There is one thing about those who don’t like President Trump – they really seem to enjoy being outraged. It’s like a sense of rapture – a feedback loop of outrage that spreads like a virus, each person more outraged than the prior person.
There is another thing about President Trump – he really seems to enjoy being outrageous. Rather than putting forth facts or indicating any semblance of cool deliberation, he enjoys a delivering a swift kick to the jimmy.
Trump inspires passion among people. He knows it. As much as anyone may see him as idiotic or juvenile I personally see a degree of cunning within him that others don’t seem to want to admit. There are different ways to inspire passion in people. President Obama is held to a near cult leader status by many on the left today, much as Ronald Reagan is viewed as a savior and spiritual leader by many on the right. But Trump seems to have taken the route of Gorgeous George.
Gorgeous George Inspired Many Luminaries
Gorgeous George was kind of a do nothing wrestler back in the 40s and 50s in the US. He turned the wrestling into entertainment. One thing Gorgeous George realized is that for his success he had to be either loved or hated.
And the public HATED Gorgeous George.
He would make his ring entrances in flowing robes. He had curly locks of bleached blonde hair. Upon entering the ring, he would make a lengthy show of removing golden bobby pins from his hair, he had a butler spray perfume on the mat and opponent and the ref. He carefully and neatly folded his showy robe. He would take ten minutes just getting ready to start a match – making it a true art of antagonizing the crowd.
To crowds consisting of plenty of young men who had returned from the Battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima, Gorgeous George was everything they abhorred. He was not what was manly or macho, he cheated, he would vocally whine about his hair being mussed. That he was a champion wrestler and was no sissy was even more outrageous.
The crowd hated Gorgeous George. In fact, they hated him so much that they would pay money just to show up at a Gorgeous George match so that they could hate him. He sold out wherever he went – and almost everybody was there because they just could not stand him. When television came out, he was ideal for the medium. He brought his antagonism from the ring to the airways, being an arrogant braggart and making sure that the public knew they were going to see a show. Calling out opponents. Calling out the lesser men who would dare to boo him. Hitting on every cylinder.
And inspiring others.
Gorgeous George’s influence is obvious. From Liberace (George actually bemoaned that Liberace was impersonating him) to Little Richard and James Brown. In the early 1960s a young boxer named Cassius Clay was at a radio appearance and Gorgeous George was there. He saw the effects of Gorgeous George. He was quoted as saying not only that people hated him, but those who hated him the most would pay $100 for a ringside seat. They wanted to see him beaten. They didn’t care whether or not it was real. He heard
Cassius Clay would become Muhammad Ali. He would be a man who during the same timespan would be the most hated and most admired person in America. Ali would mouth off to anyone and everyone. Ali would insult and deride opponents and members of the press (a glaring example is Ali’s legendary battles with Howard Cosell). And Ali took it into regular life – it wasn’t just kayfabe for him.
Donald Trump, Muhammad Ali and Gorgeous George – They Exploit People’s Hatred
As mentioned, Muhammad Ali was both the most admired and most hated person in America because of the flamboyance of his personality. He showed disrespect to people. He knew exactly how to antagonize others. He knew how to generate interest. And it wasn’t limited to those who hated him. Ali was also widely loved BECAUSE of his personality, his attacks on the status quo, and his contempt for others.
People showed up to either see him get his ass kicked or to kick someone’s ass. But make no mistake about it, like Gorgeous George before him Ali was tough as nails. Ali was skilled. Ali was cunning. Ali trained and scouted his opponents.
It go personal, too. Calling Joe Frazier “ugly” and “Uncle Tom” and a “Gorilla.” At the time, many laughed at Ali’s antics. They were funny and entertaining to everyone. Except Joe Frazier – and Joe Frazier carried that anger and bitterness to his death. Ali died as the greatest boxer of all time. Few would consider him the best boxer, but “greatest” and “best” are different words.
What about Gorgeous George? George really didn’t have the heart to be Gorgeous George. He really loved those fans because he was a genuinely good guy doing a bit as a one-take actor every night. Despite his love for wrestling fans, their hatred of George ran deep. And for a man whose public bravado was matched by his private diffidence, he stiffened his spine with alcohol, and died before even reaching the age of 50.
And for President Trump? The mouth. The bravado. The insults.
Like those before him, he exploits their emotions. Their hatred and contempt. Much of Ali’s appreciation came from the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s – he was standing tall against the order and doing it with brashness. He was appealing to a class of people who were unappreciated or outright scorned by the powers that be.
Sound familiar? Ali and Gorgeous George share something in common: they all exploited people’s base emotions. The insensitive name calling. The insults. The bravado. The provocation. With that, Trump went from unlikely showman to the President of the United States.
President Trump is Supplying What the People Demand – Reasons to Hate or Love Him
One cannot merely stumble into the Presidency. To achieve such an election requires a person of great skill, cunning and narcissism. Someone who identifies a message that works to their benefit.
Who was Donald Trump? He was a candidate who spoke such vitriol that he drove the opposition to fit. He was so seditious in his comments that he faced protest after protest, causing violence and anger to be brought to him at all times.
Generating wall to wall free news coverage of “Look at the reaction Trump is causing now.” The only way that a provocateur can achieve power is by getting the response he desires. A reaction of hatred or love and no in-betweens.
I have practically BEGGED people for the last two years to knock it off with the outward Trump hate. But I also understand fully the nature of how it works.
Like Gorgeous George, people will go out of their way just to hate Trump. The Press is aware of it. People are yearning for a scandal that will stick. They are desperately seeking anything that they can hold against him. They are desperately searching for yet another reason to be outraged at Trump. It is an adrenaline rush – sheer hatred.
And the President, with a keen eye on the marketplace, supplies what is demanded. Transgenders in the military? There is little need for him to be gracious, forthright or magnanimous. Toss a match, watch the opponents get inflamed, and watch the supporters laugh like hell at histrionics of the opposition.
The Remedy to Trump is to Behave Rationally
It’s quite simple: provocateurs need a reaction. Don’t give it to them. Provocateurs PREY on hatred. Unless they are hated they cannot succeed. Because the hatred against them is what motivates the support.
I myself, who is by no means a Trump supporter or even a GOP supporter and did not vote for him, find myself too often to defend the President from the ridiculous and unsupported allegations brought against him from a purely emotional level. Which pisses me off because I have so many other objections to what he is trying to do.
The responses to Trump are usually worse that what he does. The continuous flow of scandals that aren’t scandals or didn’t happen (right down the “Golden Shower”), the disrespect for the Constitution and desires for sedition of the Electoral College was to many of us who were not a supporter far worse than anything Trump had done. The calls for impeachment against him are music to his supporter’s ears, because the calls have been made by and large without evidence of impeachable offense.
For those that want Trump to be reelected in 2020, by all means continue with your reactions to him. It worked for Trump in 2016, it’s still working today, and I see no reason why it won’t also work to his benefit.
Or, if indeed you don’t want more of him, perhaps take it upon yourselves to forestall outrageous reactions and approach with calm and cool dignity.
Addendum: As I think about it, many Democrats have taken to suggesting that identity politics is hijacking the Democratic Party’s appeal. An article on Townhall a couple of days ago made just that point. Clinton Pollster: Democrats Need To Ditch Identity Politics
What does Master Provocateur President Trump do? Hit on identity politics, causing a reaction callign for a “culture war” and a reintensification of that which many on Democrats are identifying as a losing issue. People are outraged? Giving them the product they want and he reaps the rewards.