I’ve been thinking quite a bit — way too much, in fact — about what exactly Donald Trump is up to, and how he’s getting away with it.
The conventional wisdom is that Trump is capitalizing on, or blindly, luckily stumbled into, a seething anti-establishment current that’s currently running through our country’s political zeitgeist, particularly that of blue-collar conservative voters. He’s an unofficial mouthpiece for all the rage and resentment — justified or otherwise — that’s been building up ever since the American people had the gall to put a black dude in the White House, what with his black wife, black daughters, black music and blackity blackness.
And I understand that these are not the sane voters… which makes it all the more frightening that these are the majority of conservative voters. These are not the people who supported Mitt Romney and John McCain, but who threw their weight behind the Santorums, Bachmanns, Palins and Huckabees of elections past.
Still, that doesn’t adequately explain why Trump — a man with all the political experience and witty charm of a freshly raped corpse — is leading so dominantly in the polls. But I think I have some ideas:
- He’s Actually Andy Kaufman
Truly, I feel like this is the most likely scenario.
Kaufman was a very adept “straight” comic — he was a long-tenured sitcom actor, after all — but he made his reputation by engaging in outlandish, obtuse, sometimes downright controversial long-form gags. His pro-wrestling feud with Jerry Lawler, which spilled over into several other media, was revealed to have been a work all along, but only once 10 years had passed since Kaufman’s death. He would occasionally troll audiences by reading “The Great Gatsby” to them. Perhaps most famously, he had a standup bit wherein he would play a recording of the “Mighty Mouse” theme song, stand completely inert during most of it, and then enthusiastically lip-sync the line, “Here I come to save the day!”
Kaufman stated that, if he were to fake his own death, he would return 20 years after the fact — which would have been in 2004 — but it’s unlikely that someone who made his career on what was essentially performance art chaos theory would be so forthcoming. The only question is whether he and Trump have been working together this whole time, if Trump is and always has been simply a character created by Kaufman or if Kaufman murdered Trump, skinned him and now walks around in his flesh-suit. Honestly, none of those would surprise me.
- He’s Been Filming a Guerilla-Style Sequel to “Idiocracy”
I used to love “Idiocracy,” a Mike Judge political satire about a man who, after being cryogenically frozen, wakes up 500 years in the future to discover that America is now run by corporations, anti-intellectualism is rampant and that most of the nation’s citizens are grossly stupid.
Objectively, it’s still a great movie, but the more we progress (and I use that term loosely) as a society, the more that film takes on shades of a documentary, and that terrifies me. Terry Crews is President, you guys. Terry Crews is President.
Other writers and commentators have observed that Trump only started gaining such political popularity when he started treating his supporters like complete and hateful morons. He openly advocates murdering Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood (not kidding), water boarding and other torture and the physical beating of peaceful protesters — and his polling numbers have never been better.
I understand that the notion of a mega-successful political campaign being just a smokescreen for perhaps the greatest art-comedy film in history is delusional, but it’s the only way my brain can cope with what’s happening.
- He is the Literal Manifestation of the Right-Wing Id
In other words, we’re basically living out a real-world version of “Forbidden Planet” here.
In that movie, the members of a space expedition are plagued by an invisible creature that turns out to be the physical embodiment of another character’s subconscious mind. It was also kind of based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” because this was a different time for sci-fi.
I mentioned earlier how Trump is a mouthpiece for all the hate-speech that normal people can’t get away with saying, but what if he’s much more than that? What if all of that fear, hate, ignorance and vitriol became so palpable for so many people that it gained sentience and took on the form of a man made completely out of boiled leather and overcooked rice?
In the film, the creature is only stopped when the planet is completely destroyed by a fail-safe self-detonation. So, yeah — that seems about where we’re headed.