I watched Fox News’s live coverage of Donald Trump’s rally in Mobile tonight. My mother, who watched it with me, said to my father, “He reminds me of Huey” — meaning Huey P. Long, the former populist governor of our fair state. She meant this entirely as a compliment, and declared herself a Trump voter.
I get the Trump phenomenon mo’ better now. I really do. The guy, first and foremost, is a massive egotist, and completely shameless — but then, he always has been. Within the first five minutes in Alabama, he had praised Billy Graham, and denounced an illegal immigrant who had SODOMIZED, TORTURED and KILLED an old lady who was a VETERAN, if you can believe it!
I was thinking: what the hell is this? Do politicians in America running for national office really say this? Then again, on the pre-game show, so to speak, Tucker Carlson was talking about Trump and the immigration issue with a Latina journalist, and she was horrible. All she could say in response to serious, legitimate concerns about anchor babies and the like was, in effect, “Bigot, bigot, bigot!”
Let me be perfectly clear: Trump is a demagogue, and I would never vote for him. Watching his speech, I shook my head, astonished that anybody would brag so much about himself, and present himself as the most arrogant son of a bitch in the room — and this, as his basic platform! Yet I thought: on some of this stuff, he’s right. He is a complete cartoon of an American capitalist, and is preaching a form of nationalism so crude you cannot believe this guy is for real. Yet it is obvious why it’s working. I laughed and inwardly cheered for him when he blasted his GOP opponents as people who have to consult with their pollsters before they say a word. Trump is an ass, and he doesn’t care. There is something I grudgingly respect about that.
Again: he’s a demagogue, and he will never have my vote. But having watched his rally tonight, and been equally disgusted and fascinated, I know much better why he’s doing so well. His basic pitch is: the world is run by assholes, and I’m a bigger asshole than everybody else, so I’m going to negotiate a better deal for America. Who could fail to laugh when he made fun of John Kerry as being a bicycle-riding flake who got taken for a ride by the Iranians? You’re like: are you for real? Which is part of the Joy of Trump Thought. When he made fun of the two GOP presidential candidates from Florida, Rubio and Bush, whose rear ends he is currently kicking in the polls, I thought, “Good for you.” I felt kind of embarrassed by that, but mostly not really. He is an unholy fool, Donald Trump, and is a guilty, Prytania-like pleasure to watch on the stump. It’s like the World Wrestling Federation. I would go to a Donald rally, just because, well, he reminds me of what I know of Huey, and of Earl K. Long, laying into his opponent DeLesseps “Chep” Morrison — “Dellasoups,” he called him — the mayor of New Orleans, mocked by Uncle Earl as a hapless snotty-tot. Saints preserve me, it is a sick delight to savor Donald Trump — big-mouth Yankee oligarch! — playing the Uncle Earl role in this race. “Boisterous, uncouth, and truculent,” the New York Times Magazine called Uncle Earl — words they could accurately use to describe El Trumpo. Henceforth, I shall refer to Jeb! as Dellasoups.
Uncle Chuckie, this Republican primary is for you.