Even his name, in British slang at least, is another word for flatulence. But lovable, mega-rich windbag Donald Trump is having the last laugh. I know this because Trump is doing what I and all internet-savvy provocateurs do: he is trolling the Establishment.
Like me, Donald Trump draws attention to himself through lavish spending, arresting blonde hair and sheer force of personality —and he uses that attention to tell the worst people in the world where to stick it. (My hair, similarly, has an independent following of its own.)
Trump’s success and persona are such that allegations of clownishness only further inflate the balloon. Because he is shameless, he is impossible to embarrass. That’s a lesson I also learned long ago: say whatever your enemies are planning to say about you first, and say it devastatingly. If you do it with enough honesty and self-deprecation, people will laugh with you, not at you.
I don’t think Trump is too fussed about becoming president of the United States. He just wants to flex. If anything, his particular power to get attention and annoy the right people is far greater outside of the presidency. Take it from me, no-one past a certain level of wealth is that fussed about anything.
In a way, Trump is similar to some of the legendary internet trolls I’ve been covering in my other columns. Take Godfrey Elfwick, the fake uber-progressive I was the first person to report on. Elfwick has now fooled national media on two occasions. His persona allows him to take the stage with genuine progressives, where his no-holds-barred satire exposes the weakness of their positions.
If there’s one thing I understand it’s attention-seeking. And Trump is a master of his art. He’s identified the weakness of the current political system, where career politicians speak in soundbites to increasingly disillusioned
Trump doesn’t have much to lose, which is another classic characteristic of a troll. Not becoming president is no skin off his nose. As he said himself, he’s really rich. He could fund five nomination campaigns and still be a billionaire. And, if he loses, he’ll just go back to Trump Tower and continue living the American Dream.
In an arid landscape populated with candidates who are terrified of public relations disasters, Trump will electrify the field. A man who is so rich he can offend anyone and say anything is the perfect antidote to a stultifyingly politically-correct atmosphere. He the perfect man to finally inject some courage into the terminally cautious Republican party.
Let’s face it, wouldn’t we all like to see a feeble moderate like Jeb Bush brought down a peg by a force of nature like Trump? Or any of the other agonisingly meek Republican candidates? Injecting some Trump stardust into a live TV debate might just kick some life into the format —and I expect that’s exactly what Trump wants.
Like me, Trump has an army of supporters who are often quieter than his critics. That’s because his critics are boorish media types with big platforms, while those who watch him at home admire his brazenness and his values, save up to spend money in his hotels, and will vote for him in an election.
The liberal media elite, a small group of bitter 35-year-olds lecturing teenagers about transgender pronouns, have little to offer the average voter. (And their readers don’t vote anyway.)
Trump has had some failures. So has anyone who puts their reputation and money on the line for a new business venture. The media love to mock people who don’t win 100 per cent of the time. But they do so having never tried to do anything brave themselves.
I experienced the same thing myself when one of my ventures went through a rocky patch. It recovered, and I ended up selling the company, but smug keyboard warriors who have never risked so much as a dollar on a lottery ticket love to rub it in my face and pretend they don’t know about the later success.
But who cares about a bit of sneering and jealousy from San Francisco bloggers? I reckon most people at home appreciate the aspirational virtues Trump and other media-friendly entrepreneurs embody.
I suspect many people will vote for Trump for the same reason many people voted for Britain’s second most famous blonde bombshell, Boris Johnson: they’ll do it for a laugh and to stick it to the perpetually offended. Candidates with genuine personality are so rare that you want to keep them on the field even if you mostly disagree with them. That’s what politicians and many journalists simply don’t get.
It doesn’t take many votes like that to get someone onto a stage with ten other candidates, on national television. And once Trump is on stage, he has the media skills and the chutzpah to completely dominate the debate. I mean, come on. Aren’t you just dying to watch that debate? I know I am.
Trump will say exactly what he likes about both the Democrats and his Republican opponents, regardless of how it impacts his own chances. And he’ll say it with such humor and personality that no-one will be able to ignore him, and millions will silently (and in some cases grudgingly) agree with him. Being a populist has its downsides, but no one ever went broke by saying what everyone at home is secretly thinking.
He will also, by poking, prodding, provoking and posturing, reveal through his performance some great truths. He’s right on immigration. He’s right about America needing positive leadership. He’s right about a lot of things, and by creating a gigantic platform from which to bluster and rant, he nudges everyone who watches him just a little bit further in his direction.
And he has the power, too, to influence which of the Republicans in the race gets the nomination. Donald Trump is the single biggest threat to Jeb Bush, because by dominating the debate he has the power to radically alter its terms and the basis on which the GOP will choose its 2016 candidate. That is power no other politician can claim.
And that’s why Trump doesn’t need to win. No matter what he does, he’ll be the man of the hour, the man who grabs people’s attention. Just watch the other candidates start dancing to his tune – and tell me that it doesn’t remind you, at least a little bit, of, say, Andrew Auernheimer (better known as weev) on manoeuvres.
Some people will claim that Trump getting involved in the Republican primaries lowers the tone of this noble process. Good. He’s treating it with the dignity it deserves, which is to say: none. Noble process? Give me a break. Primaries are a pack of morons hacking their own political allies to death and repeating ridiculous and largely fictitious stories about their childhoods for the amusement of late-night comedians.
Sorry, no offence, but it’s true. If you’re going to turn your presidential selection process into a reality show, don’t be surprised when reality stars show up demanding to take part. If you build it, Trump will come. Then he’ll build it again, eleven stories higher, and put his name on it in gold lettering.
When Donald said he wanted Oprah to be his running mate, my little troll heart went “doki-doki,” as they say in Japanophile communities. Trump was doing what trolls do best: packaging an uncomfortable truth in a joke. It wasn’t a statement of fact; it was a statement intended to force your brain into thinking about the spine-tingling reality that in today’s America, Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey probably could win the nomination and, then, the election together.
Trump-haters have a problem now. Whatever they say, they are only feeding the beast. Yet they cannot say nothing. Make a joke about Trump’s hair, his “Clownface von Fuckstick” nickname or the fact that he can (Hate to say it, but…) sometimes look a little orange? Trump has already been there and made the joke more forcefully.
Trump has captured America’s attention, and he’s done it in hilarious style. He made his announcement on a shaky iPhone stream in a shopping mall not because he couldn’t afford better, but because he’s a troll. The announcement attracted over 4,000 articles, and 1.2 million mentions of his name on social media. If he did that with an iPhone, imagine what he’ll do with a nationally televised debate and a budget.
Fuckface von Clownstick just bought international attention for the price of a smartphone. Top kek, as they say.