The US Presidential race is gathering pace on the uphill side of pretty warm, and with that we have started to witness a corresponding stoke-up of rhetoric.
But for all the criticism of Mr Trump – all the bonkers, collapsible car/squirty flower clown stuff – he made it to the White House. And that route is paved with the political corpses of many deemed more astute and more savvy.
And that is no small feat even for a billionaire. I mean, the miniscule Ross Perot (remember him?) was arguably richer than Trump but never made it past first base. His slot at the peak of the independent pile was purloined by a guy whose gift to the annals of sartorial elegance was a stupefying, multi-directional, Brillo pad comb-over weave and who still managed to keep it all in place. In a summer breeze, that is the equivalent of a bucking bronco. You’re only a cheeky gust away from being completely unseated. A gazillion times more impressive than achieving the Presidency and actually the dastardliest trick he’s ever pulled.
But back to his race for the top job, and I doubt he was ever truly wedded to it – until it looked like Hillary might get the Democratic nod. Then, personal antipathy and hubris likely kicked in and he went at it full tilt. This is a man who hates to lose, or more crucially, to lose face.
There has been a shed load of analysis in hindsight of the Trumpian ascendancy, but I never bought the guff about a master plan. It started off as a side-hustle showboat, having a pop, experimenting with social media, and kicking back against the established order. All of that started to pick up, grow arms and legs and become a monster. That’s the long and the short of it.
Social media was of course one area that would level the playing fields with an opponent drawing heavily on a few hundred years of establishment know-how and Trump having the wedge to source the best available data consultancy to, dare I sat, trump it outside the confines of the Capitol.
In opening up those channels, he expanded his reach and was able to tap into voters who didn’t even have minds to change. Now that is not to say that all Trump supporters are stupid and nor is it to date that the Presidency has been an abject failure. It is just that to get over the line, it’s about securing that rump of support who will put their X in the box. Floaters, rather than ‘floating voters’ in the traditional sense. But to sustain it all through a campaign, you have to relegate fact to the sidelines.
After all, the rump doesn’t know whether it’s New York or New Year. They just want to hear the stuff that makes their spines tingle while they knock back a few double Domestos and Cokes.
Essentially, old Donald removed rationale from the debate and went full-common denominator, dumbed down the debate, and accordingly disabled the intellect and political nous (the most notable tours de force) of his opponents. No master plan – he just took his boardroom bluster further afield and propelled his message on the back of a new technology and social phenomenon.
Most would call that good old-fashioned opportunism. In the circumstances, he drew the perfect hand, bet big and took the house.
So how will he be beaten?
Well, you cannot win over the rump with arguments because so many do not understand them. Moreover, they don’t mind being lied to as long as the narrative fits their emotive needs.
You cannot outdo the Trump machine, because – let’s face it – they are the masters at hot air, soundbites, and bluster, and would you really want to go down that road anyway?
Waiting for an implosion is unlikely to bear fruit – would anybody even notice? The benchmark on bonkers has been redrawn continually so our reference points for every form of wackadoodle absurdity have been rendered meaningless.
I think Robert De Niro hit the nail on the head, saying he’d like to hit Trump in the face with ‘a bag of shit’. A public humiliation that would take the wind out of his sails in a way that would register with even the reddest of rednecks.
Other than that, I think we may just see the rump settle down for the spectacle of another term in office for the Big Orange.
After all, the biggest shitbags going are all thousands of miles away, languishing in the House of Commons.