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Trump l’oeil

Could Donald Trump become president of the United States? Is such political dementia even remotely conceivable?

Evidently so. Various polls have him leading the long list of Republican candidates (eleven at the latest count, all nonentities) even as other polls report that support for the likely Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, is fading, apparently on the grounds that she is untrustworthy.

On the other hand, although America has a history of far-right or far-left candidates hijacking the early stages of party nominating elections, few survived to contest the presidential election itself, and those who did fared poorly. Trump himself, according to one veteran Republican consultant, may indeed merely be experiencing no more than “a celebrity publicity bubble”. We can only hope so – that ‘we’ being defined as those reasonable, thoughtful Americans already disillusioned by the decline in political discourse but ever hopeful that someone will come along to reverse it.

The man who calls himself ‘The Donald’ is plainly as daft as a brush, a self-absorbed, publicity-obsessed buffoon who has no more idea how he would lead or govern the United States than the deranged, bigoted loud-mouthed barfly burdened by woodpiles on both shoulders. Fabulously wealthy Trump may be in the financial sense but intellectually he is as bankrupt as the barroom loser. He makes much of his rise to power and fame, and the fortune that he, against all the odds, created. This, though, is no self-made man, no rugged individualist beloved of America’s aspiring class. The source of his wealth was his father’s real estate business, which Trump Junior first helped to manage – often using dubious methods applied ruthlessly – and then inherited. His political views are as superficial as his ridiculous manicured pompadour, as opportunistic as most of his shady casino business deals.

In short, he is a man utterly lacking in the virtues of humility, wit, common sense or compassion. He is, as the phrase goes, trying to take us for a ride.

Admittedly his recent scornful dismissal of former presidential candidate Senator John McCain (for not being a war hero because he was captured) was greeted with derision by supporters and opponents alike, but that probably was not enough to nullify his appeal to the Tea Party elements of the Republican party for his earlier call for a ban on immigration from Mexico on the grounds that they pose a mortal danger to American womanhood. Trump, incidentally, was successfully dodging the draft just about the time McCain was rotting in that Hanoi jail.

America has come to a pretty pass if Trump goes any further in the process than the brief, diverting ‘entertainment’ that he has provided so far. If he does, I may just consider renouncing my citizenship.

One can only hope that he is no more than a political manifestation of trompe l’oeil, defined in my dictionary as something ‘used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object’.

There we have it in a foreign nutshell: Trump l’oeil.’

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