Photo courtesy of “cat pornographer” Andrew Kaczynski
What I understood about Donald Trump before nearly everyone else: to troll is to control.
On July 10, 2015, I published the following article, “Sympathy For The Donald,” at Taki Mag.
Yes, that made me one of the first to predict the Trump phenomenon despite what you might have read elsewhere.
… for all the tut-tutting about Donald Trump, he gets results. Mr. Trump has often used his “big Twitter” to force the conversation in ways he wants it to go. He endeared himself to this writer when he forced Barack Obama to release his Photoshopped certificate of live birth the very same week that SEAL Team Six reportedly killed Osama bin Laden—an obvious example of misdirection. Why didn’t Obama release his certificate of live birth before bin Laden was dumped into the sea? Surely he had it before that little raid in Abottabad?
If you’re foolish enough to believe that Barack Obama is the son of a Kenyan, you’re in diminishing company these days. Not even Obama’s own alleged half brother Malik believes they are related. The probable father is Frank Marshall Davis, who boasted that he had impregnated three different women (including his wife) and who, despite being prominently mentioned throughout the 1995 version of Dreams From My Father, was excised from the 2004 audio version. To ask Obama who-is-your-daddy questions is to be branded a birther, a term tailor-made for dismissal. And yet Trump refused to be unpersoned. He didn’t go away. Mr. Trump didn’t have to pick that fight but he did, and he never apologized for it. Of course, I would have asked why Obama has never done a genetic test with his friend (and pop celebrity geneticist) Henry Louis Gates Jr., but I’m a nerd, not a billionaire (yet). Having Obama’s DNA would answer the question definitely, which is precisely why no one has asked for it. Maybe we’ll find out in his post-presidency.
Here is the beauty: Trump can’t really be boycotted because he can’t really be publicly shamed. He can violate whatever taboo the cognoscenti have decided upon last week because he can’t really be made to pay. Sure, he might lose a deal here or there, but it’s nothing compared with the publicity he’s getting. No one would dare call Trump a tired old man, even though he is two years older than Hillary. He seems alive. Chris Christie’s slogan is “Telling It Like It Is,” but that space is already occupied. Trump calls out his competitors as the “losers” they are.
Trump can’t be censored like yours truly from Twitter. Indeed he may well be the only man in the presidential field who is free to say what he fancies to his 3 million Twitter followers and countless millions more. And yes, he’s—to borrow a phrase from another great troll, Charlie Sheen—winning. Whether it’s drawing attention to his many successes in business or the beauties he parades about or the hotel he’s coincidentally building on Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump is playing by his own set of rules. The very same reality-distortion field that made Jobs rich makes Trump impervious to pain.
Who cares about being president when you can decide the day’s news? Trump understands intuitively that he who controls the news cycle controls the politics. So go ahead and condemn him. All you do in the tweeting world is elevate him. Power perceived is power achieved. And, in our page-views click-baiting Ryan Holiday culture, power is the ability to command attention. It’s the ability to affect the issues we talk about. To trend on Twitter is to set the agenda.
Even Conservatism, Inc. is being forced along. Donor cruise-ship director Rich Lowry—that beta of beta males who has fired or shunned the best writers National Review once offered—concedes in the most popular piece on Politico that Trump has a point about the illegal aliens. The only other interesting candidate in 2016—Ted Cruz (a Latino, no less!)—seems to have taken Lowry’s cue and defended Trump from the La Raza lynch mobs. Revolutions are made of smaller things.
And while Jeb Bush pretends personal offense to The New York Times—he apparently married a woman willing to do the job that American women wouldn’t—he’s drawing attention to his wife’s own smuggling criminality. Columba Bush still doesn’t speak English.
There have been many jokes by the Twitteratti that Trump is the Chuck C. Johnson of politics. They’ve even joked that we might run on a ticket. I’m ineligible (for now), but I’d settle for press secretary. And failing that, I’d be happy to serve as a judge for any beauty contest should other, lesser men not want to do their duty. Have your people call my people, Mr. Trump.
GotNews.com hedged our bets by betting on the last Republican — Ted Cruz — but Donald Trump has been running the Chuck C. Johnson campaign: taking risks, breaking news, breaking rules, loving the celebrity, and demystifying how things work, and giving zero fucks about how you’re covered by your enemies.
You just gotta keep going, despite difficulty, pushing past setbacks, and for love of your fellow citizens.
If they can’t break you they wind up making you.