While much of the country is debating whether or not Donald Trump is seriously considering running for president and, if so, whether he has a shot at winning the nomination, I am all too clear on the purpose he is serving in the moment.
Trump is a mirror. The big magnifying kind that shows way more of your pores and lines than you ever wanted to see. He’s like a big reflector bearing down on our nation, all 50 states, bringing to light some blotches and blemishes we would not have otherwise seen.
And so now we know how misguided and desperate so many of our citizens are.
Those polls touting Trump’s popularity are not just shining light on his potential candidacy, but on how many people in this country are incapable of dealing with not getting their way. They can’t accept that Barack Obama is president because they vehemently disagree with his views or his leadership ability or both, so--woohoo--along came Trump to show us just how petulant and obstinate people can be.
Because, truly, this birther issue says less about Trump than it does about the surreal amount of people he’s awakened with that ‘straight talk’ they adore. Lots of liberals will cite racism as the underlying motivator here--and certainly that is true of some in both covert and overt ways--but I think that’s knee-jerk and overlooking a big piece of what is happening.
Folks, you lost an election. We’re more than halfway to the next one. Breathe. Gear up to vote for someone else, Trump or whomever. It’s your right and in fact your duty to express yourself at the polls, but base it on real issues affecting our country. This is how it works. Sometimes we have to be big boys and girls and get over what is already done. You know, kind of like when the Supreme Court of the land hands the reins of the country to the candidate who didn’t get the popular vote and may not have gotten the electoral vote either. Moot point now, right? Stuff happens. We deal with it.
That presidency is in the books. And this one is well on its way.
You don’t have to agree with his choices and you can even be vocal and active in your objections, but to treat the president of the United States like some foreigner who’s trying to beat customs is carrying things too far (Yes, I’m talking to you, Pat Buchanan). As Phoebe once said to Monica on Friends, “You’re getting all twirly. And not in a good way.”
Today President Obama released his long-form birth certificate and addressed the “sideshow” and “carnival barkers” that have been hijacking the national conversation.
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” Obama said.
Sitting back and watching this whole birther saga unfold has reminded me of being at a high school basketball game and cringing because the parents of the athletes on the losing team were yelling at the refs for cheating. When I was a sports writer, I saw people dwell on this for an entire (insert sport here) season. It’s a healthy concept to be teaching student athletes, isn’t it? How about--oh, I don’t know -- telling them they’ll win next time if they score more points than the other team?
I also used to be the public relations director for an international youth baseball league and I have seen what happens when one player sprouts up well before most others his age. The mommy and daddy of the kid who hasn’t yet had his adolescent growth spurt start the birth certificate chorus and it goes on through a whole tournament. Even producing the paperwork didn’t convince some of them. Sound familiar?
It’s maddening. And we know that despite the president’s press conference, the issue will not die.
Roger Stone -- a self-described “Trump cheerleader” who published a piece called “The Demographics of Trumpmania” on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government -- spent 25 years as a lobbyist for Trump and was the chairman of his 2000 presidential exploratory committee, so his insights into Trump’s appeal are intriguing:
“Trump is a middle class phenomena [sic]. Middle aged, middle income, middle class voters are Trump’s core. Hispanic voters give him high favorable ratings as do African Americans and poor whites. The higher your level of education the more likely you are to loath [sic] Trump. If you are self-made you are 70% more likely to like Trump than if you have inherited money. Small businessmen like Trump, Wall Street Gekkos do not. The Apprentice has enhanced his standing because his short segments show him being cool, tough and decisive, things voters are looking for after the vacillation of Barrack [sic] Obama.
“Trump appeals to the strivers,” Stone continues. “Trump lives as they would live if they were rich. Trump’s over the top lifestyle of the biggest and the best appeals to these voters. The Ivy League educated? Not so much. Old Money? Forget it. Trump appeals to the Perot and Buchanan voter suspicious of both parties. The Tea Party is a natural launching pad for Trump.”
OK, then. Got it. Sort of. I’m a striver. I don’t watch The Apprentice, but I did get something out of The Art of the Deal. I consider myself rich and blessed, but not in the financial sense. If a chunk of money did come my way, I’d like to think I’d be more in the camp of the CEOs I’ve seen on the show Undercover Boss – empathetic, seeking to understand, wielding power in a way that uplifts others.
The reflection in that mirror would look a whole lot different.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.