As I've said many times before, I'm not a Trump disciple. I'm not sure whether he has what it takes to be President of the United States. Unless and until I am sure, one way or the other, I'll reserve judgment. (On the other hand, I'm absolutely convinced that Hillary Clinton would be a disastrous President! In 1996 William Safire called her a 'congenital liar'. I've seen nothing in the twenty years since then to make me disagree with him, and her mendacity appears to have extended to what I can only consider wholesale corruption. I think she'd be a real and present danger to the security of this country if she were to be elected or appointed to any office, let alone the Presidency.)
Despite my reservations, I find Mr. Trump worth studying. He's a fascinating combination of attractive and . . . well, let's be honest, repulsive elements. I hope and pray that the former are more numerous and more dominant than the latter! The fact that the US mainstream media are almost universally opposed to him can only be a positive sign, IMHO. Here's how the Telegraph in Britain sees him.
To understand how he came this far, we have to understand that his rise and rise has been down not to politics or philosophy but personality. Donald Trump doesn’t just see himself as a man, he sees himself as a brand. And that’s what he’s been selling his whole life. The election is just one more sales pitch.
. . .
Trump flew a flag so large that it broke local zoning restrictions and the town fined him $250 a day. When the fine had grown to $125,000, Trump sued back, claiming that his First Amendment rights were being denied. A compromise was reached that saw the length of the flagpole lowered – but it remained the highest in town.
That has always been the key to Trump’s success: make an unreasonable demand in order to strike a deal for less but which still leaves him the winner. As he wrote in his 1987 manifesto The Art of the Deal: “Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.”
. . .
As Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal: “Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.” One sure fire way to stay in the limelight is to tinker with politics. He’s been doing it for decades.
The big myth about Trump that needs exploding is the idea that he stumbled into politics without a game plan. Again, that’s branding. The reality is that his carefully choreographed flirtation with the presidency goes back decades.
In 1990, Donald gave an interview with Playboy Magazine that he could easily have given this year. He decried the rise of urban anarchy: “we need the death penalty and authority given back to the police.” He bemoaned the success of Asian economies, charging them – as he does today – with currency manipulation. They did it and got away with it, he said, because they had the balls to try: “People need ego, whole nations need ego. I think our country needs more ego, because it is being ripped off so badly by our so-called allies.”
The interviewer asked if Donald would ever run for president and he said no – but if he did then it would be as a Democrat. Not because he was Left-wing but because he suspected he’d appeal more to the Democrats’ working-class base: “the working guy would elect me. He likes me. When I walk down the street, those cabbies start yelling out their windows.”
. . .
... when he declared his candidacy on June 16, Trump was not – as he and the pundits claimed – some complete newcomer who had accidentally tapped into a spirit of rebellion. He was a serious political operative with talking points that had been rigorously tested by pollsters.
He would, he said, end illegal Mexican immigration – and he’d do it by doing what he’d spent his whole life doing. He’d build a wall. By the end of the year, Trump was far ahead in the polls.
Behind that success was a brilliant media strategy, a strategy designed to look naïve. One academic study calculated that Trump’s limited and repetitive use of simple words – wall, great, horrible – gives him the vocabulary level of an eight-year-old. But any accusation of idiocy doesn’t reflect the level of sophistication in Trump’s writings, earlier interviews or his moderate academic success.
It’s more likely that he’s deploying language that experience and polling tells him works very well – words that can be fired like bullets over Twitter. An analysis by Politico found that he Tweets “more adjectives” than any primary candidate bar one, and that they are overwhelmingly rude and directed at other people. He called Jeb Bush “weak” six times during his campaign; Ted Cruz “nasty” four times; Mitt Romney “failed” nine times; and Marco Rubio “lightweight” 47 times. His favourite pejorative is “sad”, which he has used 159 times since 2009.
Another myth about Trump is that he’s anti-press, that as president he might even try to censor it. Yet no candidate before or since has been happier to hold press conferences and take questions. One study found that in the course of a year, Trump made 68 appearances on Sunday talk shows, while Clinton did just 21.
. . .
As the primaries came to an end, it emerged that Trump was running low on cash. Now he has to rely upon the help of the Republican Party to keep afloat, one of the great ironies of this election ... But don’t be surprised if Trump takes the Republicans’ money and then campaigns on his own terms. Why wouldn’t he? He has so far defied the rules of American politics and has succeeded because, for all his many flaws, his instincts are far closer to those of the average American than his rivals can match. Ultimately, Trump has won votes for the same reason that he’s been a success in business. The sales pitch has been smart and many people rather like the product.
There's more at the link.
Whatever Mr. Trump decides to do next, I figure it's going to be interesting!