Entertainment headlines the last several weeks have been dominated by Donald Trump’s speculated Presidential bid. Trump has been everything from a bankrupt billionaire to a morally bankrupt reality television show host, and now he wants to be your next President of the United States.
Actually, Donald Trump doesn’t want to be President. Donald Trump isn’t the man who spoke before the CPAC Conference recently and was heckled by the Tea Party portion of the crowd. Donald Trump isn’t the guy who’s been making the rounds talking up his potential Presidential bid and suggesting he may run as an Independent instead of as a Republican. Donald Trump isn’t the one saying he doesn’t believe Obama was born in the United States (even though he totally was). Donald Trump didn’t recently call Bush the “worst President in history,” further polarizing himself amongst other GOP Presidential hopefuls.
That was television character The Donald.
We’re coming out of a decade where reality television dominated the landscape. Fortunately (for us), that era is coming to an end. The popularity of these shows is no longer guaranteed; slumping ratings for key shows and the embarrassingly low attendance at the recent Reality Rocks! Expo in Los Angeles are further proof that television is trending away from cheap voyeur programming. However, despite the sharp decline in popularity, it has left in its wake a permanent legacy: people knowingly portraying caricatures of themselves for the sake of entertainment or, more often, self-promotion.
The Donald from New York, like The Situation from the Jersey Shore, isn’t the same guy in front of a camera that he would be if you were to meet him in private. It’s a version of the real person with the volume turned up, along with a handful of personality traits created during the course of a television series. Although he made a name for himself initially in Real Estate, Trump has co-opted a method perfected by a new type of celebrity that is famous simply for being famous rather than any particular talent.
It’s not just his portrayal of The Donald persona in public appearances that has me skeptical of a Presidential run. It’s also the timing. Talk of his running started in early March, the same time NBC was premiering the latest season of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Now he’s stated he’ll make his official decision in June…after the conclusion of the current season and the announcement of next season’s contestants.
In the meantime, the speculation will continue and more questions will be asked by everyone from Wolf Blitzer in his ominous Situation Room (which sadly is not located anywhere near the Jersey Shore) to Mario Lopez on the set of “Access Hollywood.” Will he run as a Republican or an Independent? Will he “Ross Perot” the GOP ticket, a reference to the theory that Clinton’s 1992 victory was the direct result of a split created amongst Conservatives by Perot’s candidacy? If so, is he really a Democratic plant (I could have sworn during the 90s he even publicly identified himself as such)? Will he continue to surge in the polls?
No, because The Donald will tell us in June that he’s decided not to run. He will call politics a nasty business and infer that personal attacks against his character have come in conflict with his duties as a businessman. He’ll also note that he ultimately decided his life’s work as a businessman and media mogul was more important. Then he’ll wrap up by alluding to a conspiracy to force him out of the race.
The real reason, however, will be that The Donald can’t run because he – not Obama – isn’t a citizen of the United States. You have to be a real person to meet that criteria.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
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