Donald Trump

Donald Trump As Alfred E. Neuman's Slightly Smarter Brother

Just because he might be president doesn't mean he's not a joke.


Trump campaign

Halfway through a New York Times story about why people vote for Donald Trump, I found a rationale I could almost embrace:

"This isn't about whether he's going to do a better job or not," said Ken Magno, 69, leaving his polling place in Everett, Mass., Tuesday morning, wearing a red Donald Trump winter hat. "More or less, it's the statement: Listen, we're sick and tired of what you people do. And we're going to put somebody in there—now that it's our choice, we're going to put somebody in there that basically you don't like."

Why vote for Trump? Fuck you, that's why. Although I don't know the specifics of Magno's grievances against the powers that be, I rather admire his anti-establishment nihilism. And perhaps this is the best way to think of Trump: as Alfred E. Neuman's slightly smarter older brother. In that light, it makes perfect sense that Kinky Friedman—the singer/songwriter/humorist/novelist who ran for governor of Texas in 2006 under the slogan "Kinky for Governor: Why the Hell Not?"—is reportedly "drawn to Mr. Trump's unconventional message." Friedman told the Times he admired Ted Cruz but did not think the Texas senator would win the Republican nomination. "Trump is obviously going to be the nominee," he said. "Long may he wave."

I don't know whether Friedman was serious. I am also not sure about Trump. My initial impression was that he ran for president as a goof and was surprised (along with the rest of us) to see how well he did. After dismissing him as a joke, I started to take him more seriously, which was probably a mistake. He is a joke, and the fact that he could actually be our next president does not change that fact.

The little videos that Trump made before the New Hampshire primary conclusively demonstrate that he should not be taken seriously. Here is Trump on "competent leadership":

Our country needs competency. We need a smart president. We need a great leader….If I'm elected president, I will do a truly great job.

Here he is on the "drug epidemic":

I'm going to create borders. No drugs are coming in. We're gonna build a wall. You know what I'm talking about. You have confidence in me. Believe me, I will solve the problem.

On immigration:

We will build a wall. It will be a Great Wall. It will do what it's supposed to do: keep illegal immigrants out.

On the military:

I'm gonna make our military so powerful, so strong, that nobody—absolutely nobody—is gonna mess with us….We're gonna get rid of ISIS. We're gonna get rid of 'em fast.

On jobs:

I can tell you this, and I can say it with certainty: I will be the greatest jobs-producing president that God ever created.

On taxes:

Everybody's taxes is going down.

On "unifying the nation":

Our country is totally divided. There's so much hatred. There's so many problems. Our president was a terible unifier. He was the opposite of a unifier. He was a divider. I will unify and bring our country back together. It's something I've done all my life. I get along with people. 

Statements like those (especially that last one) make me wonder whether Trump is putting us on. Although he brags about being a "nonpolitician," he is actually a parody of a smarmy, unprincipled panderer, making promises he can't possibly keep while avoiding the details that would give him away. Which is pretty funny. Judging from the Trump voters interviewed by the Times, who seem to be motivated less by faith in him than by disgust with everyone else, a lot of them are in on the joke.

Trump's success is deeply embarrassing to actual Republicans, which only makes it funnier. In the unlikely event that he defeats Hillary Clinton in November, that would be hilarious. Can you imagine? That prospect may well be worth letting a political neophyte with no firm convictions pick Supreme Court justices and command the world's most powerful military (so powerful, so strong that nobody is gonna mess with him). Clinton certainly has not shown herself to be any more trustworthy for either of those tasks.

Even if Trump doesn't win, I am looking forward to the debates. As the Times delicately puts it, "the tactics the Clintons have used for years to take down opponents may fall short in a contest between the blunt and unpredictable Mr. Trump and the cautious and scripted Mrs. Clinton: a matchup that operatives on both sides predicted would be an epic, ugly clash between two vastly disparate politicians." It may be time to relax and enjoy the show.

NEXT: Brickbat: Catfishing

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  1. “Just because he might be president doesn’t mean he’s not a joke.”

    Jokes are supposed to be funny. I am not laughing.

    It looks like we will end up with a choice between a couple of two-bit grifters, one being exponentially worse than the other. It’s like going to prison and trying to figure out which con you can get along with the best.

    1. “It’s like going to prison and trying to figure out which con you can get along with the best.”

      Classic writer’s mistake: your metaphor is so accurate that it’s indistinguishable from reality.

      1. If he had use “potential con” then there’d be no metaphor.

  2. God help me, but there’s a piece of me that is coming to terms with the fact that Trump might win the GOP nomination, and consequently I’m optimistic for a scenario where Trump loses the general election to Clinton — and her 4 years in office is a hot mess of scandals and numbingly horrible decisions, both presidential and political.

    1. If so, she will be not only the first woman in the WH, but the last one for a long while.

      There are likely many voters who will never vote again in their life for a black man. It’s racists, but it’s likely. And so will it be for women if Hillary gets the job.

      1. We will never see another black president in our lifetime. The progs were just not ready for it.

        1. How about another half white president?

      2. I am more optimistic than you are. I don’t think race would play into it if we have another black run.

        The problem seems to be that regardless of race or gender sane, principled people just don’t want to have anything to do with that job so we end up with the dregs.

        1. I hope you’re right. But the loathing of WASP America that the Obamas (and Jarrett) brought will stick in the craw of many who are not really racist. In other words, one doesn’t have to be racist to prejudge. But then again, there may be some racists who are relieved that their worst fears did not come true.

        2. “sane, principled people just don’t want to have anything to do with what you have to do to get that job so we end up with the dregs.


  3. Trump is a promoter. He’s promoting himself. It’s obvious in the adjectives he uses: yuge, fantastic, great, etc. Everything is a hyperbole with him. If he finds the right people to follow through with his promises, then he might be a good president–the stupid wall notwithstanding. Otherwise, he’s no better than “Yes We Can” Obama.

    1. “Fantastic” has three syllables. I think that’s the biggest word he’s ever used. CNN has an article today ruminating about the similarities between a Trump candidacy and a Goldwater candidacy. I doubt Trump even knows who Goldwater is.

        1. broken link

    2. Seriously, did people not notice the impossible *promises* of Obama? Post-racial, sea levels etc.

      1. I would bet my left testicle that most Obama voters simply write that off as having done the right thing at the time. Maybe they choke it down with something about obstructionist rethuglicans. I just wonder if, when the chorus from that tune from The Who – “…we won’t get fooled again..” pops up do they even feel anything at all.

        1. The real takeaway line from the song: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

  4. I had a theory in 2008 that, deep down, each party wanted the other party to win the White House (mainly to avoid any responsibility for the Iraq aftermath). Besides, for the hundreds of congressmen, it’s more fun to be the opposition party than the ruling party.

    I guess I was wrong 2008, but I’m wondering if the theory holds any water in 2016, to the point that people will vote for the opposition in order to avoid the calamity of their frontrunner actually winning.

    1. Think of it this way; do you think all of these crap weasels are panicking over Trump because they care about the country or because he might. Put a stop to some of their stealing?

      If Trump were half as bad as the media and political class says he is, they would love him.

      1. A stop to their stealing? A thousand times no. I expect a Trump in the White House would be like a school day where a substitute teacher doesn’t know what she’s doing and the kids take over, with chaotic results.

        1. If that is true, why are they panicking? If you think they are there to do anything but steal, you are sadly naive. There is one thing I can say for certain, if there ever is a real fascist leader who rises in this country, the media and political class and all right thinking people will be his biggest supporters. That is the way it always works. So judge Trump by his enemies and don’t worry about it. He is no worse than what we have and likely to be a bit better.

          1. So that’s why your argument comes down to? People you don’t like hate him? Hitler and Stalin didn’t like each other. Which are you a fan of?

            1. My argument is that the people who hate him are lying corrupt assholes who would love a candidate who was anything like they claim Trump is.

              1. In other words people you don’t like hate him.

                So, which are you a fan of, Hitler or Stalin.

                1. “In other words people you don’t like hate him.”

                  And, as you point out, this is a necessary but not sufficient condition to favor Trump.

            2. According to WW2, we were fans of Stalin.

              A yuuuugge mistake.

            3. Hitler and Stalin didn’t like each other.

              What makes you so certain? They never met.

          2. If that is true, why are they panicking?

            Because their whole scheme relies on the dignity of the office of the presidency. Trump will rightly take a shit all over that which jeopardizes respect for the government.

            And that is the absolute nicest thing I can say about a potential Trump presidency.

            1. And that’s the beauty of it. If either Hillary or Trump wins, the idea that government can do good things will hopefully take a “YUGE” hit in the eyes of the general public.

          3. The political class media are dumbstruck with panic over his rise because they care so much about the country.

            I wouldn’t call Trump a fascist. But I’m not quite sure what you say is true either. Fascism involves some sort of national greatness thing and the political left and their media allies are pretty well invested in being positioned against American exceptionalism.

        2. A day where the bureaucratic arbitrary authority can be overthrown–and you see this as a bad thing?

      2. Where has Trump said he’d cut a brass farthing of spending? Every pronouncement he’s made to date has been in favor of bigger and more grandiose government.

        Trusting a crony capitalist who loves eminent domain to cut spending seems a bit naive.

        1. Yeah Billl. Trump is worse than what we have. The political class media are dumbstruck with panic over his rise because they care so much about the country.

          That is some comedy gold there.

          1. Yeah, Trumps statements above are really no different than the other candidates, except in tone. He is a braggart who eschews pc bs.

          2. You didn’t answer my question, John. When has Trump said he’d cut a brass farthing of spending? I get it that you don’t like a lot of the people opposing Trump. I think that’s a pretty stupid reason to pick someone you’re going to vote for to be the next president, but I get that’s what your position is. But, let’s try to stick with the substance of what his positions are. What has Trump said he’d spend less money on?

            1. Well there was that building a really yuge wall… no wait that’s a spending increase. What about increasing the police state to the level required to instantaneously find and deport 11 million people… no. that doesn’t work either. The yuge, shiny, nobody’s gonna mess with us military? Ummm, he gonna remove the line, all the lines, that’ll save some money, yeah. Check mate.

              By the way, there is absolutely no possibility that any of these boondoggles represents a chance for graft, when they were concieved by a NYC real estate developer, whom as we all know are notoriously principled.

              1. Mexico’s supposed to pay for the yuge wall.

                Those 11 million? They’re already finding and deporting themselves. They watch The Apprentice, they know they’re fired.

                Don’t really need to spend more to wave that military around–just gotta wave it around right.

                So, there’s three things done and not a dime of increase.

                1. Oh yeah, I forgot our boy’s +1 million charisma that’s going to convince the Mexicans to build and pay for the YugeWall. Done and done then.

                  If anyone needs me I’ll be stockpiling ammo and canned goods.

        2. He’s never said he would, but I think his business impulses would lead him to look a lot of items & veto bills unless they’re cut. If he’s supposed to be such a deal maker, getting bargains is supposed to be part of it. I don’t think that’s going to amount to major cuts in total spending, & in some cases it may involve acquisitions at what he thinks are bargain prices, but I’m pretty sure he’ll come to be known as the biggest eye-shades president since Coolidge.

          1. Think Louisiana Purchase, think Alaska. I guess this means the USA’s going to acquire Hong Kong at fire sale prices once the Chinese realize that’ll be part of the deal for not enacting big tariffs.

            Taking that seriously, that would be a big advance for liberty, wouldn’t it? No tariffs, and the Hong Kongese get out from under the Reds & into a free country that’s not going to be threatening to take away their freedoms all the time. And then nobody’ll be able to say Trump’s anti-foreigners getting into the USA. What’s not to love?

      3. Put a stop to some of their stealing?

        Maybe. I’ll believe it when I see it. What I expect is just new ways of stealing.

  5. Actually ,to be worse then the last 2 jokers to hold the office will be a high bar.I see more of the same,wars on ‘terror’ and drugs and all the ‘tool’s needed to fight them.Out of control spending,crony laws and on and on.

    1. I think you are likely to see fewer wars. I can’t see Trump being a do gooder wanting to save the world like Bush or a corrupt internationalist wanting to atone for America’s sins like Hillary.

      I don’t understand why you people think American nationalism gets us in wars. Other than the initial invasion of Afghanistan, the us hasn’t fought a nationalist war sine World War II. And the biggest nationalist Presidents, Eisenhower Nixon an Regan kept us out of wars. It has been the internationalists who have gotten us into wars. And Trump isn’t one of those

      1. Well, Nixon did re-escalate the war in Vietnam, on his way to de-escalating it. But I think you’re right.

        The internationalists are want to stick our noses in other countries’ business while the nationalists are concerned only about our national interests.

      2. They think ‘nationalism’ gets us into wars because they reflexively accept the leftist lie that Nazism was right wing.

        It then follows that since Nazism is bad, all things right wing are bad, and nationalism, being part of Nazism, must therefore be bad as well.

        Note–they can’t– no matter how it is pointed out, see that ‘socialism’ is in there. Nor, when it is made plain how ‘socialism’ is attached to so many horrors, can they make the leap to understanding that perhaps the problem is socialism itself and not any of the qualifiers.

  6. Sometimes I think that Bill Clinton and Trump are conniving this together, and that Hillary has no clue Bill is in on it.

  7. Although I don’t know the specifics of Magno’s grievances against the powers that be, I rather admire his anti-establishment nihilism.

    Here’s the thing, though. I’m not a nihilist. And Donald Trump in the White House is going to mean going from leadership in the party I ostensibly support that is indifferent to my values and principles to leadership that is actively hostile to them. It’s hardly like the Democrats are going to discover the beauty and value of limited government if Donald Trump becomes president.

    Whatsmore, presidents do have the power to actively create a great deal of mischief. And that mischief has real consequences for real people.

    1. Whaaaat? I’m informed that wacky protest votes have no real consequences at all.

    2. “It’s hardly like the Democrats are going to discover the beauty and value of limited government if Donald Trump becomes President”

      Au contraire. The donkeys will be waving that 100-yr old parchment around like its a Terrible Towel. They will throw tantrums like you’ve never seen. And Trump will scream back at them like a burnt monkey. I can hardly wait.

      1. lolz

  8. Watching President The Donald tell the pc snowflake crowd to get stuffed would be amusing. Is that worth having a lunatic appoint supreme court justices and run the military? maybe not but we may have to get used to it.

    1. How is Trump different from the other lunatics who want to appoint supreme court justices and run the military?

      1. There is at least a small chance he’d do the right thing?

        1. I don’t think of it so much as a small chance but as a random chance.

  9. …making promises he can’t possibly keep while avoiding the details that would give him away.

    And this makes him different from any of the other clowns running how?

    1. The other clowns are better at making up bullshit explanations about the details

  10. Do you want to earn from home by working basic work using your desktop or laptop for 4 to 6 h on daily basis, get paid 75 bucks an hour qz and get a paycheck every week and choose yourself your working time?


  11. “What, me govern?”

    1. Nice.

  12. Given a Trump presidency as a fait acompli… Well, it would be one giant leap down the path to idiocracy but it’s not like we aren’t on that path already so that would only be a matter of degree.

    If we get through the first six months without starting WWIII or some other equally miserable outcome I can imagine the unwritten pact to not eF with executive orders might go the way of the dodo. Quite possibly a number of unwritten presidential powers might get washed away – and that would be a yuuuge improvement.

    1. But that’s not how it works. It’s never the tool that’s at fault, only the hand that wields it.

      The Democrats screamed and howled about Bush’s executive orders and signing statements, but ignore or even applaud Obama when he does it.

      For better or worse, the fault always lands on the holder of the office, never the overreach of the office itself.

      1. That works when the wielder came from the ranks of the opposing party. When the guy shooting out EO’s like a porn actor in the money shot never had any party support I just have to wonder how long his independence will last.

        1. It’s all about depths of delusion. The Dems will paint Trump as he epitome of the GOP and the establishment GOP will bide their time, nurture grudges, and prepare their next scintillating candidate for 2020.

          At a certain point, the eGop will realize that they will have to follow Trump or look like they are helping Hillary. They’ve sucked on the nuts of enough shitty leaders (Bush II, McCain, Romney) that they will fall in line.

          1. I guess I may just be dreaming/hoping that Trump will be so much of a loose canon that the GOP finds it easier or more expedient to just walk away from him.

            Taking him under their wing and following his leadership (wow, I wrote that with a straight face) would open the door for other mustangs down the road. None of them want that. I believe they will find it easier to play hard to get – it’s not like he can court the (D) party for support.

            1. They don’t really have wings to take him under. It is already the other way around. They have been openly fighting him for months–and consistently losing–because they’ve pissed in the face of their base for so long that their base is reveling in the momentary hiatus brought about by the shift in aim.

  13. It is frighteningly easy to imagine the many ways either of these two could foment a world war 3, End of Days, SHTF scenario. Pay close attention to who these two pick as their running mates, because whoever wins will be vehemently hated by many, and will have a huge bullseye on their back going into office.

    1. I see this comment every election cycle, but the Presidents never seem to get hit on that bullseye.

      However, who Trump picks as his running mate would be extremely critical to me. Because I can’t imagine he would actually serve his entire term. Once elected, when all the day to day bullshit starts and he has to make real decisions and deal with real world consequences, I suspect he’ll just say “this is no fun” and walk away from it all. He didn’t start this run actually thinking he’d win, and having every second of his day scrutinized will limit his lifestyle too much. So the VP choice would be quite important. You know the old saying, “one temper tantrum away.”

      1. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing

  14. What’s fun about the Trump candidacy is that all of the little “gotchas” that politicians and the political class obsess about all day just don’t seem to bother him. His opponents have continually shown up prepared to play a game that he’s not even playing. It’s great hearing political people say things like “Just wait until XXX comes out, then Trump is toast!”, where XXX is some embarrassing thing from his past, or some picture of his wife, or something. Yeah, he doesn’t care, and because he doesn’t care, none of these pissed off middle-America voters are going to care either. As a take-down of the stupidity that is modern day-to-day political tactics Trump’s candidacy really is quite hilarious. Hillary better be careful. She’s been honing her chess game for 40 years and is about to show up at a checkers tournament.

    1. She’s a special type of Teflon herself.

      No clue how she’s either not in prison or out of politics.

      1. Imagine that you are running a $100 million enterprise and have $5 million invested in the Clinton fund. You can’t just divest and take it elsewhere. You have to push whatever levers you have access to for her to win so you can recoup. She has a few thousand similar people and that creates momentum. Few people want to risk everything and get in the way – at least not until it seems certain that she will be coming down.

      2. She’s in the right party, and has the right familial and political connections. It’s just like Ted Kennedy.

  15. Even if Trump doesn’t win, I am looking forward to the debates.

    They’ll no doubt be classics like the Lincoln?Douglas debates.

    1. They’ll no doubt be classics like King Kong vs Godzilla.

  16. He’s more like Lyle Lanley.

  17. “Why vote for Trump? Fuck you, that’s why.”

    That’s why we call it a backlash against the establishment, Jacob. No essay defending arguments necessary. Honestly, Hillary is just as horrible if you ask me. What exactly establishes her as fit for the Presidency because I simply don’t see it.

    What did you think was going to happen? It was going to be some grand suave intellect to foster and hoist ‘change’?

    This is, for better or for worse, the face of change.

    1. I thought FYTW was a pretty good answer to the question, though.

      1. I agree Zeb. I think it is an awesome answer.

  18. Lotta people putting a lotta faith in a poll of a divided field against a bifurcated one.

    Democrats are monolithic–it’s a feature of collectivists. So Hillary’s poll in such hypotheticals look good. Hell there are already Bernie-fan memes going around about voting for Hillary if they can’t get Bernie in.

    But Republicans are individualists at heart–even the crottiest big government RINO sees themselves as a cold hard yankee holdout against the collectivist hordes–so you’re gonna get a lot of them just saying ‘no’ in polls like this.

    Democrat unity is creating a false image. Well that and college kids who’ll answer polls–and who are always polled because the youth vote is SOOOOOooooo important. Except that they rarely vote in the numbers their supposed importance would indicate.

  19. “Fuck you, that’s why”

    Sounds about as reasonable as hating property taxes so you burn your house to the ground and pour toxic waste into the soil. Ha! That’ll teach ’em.

  20. “It may be time to relax and enjoy the show.”: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

  21. The thing I like most about Trump is his insincerity.


    For the LULZ

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