Get out the big black Sharpie and pull down the official Presidential Campaign Manual because its time to redact the rules. Reality television star Donald Trump has altered the way politics is played to an extent that is game-changing. Judged on a scale of one to ten, think somewhere in the mid five figures.
First off, candidates no longer have to worry about looking ridiculous. Actual clowns are now allowed to emerge from the clown car. Opportunism is in, while rationality has been swept off the table, along with class, integrity, decorum, common human decency and hygiene.
Secondly, shooting from the hip requires way too much preparation. Today’s impromptu candidate says whatever pops into his or her little brain. With the emphasis on the adjective.
Lastly the truth is moot. Veracity is for dummies. The creepily-coiffed developer hasn’t just lowered the credibility bar, he’s buried it with a front loader so deep you couldn’t find it with a diesel powered metal detector.
Since time immemorial, politicians have stretched the truth, but credit Trump for finally snapping every scintilla of elastic connection to reality. Bellowing and gesticulating across the country under a canopy of cluelessness, he’s single-handedly wrecked rectitude. The carnival-barking jester who would be king, the undisputed master of the cheap shot.
Got a point you want to make but lack the facts to support your position? Don’t worry, just make stuff up. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, as long as it fits your narrative. Tell supporters what they want to hear. Even if what they want to hear is mean-spirited nonsense. Especially if what they want to hear is mean-spirited nonsense.
Invoke bogeymen. The swarthier, the better. Don’t bother answering questions, or responding to issues or events, just keep repeating dubious claims citing improbable sources: “I was told this by people who know. Smart people. Very successful important people. People who farm frogs.”
Mock disabilities. Insult prisoners of war. Disrespect women, Muslims, Mexicans, homosexuals, African- Americans, other Republicans and everyone who eats vinegar based coleslaw. And when folks take offence: laugh. Why did The Donald cross the road? To insult a minority on the other side.
It doesn’t matter how many times PolitiFact labels one of his statements “Pants on Fire.” They’re part and parcel of the mainstream media, buddies of Dan Rather, Brian Williams and Lucifer, right?
Suck up to low information voters so accustomed to being lied to by Congressmen who sell themselves to the highest bidder and religious zealots who cheat on the wives and presidents who argue over the definition of the word “is,” that it feels almost refreshing when a candidate doesn’t care if you know he’s lying up front. Hell, even his hair is phony.
“81 percent of white people are murdered by blacks.” No they aren’t. “I saw thousands of Muslims celebrate 9/11 in New Jersey.” Then you were the only one. “Mexico is sending their undesirables across the border.” Statements not burdened with the weight of evidence. Who cares? What difference does it make? Birds do it. Bees do it. They all do it. Lie.
So, as the GOP gears up to head down the final lap of their nomination, bid a fond farewell to the party’s legendary figurehead, the Great Communicator, and make room for the Fabulous Fabricator.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and margarine smuggler