Donald Trump

The Secret of Donald Trump's Charisma

Watching the candidate find his positions is like watching a man tune a radio.

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Trump on the stump
Reason

Glenn Thrush had a pretty good line this morning about Donald Trump's presidential campaign:

Trump may be the ultimate it's-all-about-me candidate, but the piercing paradox of 2016 is that it actually isn't about him—but about his ability to capture the mood of his voters, and that, more than anything, explains his pundit-defying durability.

That ability to capture his niche's mood isn't—or isn't always—an instantaneous, instinctual thing. Sometimes you can actually watch the process happen. Think of all the times Trump has changed his political positions. I don't mean the many ideas he jettisoned before the campaign began, like his former support for legal abortion; I mean his everyday reactions to events in the news, as when he shifted within weeks from saying Americans "have to" bring in Syrian refugees to saying "we should help, but I think we should be very careful" to declaring "If I win, they're going back." Watching Trump find his position is like watching a man tune a radio, gradually discovering the place where his fans want him to be and then making it his home.

The sheer shamelessness of Trump's flip-flopping surely helps him more than it hurts: It advertises just how willing he is to be a vehicle for his supporters' opinions. It also says something about the way political charisma works. As James C. Scott wrote in Domination and the Arts of Resistance,

Not how it works
Johnson Smith & Co.

Charisma, as it is normally understood, has a suspect air of manipulation about it. In ordinary usage, it suggests that someone possesses a personal quality or aura that touches a secret nerve that makes others surrender their will and follow. The term personal magnetism is frequently used, as if charismatic figures had a force that aligned followers like so many iron filings caught in their field of force. I would not want to deny that instances of charisma along those lines exist, but the complete surrender of personal will to a figure of power is, I believe, a comparatively rare and marginal phenomenon….

As sociologists are fond of pointing out, the relational character of charisma means that one "has charisma" only to the extent that others confer it upon one; it is their attribution of charisma that establishes the relationship. We know, as well, that such relationships are often highly specific and relational. What is charismatic for one audience is not compelling for another; what works in one culture falls flat in another.

From this perspective, it is the cultural and social expectations of followers that exercise a controlling or at least limiting influence over the would-be charismatic figure.

Trump is using his nationalist fan base to try to win the Republican presidential nomination; Trump's fan base is using him to bring its worldview onto the political stage. Whether or not Trump succeeds, his fans already have.

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185 responses to “The Secret of Donald Trump's Charisma

  1. “Charisma”

    I liken it to a musk ox mating bellow.

  2. The secret to his success is that he says things most of the country believes but the media and political class won’t say. It is really that simple. Most of the country thinks illegal immigration is a problem and deportation at least part of the solution. Most of the country sees Islam as a problem and doesn’t buy the “Islam is peace” and “terrorism has nothing to do with Islam” bullshit the media and political class puts out. Trump just articulates these positions in a blunt manner. This of course causes the media to flip out, which in turn makes him more popular because people resent the hell out of the media for trying to dictate what can and cannot be said.

    Basically, Trump is a master showman and troll. He is likely the greatest troll in history as he is trolling the entire media and political class.

    1. Yes – the media would forgive his mannerisms and his demagoguery if he had the right views.

      1. Absolutely. The problem for the country is that Trump’s rise is the completely expected result of the media lying so much for Obama. The right more than anything wants revenge for what the media did under Obama and the rest of the country knows the media are hacks and just doesn’t care when they get outraged over Trump. Trump is a no kidding populist demagogue, though a fairly harmless one as populist demagogues go, and the media is powerless to stop him because they pissed away all their credibility dragging Obama’s sorry ass into office.

        1. I think there’s a lot of people who can’t stand Trump, but love watching the Left and the media lose their shit over him.

          1. *raises hand*

            1. *Licks syrup off hand, raises it*

            2. ditto.

              If I want to hate Trump I just have to watch him talk about anything.

              If I want to like him, I just have to watch the asshole punditry discuss him.

          2. Totally. Or to the extent they can’t stand Trump, don’t dislike him any more than any other politician. Yeah, Trump doesn’t always mean what he says and likely won’t follow through on a lot of it. Basically, that means he is like every other politician in America. It is funny to watch the media act like that is some kind of a big deal to people.

          3. Yeah and the beauty of that is that Trump is not a guy who is afraid of them. Here they have a guy who seems immune to their typical lowlife attacks like they did with Palin. That shit is not going to work on Trump.

            Will be interesting also to watch Fox News side with Hillary if he gets the nomination. How the fuck they are going to make that work I don’t even know.

            1. That will be interesting Hyperion. Make no mistake Fox is not conservative nor really even particularly pro Republican. They will loath life if Trump were to win the nomination.

            2. Fox News side with Hillary?? That will never happen. They’ll suck it up and find things to like about Trump.

              BTW, John’s analysis is spot-on IMO.

              1. Fox News side with Hillary?? That will never happen. They’ll suck it up and find things to like about Trump.

                Hillary is Fox News dream candidate, just on the wrong team. No one is going to out war monger Hillary and war mongering gives all the talking heads at Fox a tingle up their leg.

                1. I don’t know how you get the idea that the main motivation of Fox News/Roger Ailes is “war-mongering.” They have done that, but it’s not their reason for existing. Their reason for existing is to oppose politicians like Hillary.

                  1. Their reason for existing is to oppose politicians like Hillary

                    Yeah right. Their mission is to oppose establishment politicians. That’s real funny.

                    1. Their mission is to oppose Democratic politicians.

            3. Yeah and the beauty of that is that Trump is not a guy who is afraid of them. Here they have a guy who seems immune to their typical lowlife attacks like they did with Palin. That shit is not going to work on Trump

              Trump’s learned one of the critical secrets of the current culture–never, EVER apologize or grovel when you say something that gets people in a lather. And if you contradict yourself, shrug it off and move on, because the news cycle inevitably moves to something else too.

              And John’s right about Trump’s staying power being attributable to his voicing of non-media-approved narratives–it takes someone with “fuck you” money and a massive ego to get away with saying things that would get ordinary shitlords fired from their jobs. Even people who likely won’t vote for him don’t particularly mind that he’s pissing off so many of our self-styled cultural and media mandarins.

              1. Trump’s learned one of the critical secrets of the current culture–never, EVER apologize or grovel when you say something that gets people in a lather

                This is a big part of his success. People have been secretly yearning for years for someone, anyone who will do just that.

    2. You’re largely right.

      But, I think there’s more to it than you suggest. Most people also don’t believe the bullshit Trump is spewing. Yes, immigration is an issue. Yes, so is Islam. But, most people don’t want to end immigration (and don’t give me the bullshit about illegal immigration. Trump has called for drastically scaling back H1-Bs and putting a “pause” on legal immigration.) Most people understand that, even if Islam has some serious problems, most individual Muslims are decent enough sorts.

      What Trump is very good at doing is setting a “us and them” mentality in a lot of people who agree with him. If you disagree with Trump just a bit, for his supporters you’re one of “them” (either the establishment or leftists or whatever). I don’t think all of that can be put down as resentment of the media trying to dictate what can be said.

      1. I think there is a lot of us and them going on. But I think you are wrong if you think most people are fine with ending immigration and wouldn’t be okay with putting some real restrictions on Muslims, like no longer allowing Muslims to immigrate and keeping track of what is said in Mosques. People do support those things and hate it that the media and political class refuses to even discuss the problems and issues associated with them seriously.

        1. People do support those things…

          Some people do. But probably not nearly a majority. Probably not even most of the people backing Trump, if you ask them about those things individually. They’re just drinking the Kool-Aid because, like you suggest, he’s willing to validate their concerns.

          Let’s put it this way. Let’s say you’re taking a lot less hardline a stance than Trump on the issues. Let’s say you think we should be generous on legal immigration and tough on illegal immigration. With regard to Islam, maybe you think we should apply really strict screening of anyone entering the majority-Muslim country. But that’s it. No spying on mosques. No forbidding immigration.

          So, you’re basically a lot more moderate than Donald Trump.

          Well, the media mavens and a wide swath of the political class is still treating you like you’re an Islamophobic bigot who also hates Mexicans. On the other hand, Trump is coming around saying you’re right to be concerned.

      2. “Most people understand that, even if Islam has some serious problems, most individual Muslims are decent enough sorts.”

        Even on September 12, 2001, that would probably be a true statement, but after 14+ years of Islamic barbarism day after day on the news, I think a lot of people probably have downgraded from “most” to “a significant percentage”. At least if you’re talking globally.

    3. Additionally, the press publishes the things Trump says thinking that most people will disagree with them and reject him, rather than sound-biting his words to make them seem to say something else. IOW, the press is letting him speak directly and that helps him more than they can understand. As you said, Trump really is a great troll.

    4. So basically what Jesse is saying, if we take “most of the country” to mean ~30% of likely GOP primary voters.

      Yawn.

  3. You know who else had charisma?

    1. Anyone who rolls an 18 when determining his Charisma?

      1. Or gets lucky with a Deck of Many Things. Plus then you get a small keep. Hm… the beginnings of a real estate empire, perhaps?

        1. Fine Numenorian real estate! And you’re insured against everything except acts of God!

          1. I’m looking for an atheist insurance company.

    2. Frank Sinatra.

    3. Boadicea?

    4. Arnold the pig?

      1. Ziffel, Arnold Ziffel.

        A little respect!

        1. Yes. Arnold Ziffel. Respect to our porcine brother.

    5. Jesus Christ?

    6. Charisma Carpenter?

      1. Charisma Carpenter has a lot more that just charisma.

        1. If I know what you’re saying, and I think I do…

      2. She’s my brother in laws cousin, I haven’t met her yet though.

      3. That girl gets around with how many people claim to have had Charisma.

  4. “That ability to capture his niche’s mood isn’t?or isn’t always?an instantaneous, instinctual thing. Sometimes you can actually watch the process happen.

    ….

    The sheer shamelessness of Trump’s flip-flopping surely helps him more than it hurts: It advertises just how willing he is to be a vehicle for his supporters’ opinions.

    Substitute the name [Howard Stern] in for Trump in that quote, and it all means the exact same thing.

    I am so glad to see someone at Reason write an article about Trump that doesn’t sound like some MSM personality reacting to whatever stupid thing Howard Stern said the day before.

    I don’t think Trump’s supporters care about what he thinks. I think they care about the way he says it. Again, like with Howard Stern, his supporters like his air of authenticity–even if he’s just authentically idiotic. And they also like it that he drives the tired, old MSM crazy. If Trump could get fired from NBC, like Howard did, and harassed by the FCC, they’d like him even more.

    1. I don’t think Trump’s supporters care about what he thinks. I think they care about the way he says it.

      I don’t disagree.

      But, apparently, Republican voters are truly stupid enough to base their support for a presidential candidate on outspokenness alone, as he’s otherwise a complete buffoon.

      1. Stated, not revealed preference. He isn’t kicking everyone’s ass at fundraising and no one has pulled a lever for him yet.

        1. I agree. The coverage he gets is all free advertising.

          If he had to spend his own money, he’d drop out of the race.

          The establishment Republican donors aren’t about to open their wallets for Trump, and Trump the billionaire asking his grass roots supporters for small donations would be ludicrous.

          If the media stopped taking every stupid thing Trump says seriously, he’d have to drop out of the race.

          Meanwhile, in the last survey I saw, twice as many registered Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for him because they don’t like him than said they supported him for the nomination.

          The only people who are taking Trump seriously are journalists and people who like to laugh at journalists.

        2. The only ass available is primary polling and he’s kicking that with no visible fundraising.

      2. Are you saying they have the audacity of hope?

        1. It takes a village to generate poll results.

  5. I guess it’s a testament to just how out-of-step I am with the contemporary statist political world we live in that I just don’t see one iota of charisma in Trump. To me, he just seems like an empty-headed blowhard who believes in nothing except his own narcissism. For that matter, I scratched my head equally over Obama’s supposed “charisma.” Other than the novelty factor of his mixed race background, I saw nothing to distinguish him over the very mediocre past presidents. Even his much-vaunted speaking skills, so often contrasted to stumbling, tongue-tied Bush, are below average the moment he’s without a teleprompter.

    About the only recent political figure I find had any charisma was Bill Clinton, as much as I disagreed with most of what he did while in office. I will acknowledge that he had a certain folksy charm that made him hard to hate even when you knew he was bullshitting everyone. He had a certain sly quality that sorta said, “Yeah, you know and I know I’m just another blowhard lying politician, but let’s have fun with it anyway.” His wife has NOTHING of that, however. She has about as much charm as an abandoned, rain-soaked tube sock lying on the shoulder of a road.

    1. You don’t see his charisma because he doesn’t have any of his own. He is not succeeding because he is good looking or charming or well spoken or any of the personal qualities you normally associated with charisma. He is succeeding because he has made his message charismatic and him the same by extension. His message is “screw the media and the political class”. That message is very charismatic to a lot of people.

      1. “screw the media and the political class”.

        I can get behind that simple message. Yet I can’t stand Trump.

        1. Unfortunately, he’s the only one really saying it. The rank and file despise people like Jeb and Rubio for the exact reason that they know those guys will be “go along to get along” types that they don’t want to see running the GOP. The Dem candidates don’t have to say it because they know damn well the media would never press them on anything of substance, and because their campaign/staff media flacks are so incestuously tied to their newsrooms.

      2. I think there is a lot to Scott Adams’ view that Trump is a “master wizard” who is using hypnosis/NLP techniques to persuade people.

        1. I think Adams’ theory is overblown. There isn’t anything magical about a media celebrity telling the status quo to “go fuck yourself.”

          1. Read Scott’s blog. There’s more to it than that.

        2. And people called me a conspiracy theory nut for suggesting that just maybe Trump really is running because Bill Clinton encouraged him to run and throw the presidency for Hillary.

          I think that might be just a slightly more credible viewpoint than Trump being a grand wizard and hypnotizing people, lol.

          1. I don’t think Trump is in this to play patsy for the Clintons. People with that many accomplishments and that big an ego don’t put this much effort into becoming a national “loser” as a favor to a golf buddy. Trump is also not going to tick off millions of his fans.

            Bill may have encouraged Trump to run thinking it would help Hillary, but I think Trump’s running for his own reasons. He’d be happy to outfox the Clintons.

            1. Let’s just say it is true. Then Trump is in a no lose position. He wins, he’s POTUS. He loses, he gets mega crony bucks from the new Clinton administration for the favor he just did.

              So maybe he got into it for one reason and then thought ‘well, what if I win, what’s in that for me?’.

              1. That’s more plausible, but win-win is not the same as taking a dive.

    2. I guess it’s a testament to just how out-of-step I am with the contemporary statist political world we live in that I just don’t see one iota of charisma in Trump.

      I don’t either?the surprising thing for me about the Trump campaign isn’t that someone with his platform is succeeding, it’s that this is the guy with that platform who’s succeeding. But as Scott said: “such relationships are often highly specific and relational. What is charismatic for one audience is not compelling for another; what works in one culture falls flat in another.”

    3. “he just seems like an empty-headed blowhard who believes in nothing except his own narcissism.”

      That does not distinguish him from the rest of the political class.

      What does distinguish him is his ‘blunt’ matter, or tactlessness, if you want to call it that. It does make him stand out from the usual ‘I don’t want to offend anybody’ politician, which appeals to many people. (Sanders does a bit of the same from the other end of the conventional spectrum.)

      The problem is that governing means you have to get some cooperation from the other side and from those in the middle. If you piss off everybody, you cannot govern.

      Trump is like the embarrassing uncle who shows up at Christmas dinner and makes bigoted remarks even though your black girlfriend is sitting at the table with you.

      1. Trump is like the embarrassing uncle who shows up at Christmas dinner and makes bigoted remarks even though your black girlfriend is sitting at the table with you.

        And then tells people that that never happened and that in fact she wasn’t even there, and that he has a bunch of people who weren’t even invited to family Christmas but are willing to bolster his side of the story.

        1. He was drunk at the time… sheesh!

      2. Trump is a boor, i.e. the guy tactless enough to say out loud what lots of people think.

      3. If you piss off everybody, you cannot govern.

        I’m OK with that.

        1. Libertarian moment.

    4. His wife has NOTHING of that, however. She has about as much charm as an abandoned, rain-soaked tube sock lying on the shoulder of a road.

      And that rain-soaked tube sock will provide comfort to a homeless person once dried out… both the sock and the homeless person.

      Why do you hate the homeless?

  6. Hope and Change

    1. TEAM RED needs their own Obama, or else things just aren’t properly balanced.

      1. Trump’s base of support is not really Team Red Partisans. It is the great hoard of low information voters who have sat out the last few elections. Republicans like to tell themselves that there were millions of conservative voters who stayed home in 08 and 12. That is not true. Conservative voters turned out in the same numbers they always had. What happened was Obama got a whole bunch of minorities and young people and other generally low information voters who didn’t normally vote to show up and vote for him.

        Trump is doing the same thing only with different low information voters. The Trump voters are not particularly conservative. It is funny as hell to hear conservative writers try and attack Trump by showing how he is not a conservative, as if his supporters care or generally are conservative themselves. His supporters feel strongly about the country being strong and about immigration and the threat of Islam and are also often pulled in by the celebrity aspect. Other than that, they are a hodgepodge including being pretty pro big government on a lot of issues. What they are not is generally partisan Republicans or Conservatives or even people who generally vote.

        1. So…you agree with me? I can’t tell.

          1. I agree with you a lot more than I used to. You are absolutely right that for most people, and especially partisans of any stripe, political ideology is a positional good. Most people don’t have time or are too lazy to be informed enough to make a real reasoned choice. So they choose based on brand. They worry most about what other people think and depending on the impression they want to make choose a political ideology that makes that impression. The whole point is to feel better about themselves and to be able to give the finger to people they don’t like.

            It is not all like that. But a lot of it is and a lot more of it than I previously thought. You are dead right about that. Took me a while to really get what you were saying. But once I did, I realized you had a very good point.

            1. Well…that’s pretty cool. Glad to see you agreeing with me on this. It’s useful to recognize when people are doing shit for reasons very different from what they claim, and to understand what their real motivations are as opposed to what they say they are.

              1. The biggest mistake I and a lot of other people make is assuming everyone is just like me. They are not. Doesn’t make me better than they are. Who knows maybe they are the smart ones. But they are not the same and it does no good to pretend they are.

                1. That’s a good attitude to have, John.

                2. The biggest mistake I and a lot of other people make is assuming everyone is just like me. They are not.

                  It gets annoying and tedious when you project that onto people. Some of us figured that out a long time ago.

              2. I still don’t agree with you Episiarch. On principle!

                1. That’s a good attitude to have, Paul.

                  1. I disagree with the Seahawks beating my Steelers. But our secondary sucked and no amount of whining will change the outcome. Good luck to your team on the home stretch.

                2. And I refuse to agree with Epi on principal.

        2. There is definitely truth to this.

          What is pathetic (and this isn’t meant as an insult john) is that of the hundreds (or thousands) of articles written about Trump, no one in the media has put it quite this well.

        3. I don’t think all of Trump’s supporters sat out the last elections. I see Tea Party types and, more interestingly, some black support that I’d bet voted for Obama in 2008 at least.

        4. Well Romney got fewer votes than McCain did.

          If Romney would have gotten the same number of votes than McCain he wouold have won the popular vote, I don’t now about the electoral though and that is of course the only one that matters.

          So maybe there were a lot of people sitting home because Romney didn’t/couldn’t fire up the base ?

          I remember him making no effort to reach out to Tea Partiers or Ron Paul voters.

          1. The GOP establishment hate libertarians more than they hate the progressive left. Why would they try to reach out to them? How could they?

          2. Wrong, Romney got about 1 million more votes, 59.98 million (McCain) v 60.93 million (Romney). This seems to be a popular delusion.

        5. Sure l’m a low-information voter. I read Reason, what did you expect?

  7. Donald Trump listens to Howard Stern every day, and he’s been a frequent guest on the show for years. Saying outrageous shit that generates coverage is the only way Trump can stay in the race without spending his own money–just like Howard Stern made himself a household name without spending any of his radio station’s money.

    When I was a kid in DC, there was an Air Florida flight that crashed into the 14th Street Bridge. The survivors all ended up screaming for their lives in the ice covered Potomac. The next day, on the air, Howard called up Air Florida and tried to book a flight from National Airport to the 14th Street Bridge. The local media got so upset that he’d made jokes about it–that the national media started paying attention to him.

    I remember his first appearance on local TV, there had been a rumor that his sidekick Robin might be black, which was extremely controversial in the white suburbs given that DC had the most extreme case of white flight ever. 90%+ of downtown was black. Howard showed up in black face on TV, and the denouncing headlines were so big, Robin being black became completely insignificant.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y2JpjHoPUs

    1. Before any journalist writes a piece that takes anything Trump says seriously, they should picture Howard Stern in black face on the Petey Green Show and imagine how stupid they’d look if they wrote a piece taking something black face Howard said seriously.

      Donald Trump on every issue should be taken as seriously as Howard Stern in black face. It’s the exact same thing.

      And the joke is on every journalist that takes any of it seriously. Trump’s supporters are just laughing at the media.

      Whenever they answer a survey saying they’ll support Donald Trump, to them it’s like calling up Larry King’s show and yelling “Baba Booey”.

      1. What’s with all the Howard Stern references lately? I used to be a fan myself, so I’m not complaining but it’s just odd that you keep bringing him up lately.

        1. It seems appropriate in this situation, since Trump is the apparent shock jock of politics at the moment.

          1. I’d put Trump more in the “sad weasel” category.

            1. I think the sad weasel died on his head 🙁

              1. So this POTUS race will come down to a dude with a dead weasel on his head and an old woman with a bigger dead weasel on her head?

                1. I think having a live weasel on her arm may prove decisive.

                  1. I think having a live weasel on her arm may prove decisive.

                    +1 Pauly Shore

                2. The ‘dead weasel’ is between her legs

        2. Yes, it’s because Donald Trump really is Howard Stern, and his stupid stunts shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than Howard Stern.

          The reason I keep bringing up the truth is because it’s the truth.

          I really congratulate Walker for not getting trolled by Trump like Dalmia, Gillespie, Welch, and Bailey did.

          Anyway, Trump is truly, honestly, absolutely, certainly, clearly, specifically, emulating Howard Stern–on purpose–in order to generate media attention. And seeing the media get trolled this way would be hilarious–if it weren’t playing right into the hand of that neo-con socialist, Hillary Clinton.

          If the media would stop pumping air into Trump’s campaign, he’d have to spend his own money, and he’d be gone right now, and instead of talking about Trump, America might be having a conversation about why Rand Paul is a better candidate than Ben Carson.

          1. I see what you mean. I still find the comparison wanting, though. Stern, especially in his heyday, was The Ultimate Troll – he could stir up outrage and milk every last drop of publicity out of it but do it subtly enough to still retain the heroic rebel image. Outrage was a violin and he was Paganini. Trump just lumbers around and says stupid shit until something pisses someone off and doesn’t even really follow it up – he just coasts from one thing to another.

            1. Howard is vastly more talented and sophisticated than Trump. Howard may be crude as shit, but he is an absolute artist in the way he is crude as shit.

              1. Indeed. There is a method to Stern’s madness that The Donald totally lacks.

            2. “I see what you mean. I still find the comparison wanting, though. Stern, especially in his heyday, was The Ultimate Troll – he could stir up outrage and milk every last drop of publicity out of it but do it subtly enough to still retain the heroic rebel image.”

              Please look at the video I linked of Howard in black face.

              Here it is again:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y2JpjHoPUs

              And then reread what you wrote about Howard being subtle enough to retain his heroic rebel image.

              1. Please note that Petey Green may look like a character from a blaxsploitation skit on a MadTV episode, but he’s actually 100% legitimate. That’s just how black intellectual holdovers from the ’70s really looked back then.

                This was not a comedy skit.

                This show was like Tavis Smiley circa 1982. This show was like Charlie Rose. The next guest after Howard may have been Cornell West, Jesse Jackson, or Alex Haley. Howard is “aping” black intellectuals…subtlety?!

                1. I’m not saying his act was subtle in itself. I’m saying the way he manipulated outrage and the outraged to his own benefit was. Part of his talent lay in knowing how to calm things down or rile things up, to play conciliatory, then play defiant – whichever was needed to get the most out of a situation. It was all an act but you had to look (well, listen) closely to really see it for what it was. I’m not saying this to knock the guy, really. It was an act, but a fun one.

  8. like watching a man tune a radio

    A What? Ok yeah, radio still exists, but they haven’t used analog tuning since I was a kid, cmon.

    Watching Trump is more like watching someone adjust their UHF antenna. Or adjust their carburetor.

    1. Watching trump is like watching a man change his horse in midstream, to which the man can lead said horse but cannot make the horse drink from because it’s all contaminated by the EPA who are trying to sell it as a lubricant for gay wedding participants who are hungry for Christian wedding cakes baked by people who shoot abortionists who murder babies who might grow up to be cops who shoot dogs from the saddles of their thirsty horses.

  9. Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a Donald article. I haven’t changed my opinion of him since the start and I won’t. The guy is a blowhard who says whatever he thinks will get him some more attention. The secret to his success is that he’s not afraid to say something, whatever it is, while all of the other candidates are terrified of saying the wrong thing. Trump himself does not understand how this works. He is probably just as shocked as anyone else that he’s polling so well. I think he believes himself when he says he’s a master brander. What does that even mean? He doesn’t have a clue.

    I don’t really know what we are getting if this guy becomes president, which I still doubt. I don’t think that Donald knows the answer to that either. But then again, we’ve had a guy in office for 7 years that doesn’t have the least clue what he’s doing.

    The difference is that at least Obama understands his own stand on politics as a hardcore leftist. The Donald doesn’t really have a political ideology, he’s just an actor doing what he knows how to do. So I think with him as president, you can’t really know what he will do anymore than you can predict the weather a year out. Maybe that will make things at least interesting again. With Obama, you can always predict exactly what he will do. With Trump, that will be almost impossible.

    1. I agree with Roger Simon. Simon says Trump is just negotiating. In business you negotiate by asking for three times what you actually expect to get and then negotiate down from there. That way you are assured of getting the most the other side will offer and don’t sell yourself short. So when Trump says something like “I will deport 11 million illegals in two years”, he knows that is not going to happen. He says that not to actually get it but to pull the debate towards what he wants and to make whatever he might bet look reasonable by comparison.

  10. Ronald Reagan was once called the “Teflon President,” which reflected how a plethora of scandals surrounding his Presidency seemed to have no effect on his individual popularity with the public. I guess you have to call Trump the “Teflon Candidate.” He can say ANYTHING nutty or insulting, and his supporters just laugh it off. Apparently a HUGE number of Republican voters have COMPLETELY lost their minds.

    1. What I’d like to get across to people is that Trump’s popularity* isn’t in spite of all the outrageous shit he says. To whatever extent Trump is popular*, it’s because the shit he says is outrageous. The people who are sick of the politically correct era we live in are glad to hear people say things that aren’t PC.

      *Trump isn’t popular–not even among a majority of registered Republicans. He’s just extremely well covered in the media and he was topping 25% (among registered Republicans) in the polls. If 75% of registered Republicans, who know as much about him as anybody needs to, definitely would rather nominate someone else, then I don’t know how we can say he’s popular.

      He has a lot of name recognition. We can say that. Judging by the polls, however, if anything, he’s distinctly unpopular. Last poll I saw, about 50% of registered Republicans said they would not vote for Trump. By way of comparison, some 6% of registered Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for Ben Carson.

      1. Yeah, I’ve said before that I’m convinced that Trump has a pretty low ceiling. He may be polling between 25-30%, but I don’t think he can get much higher than that. Traditional and establishment Republicans have split their support among a handful of candidates, but will (I hope) eventually coalesce around one or two that are acceptable to the party leaders (likely Rubio, Kasich or Christie, I expect, though I will probably be proven wrong).

        Anyone who is going to vote for someone like Trump has already been won over. No one is torn between Trump and [insert any other candidate here, with the possible exception of Cruz].

        1. The establishment wants Bush or Rubio. Bush cannot win, so I look for them to put all their weight behind Rubio.

          Christie? You’re joking, right?

          1. I’m not ready to count Christie out just yet. He’s pro-drug war, pro-security state, has a reputation for telling lefties to fuck off, and carries himself well in debates and speeches. I wouldn’t call him the favorite by any stretch, but I think it’d be a mistake to ignore him.

            1. Count him out. Being a giant fucking asshole is perfectly normal in New Jersey, but outside of that state, he’ll be about as popular as mold.

            2. Anyone who discounts Cruz is not doing themselves a favor.

              Recent polls have him neck and neck with Trump in Iowa with carson a distant third.

              Cruz has more money than anyone not named Bush and Cruz’s war chest is growing while Bush’s isn’t.

              I don’t think Christie has even a slim chance.

              1. I wouldn’t count Cruz out, but he would lose to Hillary, so why nominate him? I would like him if he would leave religion out of politics, but he can’t seem to do that.

                1. Why do you say that ?

                  Why does he have any less chance to beat Hilliary than ony other GOPer ?

                  I just don’t see any crossover.

                  I happe to have a little insider info on Cruz. I know someone who is very smart and very well educated who has been a close friend of Cruz for 15 years. He is close enough that they have had beers at the same deer camp cookfire. Cruz has more libertarian (little L ) in him than he is making public until after the nomination. You can expect to see pot rescueduled at a minimum if he is elected. According to my friend Cruz has said privately that the wasted lives and money spent on the War On Pot is senseless. Also he is very anti asset forfiture.

              2. I don’t think Christie has even a slim chance.

                He’ll throw his weight behind a more electable candidate soon.

                1. He’s running for Vice President.

                  If you want support from swing voters in the Northeast, he might help your ticket.

                  If you’ve already written off the Northeast, …

                2. He does carry a lot of weight in certain areas.

          2. Rubio can’t win either. Too many GOP voters like Trump’s position on immigration and view Rubio as McCain-lite.

      2. If 75% of registered Republicans, who know as much about him as anybody needs to, definitely would rather nominate someone else, then I don’t know how we can say he’s popular.

        This line of argument doesn’t sound any more lame when Democrats use it when they lose elections. “Well, that Repuke shitlord only won because not enough people showed up to vote against him! He really only has 15% support!”

        Trump doesn’t need more than 25% of the vote if that’s all it takes to win the nomination. The GOP donor class was going to try this tactic to get Jeb nominated until Trump went after him and showed that most of the GOP voters are actually sick of the Bushes.

        1. If 50% of registered Republicans, when surveyed, say “No, I won’t vote for him”, then what do you mean when you say he’s “popular”?

          If he’s not popular with the registered Republicans he’s campaigning to impress, then with whom is he popular?

          1. If 50% of registered Republicans, when surveyed, say “No, I won’t vote for him”, then what do you mean when you say he’s “popular”?

            Did you even read what I posted? I didn’t say he’s “popular” in any word in that comment. This is what I said:

            Trump doesn’t need more than 25% of the vote if that’s all it takes to win the nomination.

            It doesn’t matter a whit if he’s “popular” with the rest of the GOP or not, if 25% is all he needs to win the nomination. Then the true test becomes, will the “loyalty oath” the RNC made all the candidates sign still apply? I suspect the reason they did that was because they were afraid of Trump going 3rd party, and didn’t even take into account the high probability at this point that he might actually win the nom outright. So if he gets the nom, do they go back on their loyalty oath and piss off the rank and file even more?

            And why are you assuming that ALL the other 75% won’t vote for Trump if he’s the candidate? He might not be “popular,” but do you really think the GOP voters are going to be turned off even more if he rips into Hillary and the media during the general?

  11. “The last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.”

    1. That piehole really is mesmerizing.

  12. Meh. He’s not charismatic.

    Besides, to me, if people start to put ‘charismatic’ and ‘politician’ together, I’d be cautious because that’s a nice recipe for demagoguery. Up here, we’re seeing a cult of the personality forming around Justin Zoolander based on NOTHING.

    1. Now you know what we’ve been going through for the last eight years.

      1. Oh, I know. I’ve seen the last eight years and impressed I’m not.

    2. Calm down. He’s going to legalize weed. So you can stay stoned through his entire reign and just ignore all the horrific economic havoc he wreaks his subjects. A Molson and a joint will be emblzened on the new flag.

      1. wreaks ‘on’ his subjects.

        1. Apparently, I’ve already given a tribute to our neighbors new flag this morning.

      2. And spend billions and billions ‘fighting’ climate change. May as well shadow box with climate change; you’d probably get better results.

        1. And by spending you mean take it from the peasants and spend it on themselves. That will make climate change a lot more bearable for them. Less so for you peasants.

    3. Wait, when was the last time a Canadian politician had a cult of personality? Pierre Trudeau?

      You need a better class of demagogue.

  13. But his Sherpa, Lopsang, is actually pretty cool.

    1. Lopsang? *squints eyes*

  14. His *what*?

    1. His pianist. He has a tiny pianist!

  15. I will explain to you the secret of Donald Trump’s charisma. He is appealing to the warmonger street fighting soul of America:

    “Ship them back home” – Assurances of doing it ‘humanely’ notwithstanding, people are salivating over the prospect of the boxcar/concentration camp network that will be required to implement this.

    “Muslims dancing in the street in NJ” – This is a lie but the belligerent are enticed by the prospect of fighting their muslim neighbors. Blatant war mongering.

    “Blacks are killing whites” – Lies to justify a race war.

    Trump is a war monger and war appeals to the public as it always has throughout history. It’s a similar dynamic to what’s going on in France right now in the battle between the native French and the recent immigrant muslims. Both sides are thirsty for blood, at least enough to maintain a serious fight.

    This explains the public’s fascination and loyalty to Trump beyond all sense and reason. The proof of this is that Trump’s supporters are active gun owners and users. If you don’t believe it then you are in denial or you are lying. That’s ok. 🙂

    1. You mean he’s playing a war monger on the TV? Maybe so.

      Hillary will play one in real life, which is far, far scarier.

  16. I came across my copy of the March 1990 Playboy while cleaning out the basement the other day. Trump, in his interview, says pretty much what he says today about various issues, just put “Chinese” where he once attacked the Japanese as economic invaders.

    Say, if saying outrageous things gets one 25% support, why can’t the Libertarian Party candidates get 25%? I guess it depends on how “outrageous” the remarks are.

    1. Because the conservative voter crowd thinks libertarians are dope smoking hipster liberals.

      Things Trump said that a libertarian candidate could never say:

      1. Don’t legalize pot.

      2. Bomb oil fields!

      3. Deport them dirty Mexicans!

      4. Ban some mosques!

      You see now?

      1. Paul even tried pandering to the SoCons. It didn’t work at all, just like I said it wouldn’t work. It’s a package deal with these folks. If you’re going to be a conservative, which means you love freedom, then you have to throw people in a cage for smoking a plant. Because freedom.

    2. Ah yes. The Japanese. Everyone was losing their minds about the Japanese. My accounting professor advised us all to learn Japanese such was the prevailing attitude. They were buying buildings! It was all so amusing if not sad.

      1. I remember when I was a little kid and going shopping with my mom and my aunts. They would be looking at something in the store, say some dishes or other little decor thingy, they would always turn it over and read the writing on the bottom. Sometimes they would declare loudly ‘made in Japan!’, laugh and put down the junk.

        Funny that all these years later, a lot of the best cars on the roads are Japanese. A lot of the best electronics also from the Japanese, and the South Koreans of course. All those slant eyed bastards look the same to me! Who would have thunk it?

        1. I wonder where the next China is.

          1. I don’t know. Since most of the world has settled down into a sort of whatever socialism, I’m not sure where you find that many people willing to work that hard for so little, when they are already used to getting by on whatever the government rations them for as little effort as possible. Look at most of Europe. Look at most of the Americas. People want the basics and they don’t want to work for it. Robots and 3D printers will make all of this stuff soon anyway. I don’t think there will be another China.

          2. India could be if they ever got their shit together.

            1. All the Indians who have any skills are already in the USA on H1B visas, working in IT. The rest are still throwing dead bodies into the Ganges river and worshiping cows. They aren’t going to get their shit together. Pick another country.

              1. A lot of them now are still in India working in vast IT hives. But yeah I’m not sure I’m seeing India ramping up a huge manufacturing industry.

                1. The biggest problem in India is that the government makes it very difficult to do business. If the government wised up and got out of the way…. Yeah. It’s not gonna happen.

                  1. I know, have known for many years now, quite a few Indians who have migrated here or their parents migrated here. They will talk a lot about India which I find fascinating. But what you need to know is that a fairly large percentage of the country are backwards and uneducated and the people have a large amount of crazy superstitions which they take quite seriously. It’s a long story, you would just have to listen to this stuff for a long time, but to make it short, none of the people I know from India have any sort of hope about the country rising up to first world status or anything remotely similar to that.

  17. Somebody needs to buy this girl a soccer ball dildo.

    “Climate change is too urgent for any of us to sit quietly while the state fails to take significant action,” she said, according to the News & Observer’s Anne Blythe.

    Since reading “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore at age 9, Hallie has been taking action on environmental issues, from riding her bike instead of asking her parents for a ride to joining the council of her state’s iMatter Youth, a national organization for teens fighting climate change.

    Last year, she submitted a petition to North Carolina’s Environmental Management Commission, proposing that the state cut emissions by 4 percent per year.

    What could be cuter than a teenage girl being used as a ventriloquist’s dummy by a *pro bono* team of environmental activist ambulance chasers?

    1. Is the dyke haircut also to fight climate change?

      1. And the patriarchy.

    2. I’m glad that she’s channeling that youthful idealism, but she’s mistaken if she really thinks that she’s “fighting climate change.” She has no chance whatsoever of effecting climate. Maybe the climate in her house, but not the earth’s climate.

  18. Trump isn’t the candidate we need, he’s the one we deserve.

    1. “We?” Speak for yourself.

  19. Trump 2016: For the Lulz.

  20. all these years later, a lot of the best cars on the roads are Japanese.

    A total fluke. If that Deming guy had really known what he was taking about, they would have put him in charge of General Motors.

  21. What if it’s a joke?

    The only way I could ever respect Donald Trump is if on his inauguration day he gets in front of the podium and says to the voters…

    “You people are idiots. You just elected someone to be the Chief Executive of the US who had no coherent position or philosophy, no experience, who said absolutely anything that popped into his head. I’ve been trolling you and you elected a president based upon a teenage popularity contest. I cannot/will not lead such a group of incompetent morons.”

    …and then quits.

    1. Obama didn’t take the opportunity to do that, do you really think Trump will?

      1. Obama would have concluded the speech with “lie back and think of England, suckers!”

        1. Hillary *will* conclude her speech that way. Part of the thrill for her is *rubbing our noses* in her power over us.

    2. No way. Trump is a businessman, who sells lots of things to the general public. There would be a gigantic shitstorm and boycotts like you’ve never seen. Every potential business partner would consider him untrustworthy.

      1. As if he’d declared bankruptcy?

      2. Every potential business partner would consider him untrustworthy.

        HAHAHAHA! As opposed to now?

        1. Yes. There’s a huge difference between being a “sharp operator”/tough negotiator and taking a dive in the highest profile contest on Earth.

    3. You just elected someone to be the Chief Executive of the US who had no coherent position or philosophy, no experience, who said absolutely anything that popped into his head. I’ve been trolling you and you elected a president based upon a teenage popularity contest.

      I’m no fan but I’m really not seeing much of a problem with any of this.

    4. If he picks Rand as his VP candidate, I’m all for that happening.

      1. While we’re at it, let’s discuss the various types of unicorn flavored rainbows you’d have in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

        1. After the libertarian moment once again failed to appear after the 57,435,251,321st time it was prognosticated by the cosmotarians, all we have left is unicorn flavored rainbows.

      2. All for what happening? An unfortunate accident happening to Trump five minutes into taking office?

        1. That was in reply to Francisco d’Anconia’s post above.

  22. The secret of Trump’s charisma is the media reaction to it.

    People hear dishonest, hysterical pants shitting fits about Trump in the media, then listen to Trump, and rightly conclude that he is less full of shit than his detractors.

    1. …which is saying something.

  23. I don’t understand why there’s such frequent ridicule of behavior such as this. Isn’t this what democracy is all about? Selfless politicians doing whatever most of the voters want at the time?

  24. That ability to capture his niche’s mood

    The Libertarian Party is polling at 1%. Trump is polling at 25%. Some niche.

  25. Selfless Corrupt politicians doing whatever lying about how they’re going to to whatever most of the voters want at the time?

    It needed a little fixin.

  26. The Secret of Donald Trump’s Charisma

    Just as Hitler wasn’t a genius but the non-Jewish German People were a bunch of racist rough-around-the-endges asshole,

    Well, Donald Trump is simply appealing to the Angry White Formerly-Stable White-Man in America that has lost the advantage white men had in America. Now, Whitie is practically the “New Nigger of America” if you listen to what the Don says.

    Donald Trump’s Charisma is non-existent. Any reasonable person can see. It’s his constituents. And, he didn’t create them. They’ve been here for centuries.

    1. Divorce rape is no joke. To men.

    2. *Comment complaining about racism offers up delusional race-based conspiracy theory followed by the use of the word ‘nigger’*

      Keep up the good work Bowie.

  27. He is still a racist d bag no matter how you cut it.

    http://www.GoneAnon.tk

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