Trump’s bombastic style prevents critical examination of his policies. Media massages message.
Donald Trump keeps at his stand-up comic routine on the campaign trail. If you don’t take him seriously, he actually is quite amusing. But the real joke is that he keeps rising in the polls. At every campaign stop, Trump reminds us that he is the greatest negotiator, job-creator, etc., “that G-d ever created.” Lest anyone simply dismiss his current lead as the lunatic fringe flexing muscles in a huge field that divides up the support scores of his rivals, the most recent Des Moines Register poll in Iowa shows his favorable-unfavorable rating to have taken a near one-eighty degree turnaround. He is now viewed favorably by 52 percent of Iowa Republicans, as compared to only 27 percent before he announced his candidacy. Even more significant, his unfavorable rating is now down to only 33 percent, as opposed to 63 percent in the earlier poll. That means that he might now actually be a viable second choice possibility by Iowans whose first choice is one of the plethora of Republican candidates.
Donald is no longer the only candidate to employ outrageous hyperbole. Wisconsin’s Governor Walker, trying to match Trump’s ridiculous call for a fence that stretches across the entire Mexico-U.S. border, this past week proposed a fence along all of the Canadian border. New Jersey’s Governor Christie now argues for tracking every Mexican immigrant like “FedEx packages.” As if to trump Trump, rap star Kanye announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidency. Trump is only G-d’s greatest creation, while Kanye has compared himself to Jesus, Pablo Picasso, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney. Oy vey, clearly this is the year of Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message.” No one appears to even consider the absurd policies Trump advocates. It reminds us that McLuhan later co-authored a book that substituted “massage” for “message,” in which it was argued that the medium “massages” the human sensorium, the place where symbols get interpreted by the senses. In this application it appears that Trump’s simplistic, but forcefully presented, solutions to frustrating political problems that are of concern to a wide audience, “massages” the sensorium, so that his policies take a back seat to his style. Thus far it has prevented a critical examination of Trump’s proposals by the bulk of Republicans. Whether Trump’s “massage” can keep Republican voters from examining his “messages” for the length of a long campaign is the interesting question. Similar cases, such as Huey Long and Adolph Hitler, suggest that we are only one large economic downturn away from electing a demagogue. In that light “interesting” becomes “frightening.”