July 5, 2016

It Still Feels Like Trump is Trolling Us

Trump CircleI know that this is completely irrational on my part, but there is a part of me that thinks that sometime between now and the general election in November, Donald Trump will reveal that we've all been the victims of the greatest political trolling of all time. His presidential campaign was never a serious campaign but a successful fundraising enterprise, the rewards of which he will reap for some time to come. I know this is farfetched, and it isn't that I believe this will really happen. Still, the thought does keep occurring to me. There is a sense of unreality about the whole thing.

I know, Hillary Clinton and many of her supporters want me to be terrified of Trump and regard him as Hitler. But Trump is not Hitler, his supporters are not fascists, and Clinton is going to have to come up with some good reasons why we should vote for her if I'm going to give it serious consideration. I have not completely closed the door on voting for her, but I am still waiting to hear what she has to offer besides just another Obama term with an even more aggressive foreign policy. Trying to terrorize me into voting against Trump is not going to cut it.

While I recognize that Trump is neither Hitler nor a fascist, I do believe that he'd likely make a poor president. When I watch him speak at his rallies, making sure to watch the entire speech and not just the clips selected by the news media, I do not see a leader of sound mind and good judgment. I see an intelligent and highly gifted carnival barker who knows how to manipulate his audience and who knows that many are eagerly following him because of his sheer force of personality. It is quite impressive at times, but it is not what I'm seeking in a president. In many respects, I think he might have what it takes to be the next dictator of North Korea; I don't see him as an effective U.S. president.

The most fascinating thing of all is that Trump's bizarre strategy isn't failing miserably, at least, not yet. He's not running campaign ads on TV. His staff is tiny, and there is little evidence that his campaign has anything like the organization needed to compete with Clinton. There is little evidence that he's followed any of the advice of those he has hired to help him get elected, and he manages to sound uninformed about the world in a way that is reminiscent of Sarah Palin. In some ways, it barely even looks like he's trying to run a serious campaign. And yet, if the last batch of national and swing state polls can be believed, he is in fact competing. Where he's behind Clinton, he's only slightly behind.

If Trump is really as narcissistic as he appears to be, it is difficult to imagine him dropping out of the race and letting us know that we've been trolled unless it were to become apparent that he had little chance of winning. I could imagine a scenario where he executes some grand attempt at saving face by pulling the plug before he can actually be defeated. But all indications so far suggest that this election may be a much closer one than it should. So while it is fun to consider the possibility that we've fallen victim to the greatest political trolling of all time, we probably shouldn't count on it.