The Selling of the President, 2016


In a generation we’ve managed to go from candidate as product to candidate as former pitchman…to…The Donald.

Trump felt no need to address Romney’s policy critiques — but the GOP front-runner did spend a solid ten minutes of his celebratory press conference defending Trump Steaks and Trump Vodka. The mogul went so far as to address the American people from beside a heaping platter of raw beef and bottles of Trump Water and Trump Wine. At one point, he held up the latest issue of Trump magazine and briefly mused on its cover story.

Of course, like all things branded Trump, there’s less than meets the eye.

But, all that said, the fact that Trump can spend upwards of 45 minutes shamelessly shilling the brand/the name while simultaneously celebrating his status as presumptive nominee of the GOP…wow.

Make no mistake. I think the guy is going to be the Republican nominee because he’s brought 30 years of chickens home to roost, and because the Republican attempts to stop him have proven to be comically inept, and because Ted Cruz is such a terrible alternative that Carly Fiorina has signed aboard with him. Trump is winning even though 66 percent of us don’t like him at all. This is a phenomenon that I take very seriously because there’s a measure of national self-loathing in there that has to be checked at some point. You will never see another performance like the one he put on last night. It was more than a demonstration of the degradation of democracy. It was also a demonstration of the degradation of capitalism. I mean, Jesus, have some pride, rich folks. At least Andrew Carnegie built libraries and Jay Gould wore stylish diamond stickpins. None of them tossed slabs of dead cow to their supporters from the stage. I’m not entirely sure, but I think that, halfway through the speech, I accidentally may have bought a time-share in Florida.

Turns out Hunter Thompson wasn’t being over the top at all when he noted that some in this country are the moral equivalent of psychotic used car salesmen. Looks like they’ve finally found their guy.