What shivers of terror, peals of hilarity, waves of awe and fascination are summoned upon hearing the words Donald J. Trump. He is a behemoth of the media, a brash jingoistic pumpkin resplendent in shiny suits and an eternal inhabitant of leading headlines – the fact remains, there is no avoiding this eccentric bigot.
In an era of hyperactive public scrutiny, politicians are oftentimes illustrated as false, edited, filtered puppets swinging with public favour with no genuine opinion of their own. Case in point being one Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose historic inconsistencies regarding her stance on same-sex marriage is just one example of her wayward people-pleasing.
In 2004 she claimed marriage was the “sacred bond between a man and a woman,” only to outwardly sing the praises of same-sex marriage in 2013 once public sway had made the opinion fashionable. Not so Mr. Trump. For a generation of disenchanted, white middle-class Americans embittered by the loss of employment to foreign markets, particularly to China as Trump heartily reminds us, it is a refreshing irregularity to have a man so boldly and fearlessly vocalise what he believes to be the damages affecting his country. He is the mouthpiece of the angry, disenfranchised white American, standing alone from the back-patting self-congratulatory Clinton dynasty, from which Hillary has so profitably emerged.
Basking within an election campaign funded by his own personal wealth, Trump grandly presents himself as the self-made man and thus is afforded the right to speak personally, unneutered by the safe sycophancy of his more conservative, and more forgettable, peers. One need only watch footage of Trump’s domination of the lackadaisical Jeb Bush in earlier debates to understand the man’s command of confidence and fluent bravado.
What’s more, his employment of body language serves his aggressive doctrine to great effect. My father has been a salesman since 1982 and I have first-hand proof of the brilliance of body language – the energetic hand motions, the use of a pointing finger to emphasise a statement, the erect posture. Trump is a salesman, here utilising his skills inherited as a property magnate to sell to the American people his vision of an America that can once again be made great: one that paradoxically overlooks its immigrant history and instead shoehorns in a vitriolic future cleansed of Muslims and Mexicans, isolated by a ludicrous wall.
Yet it is Trump’s mastery of media exposure, expanding upon his celebrity status earned in a decade-long tenure as host of The Apprentice, that has granted him unfailing coverage and international attention. One as hysterically extroverted as Trump, one so eerily enthused and bereft of noticeable physical ailment, can only thrive on his podium and emerge from every scandal unscathed. What would annihilate weaker personalities seems only to invigorate Trump, who delights in the widened exposure his misdeeds grant him.
After all, to be mocked is far better than to be ignored.