Donald Trump is unintentionally good for democracy

A11 Trump

DONKEYHOTEY/CC BY-SA 2.0

By WILL MARCUS

Let me start by saying that Trump will never win the presidency. A candidate cannot alienate women, blacks, Hispanics and Asians and expect to win the whole enchilada. There just aren’t enough deep red Republicans out there. Nevertheless, Trump’s impact on the American political system has been nothing short of profound and, in many respects, positive.

Allow me to preface this opinion with the fact that Trump is a first degree clown. Every time he gets on stage I half expect him to reveal that he has ‘tiger blood.’ His fiery mane billows in the wind like the highly-conspicuous, precisely manicured embodiment of stupidity it is — and you know Trump is supremely proud of it. As unbelievably inane as it is, Trump’s irreverent mop reinforces everything ill-advised that he says. It communicates one message and one message only: “I’m rich, b*tch.” Oh yes, unlike any other candidate I can remember or even any candidate that Google can summon, Donald Trump has no interest in playing to “the common man,” or anyone else for that matter. You won’t ever see a photograph of him holding a baby in a rural Midwest diner. He denied the Des Moines Register press credentials for publishing a critical Opinions piece (sorry Johns Hopkins News-Letter News & Features team, looks like we’re not ever going to get press passes for a Trump rally). He even announced his presidency in a Trump Tower. He does whatever he pleases, confident that his multi-billion dollar safety net of personal wealth will catch him every time he falls. Believe me, I’m not endorsing his devil-may-care behavior but I do celebrate it because it is causing abject chaos in our political system.

In other words I celebrate Trump’s behavior because it is so ludicrously insolent. He actively desecrates the long-standing conventions of American politics without seeming to give even a single, paltry sh*t — and it is amazing. He may not have meant it to, but Trump’s campaign has called much-needed attention to chronic problems within the American political system. Donald Trump is a force for change, but thankfully in none of the ways he has outlined in his “policy” objectives.

Trump’s unconventional pride in being “really rich,” as he stated in his campaign announcement, has led him to make a serious logical leap against the traditional Political Action Committee (PAC). On Aug. 2, Trump tweeted, “I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that travelled to California to beg for money (etc.) from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” This was neither the first nor last time Trump has attacked his rivals for relying on strings-attached donations from anonymous, über rich donors to fund their campaigns ever since the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case that authorized PACs to function the way they do now. Super PACs have had free reign to spend billions on behalf of individual campaigns or policy objectives. This trend is highly disturbing for a number of reasons: they give candidates a financial incentive to act on behalf of the special interests of the funders and second, they have been funding excessive amounts of attack ads. No matter which way you look at it, super PACs are unhealthy for democracy, and Trump is doing our political system a service by giving them the negative attention they deserve (even if he if his damaged ego is only striking back against the mountain of attack ads they have thrust upon him).

The next way Trump’s wild behavior informs positive change is the way he speak and acts in general. In a world where high-priced campaign strategists, consultants and writers dictate a candidate’s every word. He is the contrast that makes almost all of his rivals, Hillary especially, seem disingenuous. The fact that he doesn’t hide his wealth nor make any effort to personally connect with middle-class Americans makes his competition look fake. Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” is just one example of a heavy-handed appeal to the working man that Trump made sure not to attend. Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry and others all showed up to surround themselves with the historically blue-collar hobbies of motorcycling and barbecuing. Fundraisers like this have historically been par for the course for presidential hopefuls and will likely continue to be. Trump’s approach just offers food for thought that a candidate maybe doesn’t need to pretend they love motorcycles and ribs in order to win the trust of the demographic they wish to court.

In conclusion, Donald Trump’s campaign has shocked the world. More Americans than ever are watching the debates; not that I would know anything about this, but GOP debate drinking games are popular around campus now too. Nobody I know actually agrees with any part of his policy, but he is a spectacle that inspires political discourse. Maybe it’s because watching the Trump campaign feels like watching some surreal, marginally-frightening reality TV show, or maybe its because he is inflammatory enough to rouse our liberal minds to action, but speculation is pointless because the reason doesn’t matter. Donald Trump will never get elected, and our generation is more aware of the flaws of our political system than ever — and most importantly, many of us are charged to do something about it. In the meantime, tolerate his behavior with a grain of salt; though it may be boorish, it’s authentic and hopefully other candidates will get a little more real because of it.

Will Marcus is a senior International Studies and economics major from Austin, Texas. He is the Opinions Editor.

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