Donald Trump: Novelty Act

Doug Mataconis, in his most recent post on Donald Trump’s flirtations with both running for president and birtherism, asks in the post’s headline:  Donald Trump: Crazy, Cynical, Or Both?

The answer that popped into my head immediately was:  Donald Trump is a novelty act.

Yes, I know he has had a successful real estate business, but in his public dealings he has always struck me a cartoon (from the hair, to the basic demeanor, to naming everything after himself and so forth).  The cartoonishness of it all was made manifest when he became a reality TV star based around cavorting with D-List celebs and having his own catchphrase.  That anybody is taking him seriously as a presidential candidate is remarkable (and I thinking here about CPAC inviting him to speak and his appearances on Fox News or any other news outlet that will have him).

The news thing in particular is striking to me, because there is really only one reason to have Donald Trump on your news program and it is because his celebrity may increase viewership.  In short:  it has nothing to do with news and everything to do with entertainment.  It is embarrassing to have Trump being listened to as a foreign policy expert.  To have him exchanging snark with David Letterman is one thing, but this is just ridiculous.

And yes:  he had the right to pretend like he is running (or, indeed, to run) and it is Fox and Friends’ right to have him on as a guest.  But, nobody ever said that “right” equates to “not silly.”

Ultimately, Doug is right in regards to the answer to his above-cited question:

Is it possible that the answer is “both,” and that this is really nothing more than Trump’s latest way of being outrageous, garnering media attention, and keeping his name in the media?

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. epistorese says:

    To paraphrase Mort Kondracke from years ago: There are two things that, because the are simultaneously true, make America a great nation. The first is that even Donald Trump can run for President. The second, and even more imporatnt, is that Donald Trump cannot win election to the Presidency, If either of these propositions become false, America will cease to be a great nation