We did it, folks! There are only four months left of this purgatorial realm of political thinkpieces and media incredulity toward Donald Trump ... a man I'd be sure was a shared delusion if it wasn't for the Reagan-invoking RNC that was held in his honor.
Republican National Convention
Trump's secret weapon: nostalgia for stupendously old nutjobs whom people love solely because they've been on TV.
There is no denying which era the "again" in "make America great again" refers to, but in case anyone doubted it, Trump himself identified with the late president during his sanitized bumper-bowling equivalent of a Reddit AMA:
Straight from his hose mouth: Baby-Gripper digs the Gipper. And while that's certainly in line with the GOP platform, I can't help but feel like this is actually a lie. And I'm not insisting that Donald "Melting Lizard Creamsicle" Trump is in fact the reincarnation of Barry Goldwater -- the Republican senator and one-time presidential nominee who famously championed the use of "coded language" to push racist platforms without sounding racist, forever alienating the African-American community at large from his party.
Plenty of other people are doing that for me.
No, the more I watch Trump awkwardly talk about his sex life, show off his family, and parade his powerful friends, the more it seems like he is going to bed hoping that he'll wake up not as Reagan, but this other guy instead ...
White House Press Office, Joe Raedle / GettyImages
My strongest argument against poorly conceived remakes yet.
Yeah, sorry -- this is in fact another thinkpiece about Donald Trump. And I know the exact squinty face you're making right now. It's a combination of disbelief and anger that I'm wasting your time -- like someone who just opened a can of farts. But while the natural instinct is to crack a window, I'd like to politely ask that you take a moment to stew in this hot aroma with me.
Because I'm not only talking about Trump's low-rent Kennedy-esque combover or gutter East Coast accent. Nor am I talking about the rumor that Melania Trump is modeling her persona after Jackie O. I'm not even talking about the fact that Trump is clearly trying to make himself the hub of a large and iconic family with ties to politics. I'm talking about Trump's entire campaign making an effort to ape John F. Kennedy's legacy of "greatness."
The parallel doesn't stop at a single word, as JFK's other and equally familiar campaign phrase, "Let's get this country moving again," was derived from the previous eight years under Eisenhower. Because like Trump, Kennedy was considered an inexperienced outsider campaigning under the idea that the previous presidency had led the country astray. His opponent, Richard Nixon, being the current VP at the time, argued that we needed to stay the course. This discussion most famously occurred in September of 1960, when the first-ever televised presidential debate was broadcast ...
Photo12 / GettyImages
"We interrupt Beaver Cleaver arguing with his dad to bring you ... the same thing, basically."
This was, as any causal history nerd knows, a pivotal moment in politics, as Kennedy's fuckability factor famously gained TV audiences' favor over Nixon, while radio listeners felt the exact opposite. Suddenly, there was a whole new, and shallow, criteria for electability: not looking like a greasy pedophile.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Sorry, Pierce -- you're so out.
So in a time of racial tension and border paranoia, we had a noob candidate running against a career politician by using the latest breakthrough in communication technology. Kind of like exactly what's going on right now in this country.
Donald Trump / Twitter
He can plan around radical Islam, but not 140-character limits.
Even when taking his spectacular meltdown from last week into account (wherein he attacked the family of slain Muslim American soldier Humayan Khan, and made fun of a mother and her baby before kicking them both out of a campaign rally), you can't deny that Trump is winning at Twitter, any more than you can deny that social media is the next big thing in politics. It even shows in the polls, as people are far more likely to support Trump if asked anonymously online than face to face. The man is a hero to shitty commenters everywhere, the true pioneer of a troll party. And thanks to the media, he can't tweet so much as a baguette emoji without CNN hounding the president of France for a quote. His digital bullshit is so combustible that we could use it to power our cities. And from it, he managed to spend way less money gaining popularity than his rivals.
But if Trump is the Republican Kennedy of Twitter, does that make "Crooked Hillary" the "Tricky Dick" of this equation? Well ... yeah, it kind of totally does.
When you only got one hit, you have to milk it for all it's worth.
Never mind the fact that there isn't a single piece of factual evidence proving that Hillary did anything nefarious in relation to the Benghazi attacks or that email scandal ... or that accusers like Mark Geist had previously supported her before being swept up in politics ... or that no one seemed to care when George W. Bush's office deleted 22 million emails off a private server back in 2007 ... or that we've had multiple failed investigations costing millions in taxpayer money. None of that matters, because putting "ghazi" at the end of words is way more appealing than the truth.
Ghaz fuck yourselves.
The facts shrivel in the prospect of a "Liberal Nixon" going against a radiant and powerful "Conservative JFK." But as anyone who watched both conventions will tell you, neither is the case. While Trump's speech was almost entirely based around negging the American people, Hillary elected to proclaim that this country was already great. That's not opinion, but simply what's in the content of each speech. So maybe I'm biased, since I don't want to elect a racist subpar property developer who conveniently thinks a construction project will save the country from immigration (even though that's a hilariously childlike solution), but I believe the better comparison is that Trump is the fear version of Kennedy, while Hillary is the hope version of Nixon.
AFP / GettyImages, Zachary Moskow
And that's why this election sucks so much. The next president could decide up to four Supreme Court nominations, and we're stuck choosing between a "corrupt politician" with a positive message and an "incorruptible outsider" with a negative one. It's the kind of bummer that makes people want to vote a third party, but if there was ever an election not to do that, it's this one. So while you might not like what the country has given you ... never has there been a better time to ask not what your country will do for you, but what you can do to win it so big, that you will get bored with winning. Believe me.
David is on Twitter.
For more on our in-depth coverage on this megalomaniac, check out 5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler's Rise To Power and 10 Stories About Donald Trump You Won't Believe Are True.
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Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.