Trump observed

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Front page, The Daily News. (Image via @MotherJones)

Watching Trump is marvellous, a bit like watching Groucho in 1936. He’s not going to get away with this one is he? Jesus, he is, writes Bob Ellis.

TODAY HE pulled in Palin, and it … sort of worked. She has the brash charm of Lucille Ball and the strategic intelligence of Bilko, but under the current “she’s a celebrity, and celebrity’s what we want” rule of the Murdoch Right, she supplied him with the “completion” he needed to nail down the Iowa Christian Lunatic Right for the sixteen or eighteen days he needed it, and here we are.

His persuasiveness is remarkable. All you need in America these days is a good voice, conviction, apparent certitude, and, oh yes, enduring fame. Trump was famous for a decade for his “you’re fired” shows, just as Nixon was for twenty years before he was President for his anti-Commununist crusades – the most famous pro-Communuist President, that is – and Reagan for twenty years a man who slept with monkeys in Hollywood movies before he even mentioned politics.

Fame is all you need. It is an adequate subsitute, in America, for religion.

But … he’s got to be very, very careful with his cheeky-sneer-and-grin tactic, unprecedented since Davy Crockett’s. If the House of Commons won’t let him into England, is he doomed? He might be. America has a long tradition of the self-mocking leader-clown (Mark Twain, Bob Hope, Bill Clinton) and it’s hard to think of one who got the tactic wrong.
He has a lot more rope to hurt himself with than we think. Dick Cheney was allowed, after all, to shoot a friend in mistake for a duck. Gerald Ford injured many golf-playing friends. Dick Nixon was drunk most nights after eleven.
Another question he hasn’t actually addressed is the numbers. He will score a lot of anti-Mexican, anti-Latino Republicans in the next two weeks but the raw numbers he gets versus Hilary’s raw numbers in November will be far, far less because of the Mexican vote and the Afro-American vote and the female vote when it comes to election day.
His “surge” may be seen to be an illusion, an Iowa-illusion, a clown-illusion, a sort of Halloween joke.


Is he likely to be one of those “Goldwater phenomenon” candidates (loud, defeatist slogans, wild cheers from the octogenarian faithful) who cries, loudly, what a few dumb-ass provincial oldies yearn to hear as the ship goes down in the Titanic icebergs of popular inevitability.

And we will see what we shall see.

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