Trump the Entertainer Is Screwing It Up for Trump the Candidate

The show business has all phases and grades of dignity, from the exhibition of a monkey to the exposition of that highest art in music or the drama which secures for the gifted artists a world-wide fame princes well might envy.
~ P. T. Barnum

There are two Donald Trumps in this Presidential race and only one of them can win.

Trump the Entertainer likes to play to a crowd. He likes to make people a little uneasy. He thrives in that moment when he makes an outlandish, off-the-cuff comment to drive a point home. The gasps and uneasy laughter from the audience are his applause.

He craves center stage and there is no stage bigger than that of a Presidential election.

“I don’t care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!” ~ P. T. Barnum

And then there is Trump the Candidate.

Republicans are counting on this Trump. We want, … no, we need him to win, as do all of the other Republican candidates up and down the ballot in every state and county race.

Every American who wants to protect our individual liberties from a liberal U. S. Supreme Court is counting on this Trump to make the case against Hillary Clinton and win back the White House.

Some showmanship is good, but Trump the Entertainer is sabotaging Trump the Candidate and, by extension, the Republican Party and only Trump has the ability to change the narrative.

“Without promotion, something terrible happens … nothing!” ~ P. T. Barnum

This is the Tale of Two Trumps and it feels like a greek tragedy. His need to be entertaining is undercutting his goal of winning the presidency. The very thing Trump craves is causing the thing he seeks to slip away.

Like any good entertainer, Trump enjoys playing to the crowd. His consistent use of hyperbole may be crowd-pleasers, but it changes the story from the valid point he was making to the way in which he made it.

Then there are the asides, the stream-of-consciousness comments made in the middle of some larger point. These asides are the crutch of an undisciplined candidate.

Unforced errors are not the fault of the media, a rigged system, Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus. They are the candidate’s fault. Understand that, fix it, and move on.

“You can fool some of the people all of the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can never fool all of the people all of the time. ~ P. T. Barnum

Trump needs to realize that his audience is bigger than just the people in the room. The world is watching and listening. Your opponents are looking for soundbites to put in campaign ads. Make your opponents take your comments out of context. Don’t give them bad quotes in context.

If Trump the Candidate is serious about winning this election, it’s time for Trump the Entertainer to take a curtain call.


This article was originally published in Quorum Report on August 16, 2016.