Tuesday 24 January 2017

Donald Trump is a superhero - but not in a good way

Neal Gabler

Published 29/07/2015 | 16:38

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters as he arrives in Laredo, Texas July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters as he arrives in Laredo, Texas July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump poses with policemen, as he departs Laredo, Texas July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Hovering above all the brouhaha about Donald Trump's bizarre presidential candidacy floats one critical question: Are we an electorate or are we an audience.

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Trump has bet on the latter, while his competitors, even one like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has positions close to Trump on many issues, bet on the former. Trump has received a lot of opprobrium for his antics, but it isn't clear that he is wrong. Even if much of the establishment and leading political analysts have already rendered their verdicts.

Trump certainly isn't the first candidate to conflate entertainment and politics. When Ronald Reagan was asked if it was hard adjusting to being president after being an actor, he replied that he couldn't imagine anyone being president without being an actor. Reagan was right. Performance skills, including the skill of drawing attention to oneself, are now intrinsic to political skills if one hopes to become president.

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