Sunday, November 22, 2015

Donald Trump's Presidential "Heel Turn"

Ladies and gentlemen, the 45th President of the United States.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign makes perfect sense once it is understood to be the political equivalent of what is called a “heel turn” in professional wrestling. 

In 2007, before becoming a “reality TV” star in his own right, Trump was cast by World Wrestling Entertainment for a major role in an extended storyline that culminated in Wrestlemania 23. The climax of that pay-per-view event was a proxy battle between wrestlers representing Trump and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. The victor would shave the loser’s head in the center ring. 

A standard-issue bout of scripted, artfully choreographed mayhem ensued, during which Trump executed a cheap-shot, blind-side tackle of McMahon. After Trump’s surrogate emerged victorious, he gleefully inflicted a humiliating tonsure on his rival – the only authentic injury inflicted during the entire affair. 

Every pro wrestling persona embodies a marketable “angle.” The WWE character called Donald Trump © was a narcissistic billionaire blowhard who was supposedly tough enough to do what was necessary to bring down the “establishment.” Although he was clearly the fan favorite, Trump didn’t choose to be a “face” – that is, a good guy –because “heels” are always more popular.
Eight years later, Trump has resurrected his WWE character for use in the Republican presidential primaries, which are every bit as farcical as– albeit immeasurably more harmful than -- the steroid-saturated soap opera called pro “wrestling.”

The most coveted quality in a pro wrestling performer is “heat” – the ability to attract attention, whether in the form of adulation or vilification. In wrestling, polarization is the easiest way to generate heat. The same is true in politics, which generally is an exercise in mobilizing hatreds. 

Wrestling arenas are regularly filled with thousands of people who have paid substantial amounts to join in the collective execration of the designated “heel.” Similar dynamics exist in political rallies, but there is one important difference: The target of focused hostility will be somebody other than the figure on stage. Occasionally a heckler in the crowd will emerge and provide the audience with a more immediate hate target. This appears to be what happened at Trump’s rally in Birmingham on November 21.

Local agitator Mercutio Southall, Jr., began chanting “Black lives matter!” during Trump’s speech, inciting a scuffle and disrupting the event. According to the account of a Washington Post reporter on the scene, one of the Trump supporters in attendance “punched and attempted to choke” Southall, while a female supporter – to her credit – pleaded: “Don’t choke him!”

After he became aware of the disruption, Trump exclaimed, “Get him the hell out of here, will you please?” He then launched into a soliloquy – at once self-pitying and self-aggrandizing – complaining about how the media would depict the event, and inviting applause for handling a heckler more assertively than Bernie Sanders did when Black Lives Matter protesters simply commandeered the microphone during a campaign event in Seattle

The punches reported by the Washington Post correspondent weren’t visible in the available video of the incident, and if any blows landed they probably had as much impact as the typical “stage punch” one sees at a professional “wrestling” event. Like a “jobber” hired to perform alongside a “pushed” or featured wrestling star, Southall did his best to “sell” the fight. Trump’s reaction to the news that Southall had been “roughed up” was not to point out that the evidence supporting that claim was ambiguous, but to suggest that a beating would have been warranted. 

“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump told Fox News, reveling in his role as a “heel.” His next words underscore the fact that he is engaged in a performance, rather than a conventional political campaign: “I have a lot of fans, and they were not happy about it [Southall’s interruption]. And this was a very obnoxious guy who was a trouble-maker who was looking to make trouble.” (Emphasis added.)

Trump has “fans,” not “constituents” or “supporters.” Conflict being the key to building a fan base, I found myself entertaining the cynical thought that Trump might have hired Southall to stage the disruption as a way to build “heat.” This wouldn’t be necessary, given Trump’s natural gift for polarization – and the growing ease he displays in his chosen role as an American avatar of Benito Mussolini.

Donald Trump’s official campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again.” His unofficial motto should be: “We have no choice” – a claim he uses to punctuate calls for various abridgments of liberty, such as the creation of a military “deportation force”; expanded surveillance of mosques, and –where he deems necessary – the forcible closure of those deemed to be objectionablewatchlists, databases, and special identification protocols targeting Muslims; and the restoration of torture as an interrogation method

“We have to be strong,” Trump grunted during a November 22 interview when asked about waterboarding by the precious little fellow named George Stephanopolous. “You know, they don’t use waterboarding over there, they use chopping off people’s heads, they use drowning people. I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do.”

In theory, a U.S. president is restrained by the limits on power supposedly contained within the U.S. Constitution. Trump has never provided any evidence that he has read the document, let alone that he understands its provisions and takes them seriously. In fact, the only element of the Constitution for which he has expressed unqualified approval is the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment, which authorizes the government to seize property through “eminent domain” – a process through which Trump, the crony capitalist par excellence, has enriched himself considerably. 

On the available evidence, Trump’s view of presidential powers doesn’t differ in substance from that of Barack Obama, whom he has consistently criticized for being “weak” and timid in the exercise of those powers. 

Trump’s Republican “fans” consist, for the most part, of people who see Obama as a dictator – but who devoutly wish for Trump to inherit the distended powers of the office Obama now occupies, and exercise them more assertively. They aren’t interested in a leader who would apply sound principles in defense of individual liberty and private property; they lust and ache to be ruled by someone they consider a suitable symbol of American “greatness.”

In his relentlessly self-preoccupied and borderline-aphasic speeches and media appearances, Trump displays a rhetorical style not terribly different from that of a skilled professional wrestler “working the mic.” He dilates upon his accomplishments, most of which are dubious at best, boasts of his standing in the polls, commends his “fans” for the wisdom they display in supporting him, and spends a great deal of time discussing obscure and petty personal affronts. He will engage in pure, malicious invention, as in his bizarre and completely dishonest claim to have witnessed “thousands and thousands of people cheering” – Muslims, to be sure – on 9/11 as the World Trade Center collapsed.

One thing Trump has never done, and most likely will never do, is describe how he would reduce the power, size, cost, and invasiveness of government. Rather than curtailing the ever-metastasizing police state, he would appoint "the best people" to supervise it. His self-described mission, we must never forget, is to restore the government’s “greatness,” not to bring about individual liberty. He seems to believe that this would apparently be done through the simple act of electing him president – and a remarkable number of Republicans agree. Trump offers them nothing but an opportunity for the vicarious exercise of power -- and for such people this is enough.

In “The Revolt of the Masses,” which was published in 1930 – a  time when Mussolini was still in favor with the bien-pensants -- Jose Ortega y Gassett observed that through Fascism “there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions.” That human "type" isn't limited to one end of the statist political spectrum: It is plentifully represented among supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as well as Donald Trump.

Mass movements of that kind aren’t organized around principles or ideals, but rather propelled by what Ortega y Gassett called “appetites in words,” particularly the basest appetite, which is a desire for power over others. As a professional wrestling performer, Donald Trump offered his “fans” a relatively harmless way to indulge that appetite vicariously. The same cannot be said of his cynical heel turn as a presidential candidate.

This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines Trump's "We Have No Choice" agenda, and some possible approaches to dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis:

Dum spiro, pugno!


Anonymous said...

Great article Will. Everything you say rings true. The $64,000 question is whether the public support Trump because they actually want more of a dictator than is available from the establishment roster of political actors or whether their support for Trump reflects their revulsion to it.

BuelahMan said...

This piece is excellent.

I didn't know you had a podcast (so a bonus).

I appreciate the comparison to WWII historical narratives regarding immigrants, etc. But have you ever really examined the Jewish driven propaganda of the day towards the NSDAP and Hitler, all-the-while most of the world celebrated what they were able to do economically during the Great Depression.

Except the international bankers (mostly Jews). They didn't like it at all. They don't like having their power stripped away.

Since they had so much influence on the Roosevelt administration (Morgenthal as a prime example), how much of the rhetoric do you actually believe about the NSDAP and Hitler, understanding that Zionist Jews were already controlling a great deal of the media at the time?

And once you see the giant lies propped up by them, when does one open their minds to further truths about that time?

I am 54 years old and up until I was 51 I believed it all.

Now, not so much.

Rick Fitz said...

WNG, once again you prove to be one of the most insightful proponents of liberty in the USA. This is the best analysis of Trump's popularity I've read since he started his campaign.

K. Chris said...

Sorry, but Trump is a false-candidate, a ruse, not a "heel." He is being utilized to introduce the neocons', the real runners of things (Yes, Obama is one of them.) agenda. He will ultimately be seen to "stumble," and then leave the World Wrestling Election show, and make way for tyranny's, and Zion's, real selection as the visible puppet of the DC US empire.

An American citizen, not US subject.

Genevieve Hawkins said...

Great article I never knew about the WWE experience but I did wonder about Trump's reality TV shows and how scripted this all seems. Is support for Trump a dying gasp for empire or another sad example of the human tendency to allow fascists to rise to power in politically troubled times?

Steveo Van Damm said...

Thanks for being a light of truth as this once great republic sinks into the abyss of darkness... The "dumbing down" of America has progressed much faster than expected... It seems that the "bread and circuses" scheme continues to prevail after thousands of years, and the information flooded masses cannot see beyond their iphones...

I bid you peace, Will...

Anonymous said...

Who said the magnificent immaculate Kenyan messiah was going anywhere in 2017?
BTW-Does the tenth amendment still exist in this fading banana republic?

Anonymous said...

Was Southall a plant like the "heckler" who asked if Kenyan queer Barry Soetoro was a muslim? (Rhetorical questions are so fun!)
So if black lives matter does that mean the 440 black people killed by other blacks in Chicago so far this year matter as well?
Since Jesse and Al don't want the system that has been so good to them to be taken down will they be jettisoned from the movement for not being "true" enough?
Are all the college protests by precious little snowflakes who have it so rough in their safe spaces the birth pangs of a new Maoist red guards? (rhetorical)

Anonymous said...

Comrades of the BLM will clutch their dog eared copies of Das Kapital and stomp their feet over this:

William N. Grigg said...

Are all the college protests by precious little snowflakes who have it so rough in their safe spaces the birth pangs of a new Maoist red guards?

I've started to refer to the SJW movement as the "Campus Rouge" --

Incidentally, Trump's petulance in the face of criticism and his inability to admit error remind me a lot of the attitude of "safe space"-seeking SJWs.

Anonymous said...

The list of BLM demands:

William N. Grigg said...

While I'm not a fan of the BLM movement, the "Black Youth Project 100" doesn't speak for it.
Neither BLM nor BYP is relevant to the discussion of Donald Trump's presidential reality show, of course.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Grigg, I'm posting here because my email bounced. I noticed an article of yours about Mark Fuhrmann on Freethought Project. It surprised me that you called him a felon, and I wondered when he was convicted - 1994 or recently. Also I'd like to let you know that the n-word is an almost-but-not-quite acceptable term. That is, it's a socially acceptable word to use if you are black and use it against other blacks. Fuhrmann might not be so much a racist as a person trying to speak black language.


William N. Grigg said...

LAVA, Mark Fuhrman accepted a plea bargain agreement in 1996 on a charge of perjury. Whether one sees the "n-word" as a terrible pejorative or as merely part of urban patois, Fuhrman lied, under oath, in denying that he used it.

My chief objection to Fuhrman is not his language or apparent bigotry (I can co-exist with profane bigots), but his admitted dishonesty and abuse of power as an officer, and his habitual defense of police abuse as a Fox News "expert" commentator.

BuelahMan said...

I can co-exist with profane bigots

Are blacks "profane bigots" when they use the word or is there the obvious double standard that appears to be?

Why are black people so bothered by this magic word which turns some into raving maniacs if a white person says it, but wants to embrace a black person that does it as their friend?

William N. Grigg said...

There certainly are black people who qualify for the description of "profane bigots," although they would resort to a slightly different vocabulary in giving voice to their bigotry.

I'm not concerned at all about the etiquette of racial epithets. People can address me using whichever they consider suitable and it won't trouble me one bit. Fuhrman's bigotry as a patrol officer was a matter of legitimate concern, given the admitted abuses to innocent people it produced.

Anonymous said...

Comrades the fundamental transformation utopia is in sight! The hybrid Venezuela/Zimbabwe paradise will be glorious. Everyone will be poverty and misery except for the annointed ones at the top who are better than us and deserve the high life.
I can't wait to sport around in a puke green Trabant and barter toilet paper on the black market. Forward! To each according to his need, workers of the world unite!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of relevant did you see where the 100 black pastors backed off their backing off Trump? I'm sure the BLM Red Guards had nothing to with it:

William N. Grigg said...

#BLM is in some ways a nasty movement, but a likelier explanation is that Trump planned to sandbag the pastors -- most of whom hadn't planned to endorse him -- and they rebelled against the prospect of being used as political props.

Anonymous said...

Trump is not James Madison, but unfortunately there is no alternative anywhere in sight. Not even from Rand Paul when he began his run (he should have waited until 2020). We must defend ourselves through our state capitals with nullification. And we have to stop focusing so much on our presidents. We must pray.

Do you want jobs?
Do you want the immigration invasion stopped?
Who else will accomplish it since the GOP sends jobs overseas with bad trade deals and only Trump would stop that (along with the Democrats who do care about jobs). And who will stop the immigration invasion but Trump? He can use his lawful executive powers to stop the invasion that is defacto ethnic cleansing and genocide.

There is NO one to do these two critical jobs that will, if left unaddressed, undo us to a point of no return. Everything else goes on the back burner unless the feds do a spectacular false flag event to terrorize us into marshal law or what have you.

William N. Grigg said...

James Madison was a very accomplished political theorist and a pretty lousy president. He was never more admirable than in 1798, when he and Jefferson articulated the principle of nullification and interposition as a way of protecting immigrants and unpopular religious minorities from police state legislation that distilled from precisely the same kind of toxic pseudo-populism that Donald Trump has been brewing.

One thing Madison would point out is that the president has no constitutional authority to regulate immigration. Furthermore, immigration has been tapering off since the last FED-engineered bubble burst nearly a decade ago.

When we're told that "everything" -- including, apparently, the Bill of Rights -- "goes on the back burner" while extraordinary powers are used to deal with a "crisis," we're being lured into a false-flag -- and the idea of the immigration "invasion" certainly meets that description. And when a political demagogue is depicted as the last hope to save the "republic," we're witnessing idolatry of the deadliest variety.

Anonymous said...

Forty years of ethnic cleansing and genocide through imbalanced immigration and invasion is not a false flag. It is a crime against humanity. It violates the treaty on the right of self determination to which the USA is a signatory. White Americans never asked to ethnically or racially exterminate themselves. It simply never happened. Furthermore, they have politely asked for this invasion and imbalance to stop. They were ignored. And that is the evidence needed to prove genocide is occuring. There is a reason whites have gone from nearly 90 percent of the population to soon to be a minority. And that reason is not because they desired it. Americans were promised, in 1965, that our immigration laws would NOT change our ethnic mix. Who even recognizes Americans anymore?

The presidential race is not the place to address "rights" because it is the feds who are corrupt top to bottom including the entire executive branch. They are wholly the domestic enemy. That is why I brought up nullification. Our rights are already on the back burner in presidential races and not because of me, but because Americans are ignorant.

William N. Grigg said...

Forty years of ethnic cleansing and genocide through imbalanced immigration and invasion is not a false flag.

When did this "genocide" occur? Euro-Americans haven't been subjected to mass slaughter and dispossession.

White Americans never asked to ethnically or racially exterminate themselves. It simply never happened.

If the "it" to which you refer is the ethnic extermination of white people, you're entirely correct; that "simply never happened."

There is a reason whites have gone from nearly 90 percent of the population to soon to be a minority. And that reason is not because they desired it. Americans were promised, in 1965, that our immigration laws would NOT change our ethnic mix.

I'm not aware of a constitutional provision that empowers the federal government to regulate the "ethnic mix" of the American population.

America could have remained an ethno-state, or it could absorb the most of the North American landmass through conquest and dispossession of non-European peoples. It couldn't do both. If you are genuinely interested in examining a case study of "ethnic cleansing," you should take an honest look at Manifest Destiny.

The presidential race is not the place to address "rights" because it is the feds who are corrupt top to bottom including the entire executive branch.

I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment -- which is one of many reasons why it is futile to invest one's hopes in Trump or any other would-be elected figurehead, unless the idea is that he would become an actual dictator, ruling by decree and wielding unaccountable power in the interest of an aggrieved ethnic cohort. We've already seen that movie, and I'm not interested in seeing a contemporary adaptation of it.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is old. I need to respond to this comment: "There is a reason whites have gone from nearly 90 percent of the population to soon to be a minority". I would counter that we have genocided ourselves between contraception and abortion".

I appreciate WNG's insights on Trump. There is an interview by him regarding the Middle East. where he said that destabilized countries gravitate toward the strongman. He is certainly playing on those sentiments with this country. Unfortunately this presidential race.

I feel like I am being asked what flavor sociopath do I want for the next four years. What is the saying - democracies only last 200 years. Americans are discovering we are merely human like everyone else.


Sibkiss said...

Who will be a Trump V.P.? Ex pro wrestler/actor Jesse Ventura? ;-)

E-Man said...

You're certainly correct about Trump appealing to fans rather than constituents etc. The sad thing I see is that (this isn't new of course) people aren't deciding who they want to be president based on skills, ethics, policy solutions or anything I would expect intelligent people to base such a decision on. Rather, it seems the vast majority is treating it as though they're voting for Prom King; as if they've forgotten that he's going to be able and required to do and not do, things that affect all our lives.

The last thing I want for president is a guy spouting how he's going to "make America great" when all he's done most of his life is exploit it. Here's a guy that ostensibly has (through exploitation and inheritance) all the wealth and success a man should want or need, and it's not enough.

He wants to shut down the border and spy on the public and torture false confessions out of people. That will certainly make America great- just like Hitler made Germany great when they started doing that very same stuff.

But for me the worst part is that misdirection away from actual solutions. I mean, if you're okay with seizing property like eminent domain or civil asset forfeiture, but want to stop illegal immigration and/or secure the border you wouldn't propose building a wall. You'd propose prison time for employers caught repeatedly employing illegals, and auction off their businesses if they're repeat offenders. Problem solved. That would end a major incentive, keeping many from crossing illegally and make it easier for border patrol to prevent terrorists coming in. You could even compromise and say that you can still employ illegal immigrants, so long as you pay them the same as a native US worker. You could even go so far as to say that the immigrant employees could be offered a fast track to citizenship with the proceeds of selling off that business, or they can take their share back to where they came from with the stipulation they'll be imprisoned if they come back. Or maybe you could just apply it as a grant to small businesses or something.

But Trump as you noted, is simply trying to polarize and take one of two very wrong positions. This is likely to re-enforce the idea that we only have two "solutions" to a given issue, both of which will not solve the problem or change the status quo.