Time and Esquire both went full Trump this week, with cover titles of “How Trump Won” and “Hater in Chief”, respectively. Not to mention very similar red, white, and gray color themes.
Time’s feature article mostly focuses on how the Donald defied the GOP powerbrokers to run his own show. Disintermediation (aka the Netflix effect) comes to politics. (Again? Aren’t we regaled with tales of the brave outsider every election?) Curiously the same magazine that criticizes the “lamestream” media for its failed predictions of Trump’s fall also points out that none of the frontrunners at the start of 2012 won their primary. So, in short, something could happen, and it could be like before or it could be different.
One interesting observation: after the state governors dropped out, most of the senators left in the race brag not about what they’ve done, but what they haven’t done. Vote for me, I accomplished the least! Small surprise that “Make America Great” is more appealing.
An Iowa voter is quoted as saying, “It’s time for us to do a totally insane thing, because we’ve lost it all.” I know the Rose Bowl was rough (even though I loved it), but it’s still only a football game.
Esquire opens with a short essay by Mark Salter that has a few good points. He notes that Trump is the first candidate he actually hates, but one must be careful not to direct this scorn at Trump supporters. True, one can’t reason with an unreasonable person, but insulting them is even less likely to work. Salter notes that he’s from Iowa and can’t imagine the good people of Iowa supporting such mean xenophobia. Imagine his surprise then when he sits down next to a nice lady at a basketball game and discovers she likes Trump. Why do people feel things are so terrible that they’re willing to make a desperate bet bringing in a caudillo?
The subject of this month’s Q&A is Trump. It’s soft, as it always is, but kind of funny actually. Comes across as a complete lunatic, but a curiously affable one. Despite the cover, however, there’s no in depth article devoted to Trump here.
Lots of infographics devoted to divining just what it is that has people so angry all of a sudden. Mostly seems to be about how the economy makes it harder for people to get ahead. Life’s not fair anymore. Also, middle income whites appear the angriest, much angrier than poor blacks. Anger fatigue? It’s not clear what’s changed, but the newest angriest demographic is well aligned with Trump’s target audience and message. (Is the discontent manufactured?)
The outsider political profile of the month is actually Rubio, not Trump. In short, Rubio was once quite real, but has drifted towards calculated plastic. He used to give serious answers to questions; now he gives serious candidate answers.
Funny highlight from the taxonomy of primary candidates is Rand Paul. “Rationale: Would combine real libertarian cred with conservative desire to withdraw to our borders. Path to victory: Run for president in 2012.”
Throughout all this, there’s the occasional mention of Citizens United. The theory was that big money super PACs would keep people in line with the establishment, though this obviously isn’t working with Trump. On the flip side, even without super PACs in the game, would that prevent Trump from being Trump? A suppsoedly critical Supreme Court ruling that would decide the future of elections has not (yet) been much of a factor in the very next election. Apocalypse nigh or no?
In vaguely related news, I’m reading a corporate thriller of sorts, Terms of Service, since it was free from Amazon. It’s far too predictable to really count as a thriller and suffers from beginning novelist syndrome, confusing piles of adjectives with interesting detail. In summary, it’s about a fictional Google/Facebook social network that manipulates people into liking one candidate with a legion of socialbots and careful manipulation of feeds. Plus murder. What (deliberate or inadvertent) effect does social media play in real elections with “low information” voters?