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Aug06.2015

Donny, we hardly knew ye 

 
 Megalo Man wants to make America great

Tonight's  debate will not be the last we hear of Donald Trump, and thatís the safest prediction anyone has ever made. But that is not a political prediction; it's a cultural one.  After all, this is America where clowns, like diamonds and herpes, are forever. 

The political prediction is that tonight's debate will be the last we hear of Trump as a serious presidential contender, and definitely the last we hear of him as a Republican contender.  And the reason I make the distinction is that Trump, apparently, has the assets to run an independent campaign, much like fellow stinking-rich-flash-in-the-pan-megalomaniac Ross Perot did in 1992 (from poll leader to less than 20% of popular vote) and again in 1996 (self-destructed).

In a number of interviews over the last week Trump has been asked about his strategy in tonightís Republican candidates debate held by FOX News. Trumpís interview by Bill OíReilly on Tuesday is a representative sample of Trumpís talking points on Trump. And thatís the problem: the only talking points Trump has are on Trump. Trump obviously thinks the debate is about Trump, which is what OíReilly says as well: "The upcoming debate is all about Donald Trump."  

Trump says he is not rehearsing for the debate. Heís not studying up. You just have to be who you are, he says, and being someone who is too arrogant or dim-witted to prepare for one of the most consequential debates in history is who Trump is. He says he knows the subject matter; he has been talking about it all his life, so why study?

What Trump apparently doesnít get is that a debate for political office is about more than knowing the subject matter, itís about knowing what your opponents know about the subject matter, and that requires some cramming. Trump has to distinguish his positions and his goals from the positions and goals of the nine other candidates, or at least the three or four top candidates. He has to emphasize the differences in order to argue he is the best candidate, and in order to do that he has to know what the differences are. All Trump knows is Trump.

To Trump and, apparently, OíReilly, tonightís debate is all about Trump. Trump is arrogant enough to believe that; OíReilly is stupid enough to believe it. They are quite a pair. In actuality, the debate is about the differences between the candidates with respect to the abilities to lead, their characters, their intelligence, their histories. If your flaw is that you canít articulate your opponentsí flaws Ė and yet they have done their homework and can attack your flaws Ė your hat-slogans and megalomania won't be enough to get you through to the debate with the Democrats' candidate.

 

Related: Michael Cohen: Is this the kind of jerk-off you would want to be US Attorney General? 

 

 

 

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