Donald Trump has done something, (ok many something’s) that no one has done before. He has turned the GOP presidential nomination process into an unscripted, unrehearsed reality TV series, the real consequences sequel to The Apprentice. The two main differences between this election season’s candidate winnowing process and the television show are that Trump himself could be fired and that public opinion replaces him as the boss.
Like all Trump creations and ideas, this one is beautiful in its deviously clever simplicity. This new show, (we’ll call it The Next President, or TNP) has no producer, the cast members all work for free, there is no single controlling network, no costs of production, and the publicity is unlimited, unpaid for and seemingly non-stop. TNP exists at the expense of others, seeking breaking news for ratings and fame and accordingly, attracting those who are willing to foot the bill in finding it first.
The greatest reward for the man with the most money is in engineered a plan that lets him ride for free. The wealthy’s favorite maneuver is not as commonly assumed conspicuous spending, but to find creative ways in which to achieve what they want while spending nothing. The preservation of wealth allows the Trump’s of the world to sleep better at night.
The Democratic Party has taken a tack that is so completely antithetical to the GOP it is hard to keep from laughing at the contrast. Never producing a serious choice of more than two, as opposed to the GOP sporting some 18 candidates at the outset, the Hillary/Bernie show is more like the old TV series Hee-Haw, seen on a black and white television, circa 1960.
While the Democrats have constantly accused Republican’s of a lack of inclusiveness and a “small tent” mentality, by contrast, Republican candidates were young, old, men, women, black, white and Hispanic, a broad base of diversity as compared with two 70 something retreads preaching a bigger, heavier and more draconian version of what we have suffered under for the past seven years, really the unfolding of nothing more than Obama 2.0.
While fascinating theatre and ripe with all the materials needed to fuel the news/politic junkie’s need for subject matter to critique, ponder and criticize, it’s important to remember that this is not theatre, this is not some reality TV season finale, something to be watched, laughed over and then forgotten, there are real consequences up for grabs here and if you’re laughing and shaking your head as the events unfold, then you’re allowing others to make decisions that will become your reality.
Trump has single handedly forced all of the candidates, from both parties, to speak more candidly, more earnestly, because he has set the tone, the tempo, and the pace of the race. By now, even his harshest critics must realize that underneath the caricature, the bombasticness and the bravado, a genius exists that has transformed the politics of the day. Make of it what you will.