by Marion Marks
Basic children’s primary educational principles, things like the Golden Rule, should be the guiding light in politics as they are in life. A simple children’s game “Hurts or Helps” was obviously never a part of Donald Trump’s educational regimen at any time during his career. This simple game provides clear measures for helpful as well as hurtful statements. It should be rather easy to understand the power of such, “Hurtful Statements: Your shoes are goofy. Your hair looks like a mop. You’ll never pass that test. You are a loser. You are pretty… pretty boring!” These quite obviously were a major part of how Donald J. Trump was expected to address those he intended to “take down a notch.”
Donald J. Trump, the TV mogul or politician, never seems to be able to string together a lengthy series of “helpful” words about those in his business or work life. Helpful Statements would be things a child might say to encourage a friend, “I’ll help you with your homework. Come to church with me. I’m glad to have you as a friend. Would you like to play with me and my friends? You’re very talented.” Such words, taught by parents, teachers or those who play an influential role, work into children’s lives naturally, especially those who see life as a constructive learning experience based on working together in non-adversarial relationships. Trump shows no evidence of having learned these lessons!
The Trump game, at least as a candidate, is always feeling out the weaknesses of his opponents with the intention of destroying them. Destruction of the opposition is the Trump model for victory, and anyone in his path is a “loser”, “weak,” “a moron,” or some other derisive description that elevates him in the conversation. The concept of destruction of those in his path plays will with the TV shows that he has affiliated his brand and are well-designed around the rating structure that draws profits in the media world.
Describing, appreciating and measuring his opponents can only be compared to the brilliant linguistically trained bully who observes his foes before shredding them in the arena they share. He truly created a modern PT Barnum with tools we will study for years to come. I am amazed when I see how beautifully Trump manipulates everyone and everything in his path. Former Florida Representative, current MSNBC host, Joe Scarborough has as much experience analyzing and parrying with Trump as any in the media. He sees Trump as an almost invincible foe whose teflon armor has yet to be bested.
Every media critic of Trump has been successful in observing issues of apparent weakness, yet when interviewing Trump, their arguments seem blunted and tarnished as Trump takes all the oxygen out of the room, leaving them deflated and breathless. Controlling the discussion, redirecting the questions, refusing to acknowledge point thru deviation of the commentary. These are Trump tools that have not been matched by any adversary.
Perhaps it is the children’s game issue that Trump should be pressed. Certainly he has made random constructive-helpful comments. This may be the beginning of a pivot in his campaign, believing that he will be the Republican nominee. However, I don’t believe it is in Trump’s genes to become the constructive candidate, the candidate with solid platform planks.
The Trump we know thrives on sharp barbs, hurtful jabs and cuts to the core of those who stand in his way. Trump can mouth all the right words, only if his ego permits. But, the Donald J. Trump we know from history, the Donald J. Trump who thrives on headlines, this Trump only survives when he climbs on the corpses of those who stoop in his way. Just as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be known as the governor who tore down Louisiana institutions, Donald J. Trump will be known as the presidential candidate who destroyed the mainstream Republican hierarchy.
Every Trump success is based on the failure of someone or some group he was able to destroy. Yes, many rotten entities needed to become markers on the roadside, but true growth should be known by the construction on new order as old order is passed. The Trump path to the front of the field appears to be glitz, sizzle, glimmer, aroma, all the forerunners of the notification of greatness to soon appear. The “TBA” is too much like the sign on a November, 2008 construction site. “This building was demolished to make room for…” But nothing was built until the McCain campaign was put to rest by the Democrats and Obama. The destruction and the Bubble of the Bush business era needed to be buried.
America today is not in the dire straits of the summer-fall of 2008, and Donald J. Trump cannot convince a majority of voters that it is. Making America Great Again is flash and sizzle, but Trump hasn’t put forward a plan with specificity to sell any more than hats and stickers. If the GOP can withstand the Trump rhetoric and awaken to revive the values that the GOP stood for in a previous life, there may be a race this summer and fall between the two great parties of ideas. But, if the Republican campaign and convention continue down the road Trump is planning, the sown seeds of discontent will only reap a whirlwind or turmoil for all citizens, here and abroad. Hateful Words have only just begun.