On playing Trump card, disloyalty to thoroughbred GOP
With the 2016 presidential election barraging media headlines, one may notice someone unusual in the rank and file of the political clique. This man, both a boor and lout in my humble opinion, speaks to the American people in terms less rhetorical or refined. Donald Trump is his name, and business — so some think — is his motif. According to a recent Reuters online poll, Trump took 32 percent of Republican votes, an astonishing amount considering the number of Republican contenders. So, what is it about this uncouth candidate that brings a unifying effect to the GOP?
Mark Twain’s 1894 classic crime novel, “Pudd’nhead Wilson,” describes morality being undermined by glory and triumph. With the latter in mind, one finds an opening quote from “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar,” which states, “Tell the truth or trump — but get the trick.” Trump, like Pudd’nhead’s quote, seems to be about getting the upper hand, no matter what. The trick?
Well, how should someone navigate the turbulent waters of groomed politicians who generally speak palatable statements, but have ethics comparable to the House of Atreus? Simple — Trump’s trick is to make haughty statements and controversial slips of the mind (not to mention a gross tan and hair not unlike an aged smoker’s mustache).
When Trump made the fatuous claim in a 1991 Esquire interview, “You know, it doesn’t really matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass,” one would not be dubious in thinking such a statement had intent. What better way to gain notoriety — and perhaps a bid for attention and praise from a misogynistic hierarchy of men — than to speak on a whim. Perhaps the trick is this: Like any unscrupulous businessman, Trump speaks to his audience while pretending not to notice others listening. The result? Controversy of course, while creating a decisive line between those who follow this ambitious chauvinist and those who do not. This simple arithmetic is akin to Lewis Carroll’s character in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the Mock Turtle, whose summary of the latter is, “Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision.”
Therefore, Trump can be said to use his ambition to create distractions by means of “uglification” and derision. The truth, getting back to Twain, is no longer needed in the political arena or at least not to Trump.
While the media is distracted by his profuse ramblings on immigrants and women, Trump can successfully avoid the political matters his opponents are bred for. Conversely, his political opponents seem to spend their entire careers trying to censor among themselves what Trump says on a daily basis.
Can it be that conservative-minded Americans are no longer loyal to the thoroughbred Republican candidates? As poetically deduced in “Don Juan” by Lord Byron, “Society is now one polish’d horde, formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.” The real question, however, is whether or not this bore can continue to captivate the bored.
Jonathan Finnerty is a School of Arts Sciences junior majoring in classics and philosophy.