Up until about twenty years ago, there were two main reasons for running for president. Either you really wanted to be president and thought you had a good chance or you thought you could use the pulpit to advance some issues before you were mercifully knocked out of the race. With the advent of Fox News and partisan media we found a new reason to jump into the game. Maybe you could get a platform that would allow you to become a Fox News commentator. Of course, that sounds completely one-sided and usually I wouldn’t ignore the other side, but the left rarely sees candidates looking for their own show on MSNBC. It just doesn’t seem to happen that way for one reason.
Still, the Fox News phenomenon has become its own subset of campaigning. Essentially, the idea is that now campaigning for president has become big business. It’s its own cottage industry now. Candidates use their campaigns to sell books, book speeches for big money, and become television personalities. So, when you look at the long laundry list of GOP candidates for the 2016 nomination, you become dumbfounded when you try to differentiate between who is a legitimate candidate and who is trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame.
Then, there’s Donald Trump. I could say something snarky and I very well might before this is all said and done, but at the moment I can’t say as I know what to make of him. He’s leading in the polls, but I don’t know anyone outside of Ann Coulter that’s taking him seriously. He has no experience in government and I can’t count the number of times he’s filed for bankruptcy. I’m not exactly sure what qualifies him to be dog catcher much less president (see, there’s the snark). Obviously, he’s not the only candidate that inspires laughter at the thought of getting the nomination, but he is the only candidate that was already on television before this all started.
Trump could garner money for speeches. Trump already had the Apprentice and his various beauty contests. He already had a television gravy train. Now, he doesn’t have any of those. He doesn’t have them because he’s insulted anyone and everyone along the way. He’s railed against immigrants, he’s insulted John McCain, and now he’s outed Lindsay Graham (not that kind of outing) by giving out his personal cell phone number. This was all because Graham said that Trump needed to stop acting like a jackass. I suppose maybe he took that personally because he’s been the same guy he’s always been.
The thing is that he is speaking like a guy that really doesn’t think he can be president. So, what is the purpose of it all? He obviously has already lost his television audience and that audience likely reached more people than he would have on Fox. He was already being paid to make speeches, so that’s not it. The question still remains: what is the purpose of this campaign? Is he trying some kind of Andy Kaufman 21st century punking like when Kaufman trolled wrestling fans back in the early 1980s. Is he the Clayton Williams of the 2010s? Inquiring minds want to know.