Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0154, January 13, 2018


  It's True: Donald Trump Is a Genius

     The Lomographic Project, Item No. 006:
    "Toys: Lo Tech & Hi Tech"

Copyright 2018 by S.W. Paul Wyszkowski

     [EDITOR'S NOTE: It's impossible to keep up with Trump. This edition of M&R was composed and ready to publish just as Trump let loose with his "shithole" remarks. Perhaps this marks the beginning of the end. Or it may turn out to be just one more example of his genius should he get away with this one as well.]

     OK, granted, he was elected under questionable circumstances. But he was elected and not by accident. Despite all appearances of being grossly unqualified to deal with the world-shaking challenges and demands facing the occupant of the Oval Office, he did not merely come alarmingly close to being elected but actually was elected, a tribute to his genius and his skill in playing his audiences for votes and applause. Of course, we cannot completely disregard the evidence that many people disliked Hillary even more than they did Donald, or hated the idea of a woman president even more than the idea of a loose cannon but white male president, or just wanted to deliberately upset the apple-cart because they were sick and tired of the status quo. Whatever the case, Trump pulled it off against (by rational and historical standards) daunting odds. This remarkable feat deserves recognition.

     Trump's genius seems to lie in his instinctive understanding of his audience, in this case the American people. He knows their discontents and how to exploit them. He knows that critical thinkers who might be immune to his populist appeal are a minority. He knows that, however they may be outraged by his principle-free pandering to people's insecurities or by his lurid, bullying insults of any one daring to criticize his person, the so called "liberal/progressive elites" are, in fact, toothless and impotent to act, lacking consensus and political credibility. And he does his best to keep it that way by sowing discord, distraction and confusion among his enemies. He is an acknowledged master of the news cycle, a genius at claiming all credit for what seems to go well, refusing any blame for what goes wrong and generally getting away with murder (metaphorically speaking).

     However, Trump's genius for self-preservation and self-glorification does have its limits, internal and external. He understands what people want to hear, how to manipulate their prejudices, but apparently does not recognize the real problems Americans (and the world) are facing or what the long term sustainable solutions there may be. He appears to think only in terms of immediate profits and of winners and losers in a zero sum game. He may (or may not) understand the art of the deal but appears to have little appreciation for how a constitutional democracy works. His lack of political experience, his warped views of history and the Constitution and his now evident racism are bound, unless he is incredibly lucky as well as a genius, to get him into serious trouble sooner or later. But the wheels of the political process tend to turn excruciatingly slowly while Trump has shown us already he can turn nimbly whichever way the wind is blowing to keep his sails filled.

     "So I am guessing you don't think this will end well?" asks Prickles, our resident political pundit and a professional hedgehog. I think it will be well when it ends. "Cute," she says.