Poopypants politics (1)
The Democratic Republic of the Kontongo has elections every four years. Of course “Democratic” can only be used loosely, when you see the way elections are fought down there, smack in the middle of tropical Africa. Candidates attack each other personally, accuse each other of vile deeds, call each other liars and crooks, and discuss penis size during the election campaign. Even the wives of the candidates are fair game, and insinuations of sexual misconduct by them abound. The issues seldom come up, and when they do they are handled summarily with “I am great at that” generalities.
Of course this style of campaigning has little in common with the kind of debate and elections we know in France or Germany. It is driven by innuendo and tribalism. These people, you could argue, living in the deepest jungle, are not yet ready for democracy. They are still in a phase where…
Hang on. Wait a minute! I’ve got something wrong here. I didn’t mean Kontongo — a country I expediently invented. I am talking about the 2016 elections in the United States of America, and more specifically about the Republican primaries, where candidates hurled schoolyard insults at each other, talking about organ size and marital fidelity, spray tans and profuse sweating. Really.
For example: Trump said he had never seen a human being sweat like Marco Rubio (“It looks like he had just jumped into a swimming pool with his clothes on”). Rubio countered by saying Trump had to apply makeup around his “sweat mustache”. Trump said Rubio had the biggest ears he’d ever seen, and Rubio countered with Trump’s little hands, adding “You know what they say about men with small hands?” Trump was quick to counter this insinuation that he was genitally under-endowed: “I guarantee you there is no problem there.” Phew, we were worried for a moment.
Another battle in the Republican primaries got wives involved. It started when an anti-Trump super PAC ran ads featuring a photo of Trumps wife Melania, naked and handcuffed to a briefcase.
In retaliation the Trump tweeted: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” The beans? That lead to a hoax speculation that he would reveal that Heidi had been a call girl. Not true, ask Snopes.
Cruz meanwhile tweeted: “Pic of your wife not from us. Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought.”
Two days later Trump tweeted an unflattering picture of his rival’s wife Heidi next to a glamour shot of Melania, with the comment “No need to spill the beans — The images are worth a thousand words.”
Around this time there was a story in the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer about “Pervy Ted’s” five alleged mistresses. Trump denied that he had anything to do with this story, but kept chastising the mainstream media for not reporting on it.
And let’s come to the mocking of a disabled reporter. Sam Harris describes this episode in one of his speeches with incredulity:
Have you seen that footage? Imagine what that would have done to any other person’s campaign. Imagine President Obama eight years ago doing that, imagine Hillary Clinton today doing that. It would be the end of their campaign. Trump has done a dozen things that are so unpresidential, that show such poor judgement, such a lack of impulse control, such a pettiness, such narcissism, such emotional and intellectual immaturity, it would be inconceivable to promote such a person in any other context as a candidate of a major political party. Yet here we are with Trump.
Finally (I’m running out of steam here) there was a memorable exchange with Anderson Cooper on CNN. He asked Trump about “the back and forth between you and Senator Cruz about wives.” Trump’s reaction: “Excuse me, I didn’t start it.” Cooper: “With all due respect, that’s the argument of a five-year-old.” Trump: “No, it’s not” (classic five-year-old retort). Cooper: “Every parent knows a kid who says he started it.”
In the meantime Lyin’ Ted Cruz and Little Marco Rubio are out and Big Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Clearly his strategy worked, he got a majority vote. But how is he going to proceed, what will he do when he faces the general electorate and the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Does he have a secret strategy?
Yes he does, and that will be revealed to you in part two of our Trump-a-Thron. Also the full meaning of our Poopypant title.