April 4, 2016 by David K. Sutton
Tell It Like It Is: Donald Trump’s Bloodsport Appeal
Keyed-up patrons of the bloviating orange-hued candidate regularly say Donald Trump “tells it like it is.” But what does that even mean? Taken at face-value, a person who “tells it like it is” should be a person speaking the truth, right? But given Trump’s propensity to turn reality to a putty his tiny hands find malleable, why do his defenders continue to insist he “tells it like it is”?
In the ten months Donald Trump has been on the presidential campaign trail, his ignorance has proven limitless. It’s not just that Donald Trump is objectively (and often) wrong, fact-checking has shown him to be alarmingly misguided. Nonetheless, Trump has proven to be untethered to the political rhetorical moorings for which nearly all other candidates rigorously adhere. In the 2016 race, Trump has broken all the rules for how to run a candidacy. He’s been able to say whatever he wants, commit “gaffes” that would have ended any other campaign, all with impunity. No matter how ridiculous or repulsive Donald Trump’s hot air, he has confirmed himself to be the Teflon candidate.
Speaking about the unemployment rate during a campaign speech, Donald Trump said, “I’ve seen numbers of twenty-four percent…I actually saw a number of forty-two percent unemployment.” He continued, “The unemployment rate is probably twenty percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it’s thirty, thirty-two, and the highest I’ve heard so far is forty-two percent.” Yeah, that’s a confidence instilling speech. But a quick reality check reveals the official unemployment rate (known as U-3 by Bureau of Labor Statistics) is 5.0%. But even if we were to look at the highest unemployment rate, known as U-6, we still top out at 9.8%. This can mean only one of two things. Donald Trump is a lying son of a bitch, or he’s consulting with some truly horrendous economists.
In addition to half-truths and flat-out lies, Trump also runs down the neo-fascist wish list. He has called for people (with arms raised) to pledge their support. He has condoned violence at campaign rallies. He would ban Muslims entry into the United States. He would support torturing detainees. And he would mark for death the non-combatant relatives of terrorists. While some of these things are not much of a stretch for an extreme right-wing Republican base, combined they would spell certain political disaster for any candidate not named Trump.
Do his supporters not see what is going on? Do they not know their candidate is a pathological liar? Are they trying out for ‘The Apprentice: Ignoramus Edition’ with host Gary Busey? Or could it be that they just don’t care? Ah, now I think we are on to something.
Donald Trump supporters are openly listless in fact-checking their candidate. When they say he “tells it like it is,” they are really expressing that Trump doesn’t care about political correctness, never mind that the political correctness they refer to is what you and I call “common decency.” Trump apologists applaud when he offends people they believe need to be offended. They cheer when he insults minorities they believe are part of the problem (whatever that problem happens to be). Trump followers feel a kinship toward their candidate for the very fact that he is nasty toward human beings. They lend passionate support to a man willing to say anything to win a sadistic bloodsport of grandiosity.
Our least favorable human qualities are nourishing the rise of Donald Trump, putting on display the underbelly of America, where unbridled nationalism and assailing xenophobia have a seat at the table. Far from making America great again, Donald Trump is exposing the very worst of America.