It does not matter who the Democrats run for president in 2020. It does not matter if the Russians meddle in the election. Donald J. Trump will win a second term. There are five reasons why he will win. Six if you live in a flyover state and seven if you have stocked a block house with survival gear for the coming Apocalypse.
It has nothing to do directly with his Administration’s policies, those are side shows. It is not because he is the incumbent or the economy is humming at 5 percent. That is helpful. It has nothing to do with tax cuts and tariffs. Our country was founded on the belief of not paying taxes so tax cuts are nothing new. Tariffs, ask any high school student and they might remember the Smoot/Hawley Tariff. But I can almost guarantee with 90 percent accuracy that the name is all they will remember.
It is not immigration either. Pick up any history book and we can find a period of time were somebody did not care for those coming down the gang plank to the New World. Check out the Know Nothings of the 1840s. (see the June 2016 blog The Know Nothings Ride Again)
President Trump will win because of the drama. It is a story, a TV show that practically writes itself with Donald Trump cast in the lead role. It is similar to the movie, The Natural when the “slimy reporter” Maxwell Mercy, tells the aging ball player, Roy Hobbs, whether he wins or loses he is going to make Mercy a great story.
In literature, there are five characteristics that make a good story good; just ask any middle schooler in a Language Arts class. They will be able to draw a graphic organizer depicting the basic character, hook, setting, plot, conflict with rising action and resolution. Some have added elements like theme, and point of view but let’s not complicate the matter more than it already is.
Now some critics will argue about which characteristic is the most important in driving a good story. Some say that believable characters are needed; others will say it is the conflict within the plot that drives a story. With this administration conflicts abounds. The storyline can jump from one tweet to another. One day it can be a crime drama with indictments being handed out and lawyers making all sorts of counter claims. It could be billed as a modern-day Salem Witch Hunt. “Dunk him! See if he floats!”
Other days it could easily be a suspense romance with salacious love interests or an erotic romance playing out in public with hushed-jilted lovers and the stoic wife quietly standing by her man. Or is she?
It could be a story of man against man or then just as easily, man against society: the news media, portrayed as the enemy of the people and the murky conspiratorial “deep state” trying its best to destroy the hero and all the values the hero stands for.
The story also has an epic quest. Epic quests like in Star Wars make the story. Quests are necessary for a hero to flourish. The greater the evil threat the greater the hero. For it is the enemy that really defines the hero. What makes Luke Skywalker a Jedi? He turns Darth Vader, the “baddest” dude in the galaxy, from the dark side. From Darth Vader’s first appearance there was no need to explain how bad this guy was. We all knew it from the beginning. Who can argue with a hero’s epic quest to “make America great again.” Even if the causes of America’s demise are as nebulous as the gases pulsating from the Crab Nebula.
It would be hard to classify this administration’s show as a comedy; a lot of late night shows seem to find the lighter side of this administration. I am not sure if this show could be classified as a dark comedy, blue comedy or obscene comedy. It is definitely not a slap stick although it could be argued it has some of the same elements as the Marx Brothers’ movie Duck Soup. It is hard to deny that all of these comic elements are taking place.
Although it could hardly be called a spy thriller. It reads more like Smily’s People than the Bourne Identity, it does have a foreign intrigue to it. Maybe more like the Cohen Brothers movie Burn after Reading or maybe the Bond flick, From Russia with Love.
Others may see this as a tragedy; or an Armageddon film where dumbfounded scientist, generals and politician are completely surprised by the appearance of a large asteroid coming straight for earth. It could be some sort of cataclysmic weather-related event that will change the earth’s geo-economic powers into dying dinosaurs. An end game where the monkeys come down out of the trees and claim their true inheritance. It is the end of civilization as we know it. A real-life Planet of the Apes.
All of these elements make up many popular paperback books, movies and TV shows. The Trump Administration combines all of those elements. It defies a genre. So, what makes this different? Like any good book or a successful show, it is the believable characters. And ther are no shortage of these. There are Nazis, incompetent politicians, front stabbers, smarmy attorneys, babbling press secretaries, lurking women, bumbling family members and plenty of antagonists like the “Fake News,” The Supreme Leader (Iran’s Ali Khamenei). Or my favorite: Dear Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Commander of the Korean People’s Army. Comic Book writers did not make this stuff up but it reads like a superhero battling evil. Just look in any “fake” newspaper. These characters secret villainy and conflict.
And then there is a hero: Donald J Trump. Although, some will argue that Trump does not fit the bill as the hero; and to many, he is completely miscast in role. But a story has to have a hero or an anti-hero to make the self-proclaimed quest to Make America Great Again a quest.
And just about every Sunday there is a new weekly hook to bring the audience back into to the drama. Trump, as the hero, gives people hope to believe in revenge for past wrongs; anticipation that mysteries will be solved; and that all the treachery of past adminstrations will be tamed.
Pundits and politicos may analysis this administration and pollsters may interpret the numbers on how popular the president is politically. But when it comes to selling soap, President Trump knows what the audience wants. And people are riveted to the drama.
Expect four more years in 2020. Just like the TV show LOST, where people had no idea of where the storyline was going, they tuned in, because they liked not knowing. The show, like this administration, practically writes itself. The problem, like LOST, is in the long run most viewers were disappointed in the ending.