The Daily Show tried to parody Donald Trump’s rhetorical attacks with a new nickname, “Weak Donald.” How much sadder does Trevor Noah’s run have to get before Comedy Central mercifully pulls the plug?
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) May 13, 2016
Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has employed a simple trick to define and diminish his opponents. His coining of embarrassing nicknames, like “Li’l Marco” or “Lyin’ Ted,” has already made liberal pundits worried about the general election. Any media outlet covering his campaign-trail remarks will have to run sound bites where he calls Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary.” No matter how they try to spin, this technique will continually remind them of all her ethics scandals. It will saturate their minds with the association of Clinton as “crook.”
Already, both Hillary’s campaign and now the dozen-plus writers for The Daily Show are trying to imitate this tactic. Trump has set the playing field, and the left is scrambling to get into a proper formation. “Dangerous Donald,” the Clinton moniker, has already been lambasted by Gawker, Esquire, and many others.
Trevor Noah’s “Weak Donald” is a glancing shoulder tap, if anything. Watch the video for yourself:
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) May 13, 2016
“Right now, Donald Trump, this tax return is making you look weak,” Noah says in his monologue. “Before you know it, everyone’s going to start tweeting the hashtag #weakdonald. And I don’t wanna see that. I don’t wanna see people calling you weak or tweeting ‘hashtag weakdonald trump @realdonaldtrump.’ I don’t wanna see that. So come on, Donnie — pull it together!”
Trump’s weak because he’s not going to release his tax returns, disobeying every voice in establishment media who’s asking him to do it? And Noah, with his comparatively tiny audience and net worth, is strong enough to declare him weak?
You can see the linear thought process here: “Trump wants to be seen as strong, so we’ll call him… weak!” If Trump were this thick, he’d have run with “Bad (not good) Hillary” or “Stupid (not smart) Ted.” A room of 17 writers failed to follow the Writing 101 maxim of “show, don’t tell.”
If they really wanted to hit him where it hurts, liberals would run with something like “Fat Donald.” A New York Times hit piece launched today shows that Trump is, even now, unapologetic about critiquing women who have gained weight. It’s something he expects of other people and, as he’s grown in heft himself, makes him vulnerable to “Do as I say, not as I do” charges. And many svelte TV hosts are actually in a position to hold that insult over his head!
And “fat” can also evoke economics — the mental image of fat cats. Disconnect Trump from the working-class voters he’s courting. Remind people of his $1 million head start, utilizing bankruptcies to protect himself, his solid gold bathroom hardware.
Not to mention, it just rolls off the tongue. Try to isolate the transition of the “eek” in “weak” to the “daw” in Donald. Much more awkward than “at” to “daw.”
But the left has taken this weapon off the table. Going after Trump this way, they would be “body shaming,” which is a cardinal sin on the pages of Huffington Post and BuzzFeed.
So instead, liberals are stuck with these toothless, reactionary “me too” entries. Expect this new one to fizzle out in a few days, and then we’ll see maybe a dozen more attempts heading to November. Meanwhile, “Crooked Hillary” will keep growing — a two-word trigger for the public to constantly recall a complex web of corruption, with memes upon memes linking the Democrats’ standard-bearer to all the baggage of Clinton Cash.