The American Presidential election is unlike any voting process out there, consisting of a gruelling set of trials often lasting more than twenty months. Every aspect of a candidate’s life is explored in microscopic detail, with career reputations on the line and billions of dollars invested in campaigns, any aspiring hopeful must portray an aura of capability, vision and inclusiveness. Crucially, they must have media training to ensure they stay on message at all times. This might be why Donald Trump is seen as such a breath of fresh air, with no script to diverge from, he remains a blustery caricature who shoots straight from the hip and crows about his (much inflated) wealth. Armed with a campaign team comprised of former contestants from his TV show The Apprentice, he believes that because he has enriched himself (with daddy’s established fortune), he can also enrich you by bringing his vision of a gaudy, Liberace-inspired America to a hotel near you.
A noble endeavour perhaps, but multiple bankruptcies, marriages and scandal aside, perhaps what we find interesting about ‘the Donald’ is an unshakable belief in his own distorted view of himself, hubris by any metric. In an attempt to clarify the incendiary remarks given in his presidential candidate announcement speech, he was recently interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon. In support of his assertion that Mexicans were rapists, Trump cited a 2014 Fusion article that claims that 80% of Central American migrants travelling through Mexico were raped. When Lemon pointed out that the article was about rape in Mexico, not rapist Mexican immigrants, Trump explained: “Somebody’s doing the raping, Don.”
I suspect that I am not alone in admitting that these types of shenanigans are certainly engaging. However, the business world, as Trump should know, is merciless and unforgiving. No sooner had he announced his attention to run for leader of the free world, NBC Universal, Farouk Systems, Macy’s, NASCAR, Serta, ESPN, PGA, PVH, ThinkFoodgroup, Perfumania, Univision and Televisa all responded in kind, publicly ending their associations like the unpredictable white hot potato he has proven himself to be. There are some that believe he can bounce back, that the public have short memories and after a year or two down the road they might be willing to buy products again just because they carry the Trump name. That would makes his candidacy a wise business investment, however destructive it is to America socially, but I’m not sure. His most recent comment denouncing John McCain as a war hero has not only provoked the ire of the political establishment, but of a large segment of American society he claims to care the most about, veterans. While previous Trump gaffes have an element of farce about them, five years of sustained torture, botched operations and lifelong mental trauma obtained in Hanoi’s most infamous prisoner of war camp is no laughing matter, especially in light of emerging facts about Trump’s repeated draft dodging, culminating in a final deferment from a family doctor due to ‘bone spurs’ in his heels.
What most analysts and commentators can agree on is that Donald Trump is merely a clown, prancing on the stage as little more than a warm up routine before the method actors emerge from the wings. With such divisive and inflammatory comments, there is no serious way that ‘the Donald’ can last past the Colorado caucus, let alone make it to Super Tuesday. I for one, will be sad when the inevitable concession speech is given, not for the entertainment value, not to see a man commit business suicide by torching bridge after bridge, not even for his magnificent comb over, it will be to accuse ‘outside forces’ and the ‘mainstream media’ for misconstruing, misinterpreting and distorting his ludicrous comments.
While we can all sleep a little easier knowing Trump doesn’t have his finger on the button or have to negotiate with Putin, Jinping or Nieto, I will be dejected to see the curtain fall on this circus. Subsequent comfort will only come from seeing Trump lick his wounds, regroup and pursue business partnerships yielding those two magic words: ‘You’re hired!’