Going the full Trump

Image from theodysseyonline.com.

Donald Trump has shaken up this year’s presidential race by being, well, Donald Trump: brash, outspoken, contradictory, incessant, Trumpesque.

The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg talked to a pair of political consultants who believe this is the wave of the future.

[Firehouse Strategies is] based on the premise that Mr. Drumpf has rewritten the rules of modern communications strategy, and candidates and corporations need to take heed.

The primary lesson: “The solution is always more content, not less,” Mr. Sullivan said.

This comes on the heels of musing about Trump’s impact on presidential politics. Have we entered the Reality TV Age of elections? If so, why not cut out the middleman and simply create an “American Idol”-like show, with aspects of “Big Brother” thrown in? (The Palestinians are already trying something along these lines, though the winner may not get any actual power out of his or her victory.)

Well, maybe this works if your candidate is Donald Trump, who knows a hell of a lot about entertaining in bite-sized chunks but perhaps less about the actual nuts and bolts of governing. This is his attention-getting style, just as showing her assets is Kim Kardashian’s style. It’s not exactly conducive to problem solving and thinking deep thoughts, though Trumphalism may may make for an interesting GOP convention next month — perhaps a cross between a political rally, a 1980s-era Super Bowl halftime show and the conference room at SPECTRE.

Of course, conventions haven’t been about deep thoughts in years. It’s striking that a number of major GOP names are planning to skip the party in Cleveland. Why waste time attending when it’s just a big ol’ TV show? And they’re saying it publicly!

“I’m sure it will be fun, I’m sure it will be entertaining,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the NYT. “And I can watch it on TV.”

But that still leaves the rest of the campaign, and whether Trump-style politicking is the wave of the future. If so, what will that mean for the presidency?

Frankly, I’m not sure I can take an endless “Real Staffers of the White House” reality show. The news media loves its catfights and whiffs of scandal, but I prefer my presidents to be boring. Lord knows there’s enough excitement in the world. Let the attention-grabbers do their thing on reality TV, and let the rest of us keep our heads down and get some work done.

(I prefer a lot of things to be boring, actually; banking, for example, used to be summed up by the “3-6-3 Rule”: Pay out interest at 3%, lend money at 6% and be out on the golf course at 3 o’clock. Perhaps it was never thus, and perhaps it limited competition — anyone who wants to go back to the days of airline regulation, and thus real silverware and nice clothes on planes, was never able to fly to Europe for a relative pittance — but it’s sure nice to imagine.)

In fact, I think I’ll make that my slogan for 2016. Let’s keep America boring!

(Sorry about the exclamation point. That’s such a reality-TV move.)



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