Person Versus Persona

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Will the real Donald Trump, please, stand up?

A very popular show back in the days of my youth was “What’s My Line?” The idea of the game show was for the celebrity panelists to figure out through a series of questions who the real person was and to eliminate the two imposters posing as that person. Quite often the panel was stumped to the delight of the audience.

During the 2016 presidential election cycle we are seeing this show once more played out. The American voters are the panelists. The contestant is one person who has blown away all semblance of politics as normal. I am speaking, of course, about Donald Trump, the current front runner in the Republican nominating process.

Recently former rival, Dr. Ben Carson, following his endorsement of Trump for the nomination, said that there were two Donald Trumps.

The one Trump is the public persona being broadcast day and night on the news networks and on the campaign trail along with the deluge of tweets on Twitter.

The other Trump is the capable businessman who will effectively govern the nation if elected president.

For a day or two there was some discussion about Carson’s statement, then it went into the dustpan of memory. This statement, however, speaks volumes and is highly important in this election.

Which Trump will show up to work in the Oval Office if he gathers the votes of the people and the Electoral College?

Will it be the brash, in-your-face, reality TV star or the more considerate, thoughtful businessman?

With the rise in popularity of reality television and the ever-expanding use of social media, The Donald became an American star.

The Donald, a character developed to play the role of a man Americans love to hate and hate to love, came to bloom with appearances with the World Wrestling Federation and later WWE.

The Donald relished poking fun of himself on Saturday Night Live. The Donald became a household name as The Boss on The Apprentice.

Prior to this and during all this time, Mr. Trump was building a successful business empire. Mr. Trump was licensing his name and his brand on golf courses, on buildings, in the hospitality industry. Mr. Trump was playing the game as laid out in laws governing expansion of his business.

Now, The Donald is brandishing his unique character to say the most outlandish and dig to the quick in such a way that people are cheering in the streets.

The Donald is clearly striking the right tone in this reality TV and social media world.

But come November, will the people be able to determine whether The Donald or Mr. Trump will take the seat of power when he takes residence in the White House?

Recently a similar legal case played out in front of our eyes. It was a case built on the idea that there is a difference between the public persona and the private person.

That case was decided by a jury who found there was a line between persona and person.

It was not Hulk Hogan, the persona, who won a judgment against the news website, Gawker, but rather the person, Terry Bollea, whose privacy had been invaded by the posting of a scurrilous sex tape.

Between now and November, American voters need to decide who is the real Donald J. Trump.

The American voters need to determine if there is a line between Trump’s persona and his person.

From the Cornfield, will the real Donald Trump, please, stand up?

If elected, who will report for duty?

The Donald or Mr. Trump?

The Evolution of Donald Trump

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Since last summer when Donald Trump announced he was running to be President of the United States, I have watched his campaign development with interest.

Here are the articles I have written about the rise of Trump as the Republican front runner and likely candidate to-date.

That Thorny Immigration Issue

Trump Effect Or How to Throw an Election

Stunt to Serious Contention

An American Revolution

Trump Effect Redux

Reality TV Election Season 1

From the Cornfield, whether Trump becomes victorious is yet to be known. What is known is that he has tapped into the electorate in a way others seem to have missed.

The question now is if elected how will Trump govern?

Reality TV Election Season 1

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The ratings could not be better for Season 1 of Reality TV Election. This new show came out of nowhere to catapult to the most watched television show of the season. Records continue to be broken across all demographic lines.

Yes, I am talking about Presidential Election 2016.

Tune in to any news channel or surf any political or news website. The show is the same. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the stars, with The Donald getting top billing.

The big talk is who is to blame for the rising star power that is on display.

President Barack Obama is even chiming in and putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Republican lawmakers in Congress. Those lawmakers are blaming the President.

The Establishment in both parties is to blame for not being responsive to the people. The people are angry. The people don’t care any more about being nice and polite. The people want someone to speak for them.

Are we really that surprised?

Some are blaming the media for giving Trump too much free air time because it pads the networks bottom line and boosts the ratings. While true, the blame is not there. The networks are merely reacting and giving the viewing audience what they want.

In other words, the blame rests squarely with the man or woman in the mirror.

Yes, each of us are to blame.

We have been moving to this point for years.

Those Saturday wrestling shows with in-your-face bombastic comments. The trash-talking on the basketball courts. The build-up and rhetoric before the big fight.

Then along came the World Wrestling Federation leading to today’s WWE.

Viewers could not get enough.

Networks tired of flagging ratings and high costs to produce quality sitcoms and dramas looked to on-the-cheap “reality TV“.

Ratings soared.

Survivor – Big Brother – Real Life – those Housewives – on and on. People lapped it all up and the more outrageous the better.

Along came the internet, My Space, Facebook and Twitter. Decorum and privacy went out the window. Then came Instagram and Vine. The YouTube generation was born.

Instant gratification. Seven-second videos. Instant picture uploads.

All gave rise to the viewing and voting public wanting candidates who fit into their 140-character world.

So here we are in 2016, the fourth presidential election of the 21st Century. The hottest show in the world is Reality TV Election.

From the Cornfield, will this show last through until the new season in 2020?

Will the summer stock of the 2018 be able to keep the viewers tuned-in?

Will the two major political parties managed to keep our interest?

Will the producers reach even farther outside to new parties and new players?

Trump Effect Redux

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In July of last year when the 2016 presidential campaign was in its infancy, I wrote this article on Donald Trump’s candidacy for president: Trump Effect Or How to Lose an Election.

All the points I made then, still hold water as of today – but – it is too late.

This past week, the Republican “Establishment” woke up to the reality of what is. But, it also is too late.

As I wrote on February 21 this year, there is An American Revolution taking place. It is happening in the Republican Party.

That revolution is gaining and likely to be a win for the insurrectionists.

Suddenly the Establishment is planning for either an open convention with no candidate getting the necessary delegates on the first couple of rounds of ballots or mounting its own third party run to keep down-ticket candidates safe from a Donald Trump nomination and run against likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

So what to do?

At this point, if Republicans want to win the election, it looks like the only choice is to consolidate around the one candidate who has voters enthused, turning out new voters, attracting more voters to the party. Then hope that a grand jury indicts Clinton over her private email server.

The time to stop Trump was last summer. Now, it is too late.

Why else would everyone be humming and singing along with Carol King’s, “It’s too late, baby. Now, it’s too late. Though we really did try to make it. Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no…

All the beating breasts and pounding chests in the world is not going to make a difference. The GOP has only itself to blame.

From the Cornfield, as the Republicans have shown so often in the last few years, they refuse to learn from the mistakes of inflexibility and of taking the people seriously.

Once more the GOP has ignored the groundswell, pooh-poohing the reality locked away in fake ivory towers made of plastic, until it is too late.

Now the party, like the Wicked Witch of the West, is melting.

Will it survive or evolve?