Donald Trump reminds me so much of the old-school cartoon character, Dennis the Menace. Yes, of course, his bizarre comb-over is almost identical to Dennis’s cartoon hair, but that’s just the part you can see.
Admittedly, my little bachelor’s degree in psychology qualifies me for almost nothing official, but that hasn’t lessened my fascination with human behavior. As is the case for so many, I know just enough about it to be dangerous.
Which brings me to the First Republican Presidential Debates, a laboratory of human proclivities if ever there was one.
For the 5 p.m. Consolation Debate for backrunners, (that is the opposite of frontrunner, no?) the verdict has been virtually unanimous: Carly Fiorina, of Hewlett Packard infamy, indisputedly won the day. As much as I dislike the woman – a long story, related to her once being an executive in a company for which I worked – I have to agree. She was sharp, incisive and supremely prepared. In fact, all of the so-called Happy Hour participants did a pretty good job, the absurdity of their assertions notwithstanding.
Four hours later, the much anticipated Main Event rolled around. Would Donald Trump surprise us all and actually say something of substance? Would The Donald leave his outsize ego backstage in order to give the impression he really gives a damn about Americans? Would the other nine co-stars take aim at the vacuous billionaire and take him down a few pegs?
No, no and no. None of those things happened.
Donald Trump reminds me so much of the old-school cartoon character Dennis the Menace. Yes, of course, his bizarre comb-over is almost identical to Dennis’s cartoon hair, but that’s just the part you can see. Their mindsets are also frighteningly similar. Neither of them are completely stupid, although that statement gives Trump the benefit of the doubt, but both of them trade in mischief, just for the hell of it.
Trump’s glee was evident when the first loaded question of the night was lobbed to all ten hopefuls. Nobody was going to step into the saber-toothed trap of refusing to pledge his allegiance to the winning candidate or to the venerable party in general. Nobody except Dennis the Trump.
Obviously accustomed to the kind of “gotcha” bargaining he displayed on his canceled Celebrity Apprentice, Trump is using his deceptively harsh managerial tactics on the GOP. He seems to say – no, he actually said — something that amounts to “Mess with me and my frontrunner status, and I will split the party in two, pansies!”
Among all the well-coached and anti-Obama/Hillary talking-point spewers, only Trump behaved like an obstreperous man-child, refusing to respond to all questions with any hint of substance or seriousness. He talked in nebulous terms of his knowledge of the southern-US border problems, referring to the mysterious “people I talked to” as his basis in fact. He promised he’d build a “big, beautiful door” in the massive wall he plans to construct to keep out those dreaded aliens he described once as criminals and rapists. To listen to him babble, one would think he possesses magic powers that would Make America Great Again without so much as a single shred of intelligence or planning. It was quite a show. Not even the boisterous boos from the audience, which occurred within the first minute of the telecast when he raised his hand in defiance of the Fox News Loyalty Pledge, ruffled his helmeted head. He plowed along as if at the wheel of a bulldozer.
Donald Trump is destroying all the long-held truths of political campaigns. He is tiresome. He is rude. He is unapologetic about anything he says or does. He regards his ideological flip-flops – things like he was a registered Democrat as recently as 2009, a time at which he was also pro-choice on the abortion issue – as nuisances to simply refuse to explain. Those are examples, in his alleged mind, of the media being “tough on me.” Even when Fox-News-blonde-of-the-hour Megyn Kelly accused him of using blatant misogynistic language many times in the past, Trump chose to embarrass Rosie O’Donnell by saying she was the ONLY one he’s said those things about.
And the audience laughed!!!
Who ARE these people? Are we so disenchanted with the workability of the U.S. government that they are willing to sabotage the entire country for a laugh? On a much lesser scale, I’ve seen this kind of backlash in action, like the high-school brats who decide to elect the nerdiest girl in school as homecoming queen so they could mock her in front of everybody, or the promotion of the least qualified individual in an organization to spite those who feel themselves to be highly qualified.
I’m still not completely sure if Donald Trump is crazy-like-a-fox or just plain stupid. What I AM completely sure of is his total inability to run a small town, much less the massiveness of the United States of America. These supporters of his are amazing me. How far are they willing to go with this charade? Far enough to assure a Democrat in the White House?
Just keep it up, Dennis… er…Donald.
Lezlie Bishop, 70, is a mixed-race woman from the Midwest who has dedicated her retirement years to fighting racism and to turning non-racists into anti-racists. She collaborated on a book, Talking to the Wall, and is currently teaching a weekly seminar on American Racism at her local Senior Center.