I mentioned Donald Trump to an elderly retiree sitting next to me. The man whispered with passion. “I agree with him. He won’t be President, but what he says is true.” “What?” I asked. “He’s going to convince the Mexicans to pay for a wall between our countries?” “Not that,” he says, “but in general what he is saying is true. He’d be way better than that clown in the White House.”
Donald Trump has lit up talk radio and the 2016 election. He makes bombastic and offensive statements. He says Mexican immigrants are rapists. He’s rich, he’s really rich. He would have out-negotiated the Iranians. He could handle Putin. He has a plan for ISIS.
Donald Trump is Kim Kardashian mixed with Bill Clinton, Sean Hannity, and Thurston Howell, III. He is a reality star who we watch in spite of ourselves, who ignites passion, and who has money, lots and lots of money.
He has everyone doing exactly what he wants — talking about him. He entertains through outrageous outrage. Outrageous outrage is interesting. It taps into deep fears held by lots of Americans about immigrants, national security, and our economic health. It causes a backlash, which makes news which causes angry people to defend him, which makes news, which causes more backlash, which makes news, which causes more defenders.
We don’t read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a story unless it is interesting. Similarly, we like to listen to and follow interesting people. Donald Trump is interesting – and offensive. The other presidential candidates, so far, pale next to him in interestingness. They are politicians, which puts them into on our boring list – even if we like politics. Trump, on the other hand, is a character who defies any list. That is interesting.
In the end, his advocacy won’t work. He doesn’t believe in what he advocates. His only real passion is himself. After we build him up, we will find it equally interesting to watch him implode. The whole time we will have a hoot watching.
Whatever happens to the Donald, he shows that outrageous outrage and a flashy personality can get tongues wagging about an issue. One just needs to not mind the cost of permanently losing those who are offended.
OOBAV: Outrageous Outrage