The Donald’s Siren Call

Donald Trump is riding high in the polls. While we enjoy his many gaffes and self-aggrandizing pronouncements, many of us are aghast, and at a loss to explain how a candidate can attract so much interest without giving any particulars about what he would do if he did accede to the highest office in the country.

Pundits have been saying that the Donald’s popularity is due to his refreshing candor. “He says exactly what he thinks without applying the filter of political correctness” is the general opinion. All good and well, but the Donald also fails to apply the filter of thought, it seems. So far he has only blustered about the weakness and incompetence of others without putting forward any analysis of where the country stands or formulating any concrete plan to move forward.

I would also posit that what attracts voters is the very vagueness of Trump. We are constantly bombarded with news, most of which is negative, and much of which is hard to understand. Simplicity, then, becomes very attractive. Trump fulfills two needs: he functions as an ersatz father figure, saying in essence: “Choose me, and all will be well”. He also seems, to many, to embody the American ambition to achieve wealth. He lives large and is unapologetic about his outsize ego, plastering his name across buildings of great visibility and arguable taste. His wealth, he says, makes him impervious to the manipulations of donors like the Koch brothers.

It would all be easy to dismiss if some of Trump’s message was not so rabidly xenophobic. His is a candidacy in search of a scapegoat, which he found in the illegal immigrants here to escape poverty and danger in their home countries. Hopefully Trump will founder at the debate on August 6 and more serious Republican candidates will emerge – candidates you can disagree with and debate. We may not like them much, but they are rational beings for the most part, albeit with limited interest in the part of mankind that does not share their views.

Trump’s siren call may be seductive to some of us exhausted by the onslaught of negative information in the evening news. We might do well to remember, though, that sirens caused sailors to dash their ships on rocks and end their adventures in watery graves…..

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