The joke that is Don­ald Trump.

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE - Char­lie Pick­er­ing

Since Don­ald J Trump an­nounced last May that he was run­ning for Pres­i­dent of the USA, there has barely been a news bulletin, news­pa­per, so­cial me­dia feed or late-night show that hasn’t men­tioned, quoted or played footage of him blow­ing his own Trum­pet. The me­dia ini­tially saw him as a bless­ing – a quotable car­ni­val sideshow that al­lowed US cam­paign cov­er­age to kick into top gear 18 months out with­out any­thing hav­ing to be taken too se­ri­ously. His ini­tial state­ments were met with laugh­ter. Ac­cord­ing to Trump, Mex­i­can im­mi­grants to the US were largely made up of rapists and drug deal­ers and he would pre­vent them en­ter­ing the US by build­ing a lu­di­crously “yuge” wall. How would he fund it? He would make Mex­ico pay for it. How? Sim­ply by be­ing Don­ald J Trump, the world’s great­est deal­maker. Hi­lar­i­ous. Tweet-wor­thy. The rav­ings of a vil­lage id­iot with a mega­phone. Just the thing to feed the global elec­tronic news beast. His name started to reg­is­ter in polls of Repub­li­can vot­ers and pun­dits fi­nally had some­thing to talk about. Con­ver­sa­tions about him usu­ally ended with the phrase ‘there’s NO WAY he’ll win, but it’s go­ing to be fun’. At the time of writ­ing, Trump is still the fron­trun­ner to be­come the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee. The na­ture of pres­i­den­tial pri­maries means by the time this ink is dry he may have crashed and burned. But as Trump has gone from clown to con­tender, peo­ple have been forced to lis­ten to what he has to say and con­sider what the world would be like with him as PO­TUS. Re­gard­less of what fate the pri­maries bring, af­ter a year when Trump be­came a politi­cian, Amer­ica and its democ­racy will never be the same again. Let’s be clear, he is an in­ap­pro­pri­ate choice for Pres­i­dent and would be ut­terly dis­as­trous as Com­man­der in Chief of the world’s largest army and nu­clear arse­nal. That’s not just my opin­ion. I spoke to a Repub­li­can cam­paign man­ager who said that his great­est fear was Trump would be their nom­i­nee and a scan­dal would force Hil­lary Clin­ton out of the race. That’s a hard­ened political hack ter­ri­fied his side might win an elec­tion. Still laugh­ing? God­win’s Law – a rhetor­i­cal prin­ci­ple made trendy thanks to the in­ter­net’s unique abil­ity to cul­ti­vate point­less ar­gu­ment – ba­si­cally states that once you men­tion Hitler in an ar­gu­ment, you’ve lost. It has made peo­ple ret­i­cent to com­pare any­thing to the rise of fas­cist Ger­many. It’s also made it hard for peo­ple to say what they re­ally think about what hap­pens at Trump gath­er­ings. When two Mus­lim Amer­i­cans at­tended a Trump town hall rally wear­ing yel­low stars and tried to par­tic­i­pate in the dis­cus­sion about his plan to ban all Mus­lims en­ter­ing the US, he turned the crowd against them and had them forcibly re­moved. And he’s done the same for African-amer­i­can pro­test­ers and any­one who speaks up against him. What does this say about those who sup­port him? What does it say of mod­ern Amer­ica it­self? Bound by God­win’s Law, the com­men­tariat must trudge on, find­ing yet more ba­nal ways of say­ing Trump is a rude bozo who wouldn’t be good at the job. They do so with di­min­ish­ing re­turns and any­thing they say is far less in­ter­est­ing than the ver­bal di­ar­rhoea with which Trump ex­presses Amer­ica’s political id. The only peo­ple who are cut­ting through are co­me­di­ans. Stephen Col­bert and oth­ers have never had more to work with. Good co­me­di­ans have never been too con­cerned with political cor­rect­ness, they’re only wor­ried about mak­ing the au­di­ence laugh and the best way to get a laugh is by speak­ing the truth. They may not be po­lit­i­cally cor­rect, but they suc­ceed most when they are cor­rect po­lit­i­cally. Next to com­par­ing peo­ple to Hitler, quot­ing Mark Twain can be one of writ­ing’s most fraught ex­er­cises. Inevitably, when­ever I’m within the vague post­code of hav­ing an as­tute thought on mat­ters political, I can be sure Mark Twain has had it be­fore me, more suc­cinctly and with a bet­ter punch­line. Any­way, ’ole Mr Twain once wrote, ‘Against the as­sault of laugh­ter noth­ing can stand’. The mo­ment the pow­er­ful be­come a punch­line, their po­tency dis­si­pates. And as much as we should, and must, rail against Trump’s ideas, we must never stop laugh­ing at his id­io­cies – what­ever his legacy, whether he has blown it or still holds his chance. In the end, the laugh­ter will drown out the cheers. n

“THE MO­MENT THE POW­ER­FUL BE­COME A PUNCH­LINE, THEIR PO­TENCY DIS­SI­PATES.”

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