Trump by the Barrelful

25 Jan

One of the many things I’ve found remarkable about the 2016 election cycle is the incredible diversity of the issues and the breadth of the discussion / debate these issues have inspired. But in spite of this plethora of things to write / talk about, it’s been near impossible to say anything original about any of it. I think there are two reasons for this.

This first is that with so many people writing, a decent (original) take is difficult to come by as someone else will have invariably gotten there first.

The second reason is that something would usually happen that would almost immediately change the political / social landscape and / or our understanding of it. In the (now) obviously volatile election cycle, any traditional understanding of what was going to happen should have been discarded (or at a minimum, examined carefully). Journalist Michael Tracey encouraged people to take this volatility seriously, but (for the most part) that’s not what we did.

A couple of weeks ago I was searching on my computer for a document when I stumbled upon a forgotten January 2016 blog post I had started writing. Save a couple of minor corrections, here it is for your reading horror.

I Don’t Think A Trump Presidency Would be The Worst Thing Ever*

The 2016 Presidential election is less than eleven months away and to commemorate the occasion I’m publishing a two-part series on everyone’s current favourite subject man – Donald Trump.

At first I was dismissive like the rest of you about the likelihood of a President Trump. I was laughing along with everyone else at the photoshopped images invading my Facebook news feed. You know the ones I’m talking about – with his hair grafted onto everyday objects and the gold TRUMP logo propped up on the roof of the White House.

But then I started using my brain muscle to analyze the situation. As regular readers of this blog are hopefully aware, my superpower is that I have the ability to understand both sides of a given issue (where the majority of humans who do not have my condition – mild dyslexia) can only see what they want to see.

A few years ago I swore an oath that I would only use my power for good, so to that end I’m going to perform sort of a PSA to help alleviate some of the anxiety that seems so widespread this election cycle.

TO THE DENIERS

There is a real chance Donald Trump could be the next President of the United States. I’m making this claim based on three things.

1. His two main opponents in the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, are (respectively) under investigation by the FBI and old. Each of these characteristics could spell doom for their candidacy. Hillary could be arrested and Sanders could die – it’s what happens to the aged and the indicted.

2. The other Republican Party candidates who are running for President are all terrible.

And this is where I stopped. I never published it. After looking over my notes, from what I can recall, I think the third claim was supposed to go something like this.

3. Trump is a smart guy and he’s operating on a completely different level than his career politician opponents – this could be an advantage. His interview with Ali G was about a minute long where every other politician interviewed was either too stupid to notice they were being played or too scared to end the interview early. Trump saw right through Ali G’s schtick and bailed.

And I did write the final line of the post.

*We already have a worst thing ever: Margaret Lawrence’s The Stone Angel.

From what I can tell, my third point – the bit about Trump’s Ali G interview, is my unique (but probably not) insight into the election (it showed Trump is fearless and smart at a time when almost everyone else was saying he’s stupid and an idiot). I have not seen this Ali G interview mentioned anywhere else (as a warning to people) however I did read once where the incident was used to make fun of Trump.

And this is not to say I predicted the outcome of anything. Far from it. My fear from twelve months ago was that Trump would take a reasonable position on something important (like gun control), a poll would be released that would support his position, and then he would use it as a proverbial baseball bat in the general to clobber his Democratic opponent by claiming (demonstrating?) how useless they’ve been on that issue. Sort of like in the primary when he spoke the truth about the the Iraq war being a total disaster.

But the opposite ended up happening. His antics increased and by the time they released the audio of him bragging about sexually assaulting women, I just figured there was no way he could survive. Before that, for a short time period, I had it right. But as time went on, the reasons underpinning my position diverged from reality, so I altered my prediction. My updated position was that he would lose.

With the hindsight of how things turned out and in seeking an explanation as to why, maybe the Ali G experience offers us part of the answer. Maybe the traditional politicians are not just seen by the voters as stupid and / or afraid, maybe they actually are like that. And it took someone like Trump (who is neither of those things) to galvanize that feeling into something tangible.

I’ll be the first person to admit that it’s almost impossible to quantify, but after reading this, if you at some point happen to find yourself performing an autopsy of the 2016 US Presidential election, I suggest you consider this angle in your quest to try and understand exactly what the hell happened.

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-3-29-35-pm

And Dan knows a lot of people.

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