In a world that seems constantly consumed by all things serious and negative and downright unpleasant, a candidate has finally come along to make a mockery of the entire process and turn himself into a laughingstock along the way. Donald Trump, the businessman and infamous host of a reality television show, has decided that he’s the best fit for commander-in-chief of the United States. This dramatic new venture has unsurprisingly led to a media uproar over his every move (a quick Google search brings up dozens of articles written very recently)– no, really, they’re writing about everything, because obviously Trump’s hair is the most important piece of business we have to attend to in today’s world. I’ve been trying to understand the fascination, what borders on infatuation, that people have for a man who labels an entire ethnicity as rapists and sees fault only in those who disagree with him. And after much deliberation, I think I’ve finally come to a logical conclusion. Trump is as of late most well-acquainted with reality television; wouldn’t it make sense, then, that he’s only following what he knows? Maybe we’ve been looking at this all wrong. Because if you step back and look from where I stand, Trump’s campaign looks a lot like an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of watching Trump in his true element, let me give you a quick run-through of what a typical episode looks like. The show begins with two teams of celebrities who compete in various tasks to raise money for their respective charities. A member of the losing team is fired after each task, with this occurring on weekly episodes until the final two celebrities compete to see who will win the honor of calling Donald Trump their boss. Oh, and did I mention that he basically runs the entire show as his own personal fiefdom and the peasants who dare to question him are immediately met with the impassioned cry, “You’re fired!”
It’s a simple equation, really. Trump is used to acting as the boss, so he’s attempting to transform the presidential process into a game show that he can hover over. In this real-life version, however, Trump is making his fellow candidates into his contestants, interviews into tasks, and press conferences into boardrooms where he heartlessly unleashes his wrath on the one who failed to live up to his standards. Unfortunately for Trump, this episode may not end the way his script says it should.
More than a few of Trump’s actions recently have proven that he isn’t taking this whole “running for president” scenario as seriously as he ought to. One of the earliest clues came when Trump clashed with Senator Lindsey Graham and responded in appropriate sore-loser manner. How should The Donald respond to someone daring to call him a mean name in the midst of such a game? Why, release the man’s personal cell phone number, of course! No other mature response would have been as satisfying or personally destructive as that. Often on television, Trump attempts to make a mockery of those who disagree with or dare to question him by putting them in positions that make them look small compared to his greatness. No serious candidate would stoop so low as to dish out such personal information in the face of a thoughtless comment from an opponent.
In other moment of insane sophistication, Trump called Governor Rick Perry “dumb.” This is classic Apprentice material– Trump is the top dog in this game, and anyone else attempting to replace him will immediately be met with choruses of insults (often as intelligent as this one). Those hipster glasses have nothing on Trump’s toupee! Just like Perry’s ideas, according to Trump, could never measure up to the Boss’s.
I am concerned that Trump’s presence on the debate stage this week will cause the average voter to generalize all Republicans as the same type as Trump. However, this early in the process, polls and debates mean very little (Mitt Romney wasn’t even in the first Republican debate of the 2012 cycle). If someone called me and asked my favorite candidate at this moment, nothing is stopping me from citing Trump for pure entertainment value. Voters are looking for reality rather than political correctness, and while not living up to that, Trump has certainly shaken things up and given people something new to listen to. He’s acting like a reality star, and people like reality TV. Unfortunately for Trump, though, his script ends with him firing the rest of the candidates and becoming the “Celebrity President,” while in reality this episode will end with the curtain rising and revealing that the American people have replaced him in the boss’s chair. And we, like the responsible people that I believe we still are, will greet Trump with a hearty cry of “You’re fired!” come Primary Day.