishment tactics to squeeze them out – you embolden it and give it legitimacy.
or if all else fails, you cut off their leader’s circulation with a handshake
Ultimately, the #NeverTrump movement will fail. The insults have gone too far and the alienation is too permanent. What are designed to be feats of strength (public shaming through magazine covers, threats of a contested convention) resonate as a scam to regular folks.
The same goes on the other side for Bernie as well. The people in 2008 who supported Hillary over Obama mostly fell in line to support Obama in the end. The people in 2016 supporting Bernie over Hillary are doing it for a specific and outspoken reason. Anti-Trump folks on the right threatening to vote for Hillary are the same as the Hillary supporters in 2008 who threatened to vote McCain – a miserable failure by the few to bang around enough pots and pans to get attention. Anti-Hillary folks on the left won’t fold into future Hillary voters – they’ll break into Trump voters, Gary Johnson voters, Jill Stein voters.
after all, if you’re going to support a shrill harridan, why not support one with a doctorate degree?
To think, all this could’ve been avoided by candidates co-opting Trump’s political positions early in the primary and party leaders/consultants striking a deal for him to not run and endorse someone in exchange for being a major party broker.
it’s not like they haven’t tried this before
It’s too late now.
You’ve let a celebrity into a political race.
What the hell were you thinking?