Marketing Trump’s invented reality

Marketing Trump’s invented reality

Let it never be said we do not live in interesting times.  The American political stage departed from interesting this past week and immersed the nation in the surreal.  For the record allow me to clarify that the terms “interesting” and “surreal” are not synonyms.  In case you missed it, the Republican National Committee held their nominating convention in Cleveland, OH this past week and indulged the GOP faithful in a four night festival of Hate for Hillary.  For a few days I thought all the Freedom Tremors we were feeling along this the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66 were generated by George Orwell doing flip-flops in his grave.  The parade of conservative speakers in Cleveland did well to emulate 1984’s Two Minutes Hate ritual with Hillary Clinton as their Emmanuel Goldstein.  It was all made very clear who and what the Republicans hate.  What was not so clear was what they like and how they intend to achieve it.  In addition to the things you must believe to be in their club, much like subscribers to INGSOC  must accept without question that 2+2=5, you must swallow the notion that America is failing and only Donald Trump knows how to fix it.  If you listened closely to what all was said in Cleveland, Orwellian slogans fit today’s GOP better than they fit Oceania.  It truly was not a far stretch to use any of them for 2016 Republican catch phrases.  Remember some of the good ones straight out of 1984War is Peace.  If you will recall from the early primary season debates, Mr. Trump and all sixteen of his challengers were proponents of using the military option first over diplomacy.  Freedom is Slavery.  Mr. Trump recently reversed himself on the issue of the minimum wage, relegating it to the states.  Perhaps we could take that as a nod for Freedom to Work for Less.  Ignorance is Strength.  Oh, Boy!  Is it ever!

  TrumpPence

Ignorance really is strength for Mr. Trump and his running mate Mr. Pence and that is what the GOP ticket is counting on to win the White House.  Trump is even on record as loving the poorly educated.  Just ask him.  It is going to take a poorly educated and ill informed electorate to buy what Mr. Trump is selling.  He also still must make the case that the current administration is a disaster in the face of a lame duck President’s approval rating hovering around the 50% mark.  For all Mr. Trump’s “The sky is falling” rhetoric, President Obama’s numbers to date do not look that bad considering how much he accomplished with little help from a hostile Congress over the past six years.  No doubt everyone would likely be much happier if there had been a few million more jobs created, if real weekly earnings were up to +8.8% instead of paltry +4.4% and the number of people needing food stamps dropped to below 5% instead of being over 35% but to go back to where we started on January 20th, 2009 or before is not a specter I would relish.  Even still, there are many disaffected voters of all political stripe who are all too willing to accept that Mr. Trump’s assertions and proclamations are infallible.  Sadly, many of those disaffected I am sure are Reagan Democrats and other conservative Independents who are finally figuring out that Reaganomics did not work for them and are seeking to levy blame for their reduced economic or social standing, be it actual or perceived.  To them Mr. Trump is saying all the right things regardless of how they square with actual reality which makes it easy for them to support him.  I find this dynamic to be very unsettling.

Image by FactCheck.org

Image by FactCheck.org

 Another Orwellian slogan Mr. Trump seems to be grabbing onto is “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”  A thorough fact checking of Mr. Trump’s nomination acceptance speech revealed multiple twisted facts and false claims despite the candidate’s declaration, “Here, at our convention, there will be no lies.”  I certainly can understand Mr. Trump’s strategy.  Using an abundance of fear along with gloom and doom demagoguery is an easy way to create his own brand of reality of a dystopian world that he alone has the wherewithal to save.  That is not to say that the World is not a dangerous and perhaps an unwelcoming place but allowing fear of it to control us is not in our national best interest, especially if you seek to lead the nation.  I really do find it disturbing so many find this bill ‘o goods easy to buy.  Being entitled to one’s opinion seems to be the rule of the day but this character demands to use his own facts to prop it up.  One thing we could all use is a stout dose of in-your-face reality and clue in the emperor everyone can see his new clothes, or hairpiece, or lack of each as the case may be.

The Real Donald Trump

My favorite fact to come out of the Republican circus in Cleveland this past week was a bit of GOP Presidential trivia.  The last time the American people elected a Republican ticket to the White House without someone named Nixon or Bush on it was 1928.  Think about that for a moment.  Now consider that since 1988 when George H.W. Bush rode the Willie Horton ad to an electoral landslide, the GOP has won the popular vote for President only once, that being in the reelection year of 2004 and that was by the slimmest margin for an incumbent in my lifetime.  In 2016, a year that the White House should be the GOP’s for the taking, they field a candidate who has little to offer besides smoke, mirrors, mostly non-fact based rhetoric and middle school playground quality name calling.  And we haven’t even touched on Mr. Trump’s pending Trump University fraud case, the move for dismissal of which was denied on Friday.  In all fairness to those who voted for him, when Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 nobody knew he was a crook.  In 2016, Mr. Trump is a populist whose main appeal is he is perceived as not being a Washington insider.  He has never held public office, however, he has a public record which precedes him.  He has sold his followers on the prospect that he can Make America Great Again and take us back to the 1950s.  As any good snake oil salesman will do, he will depend largely on the ignorance of enough people to win in November.  It is my hope enough voters see through his veneer of fraud and render unto Trump what he is due on Election Day.

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