Elections 2016: We’ve been Trumped

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Vanity Fair published a piece about their newest blonde to grace the cover: Amy Schumer, the bold comedian, whose film Trainwreck just cemented her as the next big name in Hollywood.

“America’s kid sister,” they called her. “Why,” they asked, “is she such a lightning rod?” By this, the writers and editors would have to be referring to her comedic style, which is brass and unapologetic, especially in the age of being either politically correct or spouting off nonsense just for shock value. She does neither. She’s just…honest, and therefore, relatable, despite her talent and rising fame. They contrasted her ability to draw public scorn with her undoubtable ability to relate to the general public. For instance, she pulls in almost an equal percentage of men and women viewers with her show, Inside Amy Schumer, and is used to “fans” treating her as if they’ve known her for years.

She says what she thinks, isn’t shy about her opinion, and has the confidence to demand a laugh from a stoic audience. “That was funny!” She’ll object to a group too dull or offended to respond properly to her punchline.

While it’s no shock, and actually quite a sign of gender equality to see someone like Amy succeed in the world of comedy, it’s a bit more surprising to consider that these qualities might explain the elephant in the political room. Of course, I’m talking about the GOP… and Donald Trump.

Donald Trump told his supporters about his new movement to so they got him a box of Depends. (YouTube)
Donald Trump told his supporters about his new movement to so they got him a box of Depends. (YouTube)

I’m not saying that he and Schumer are similar, but the fearless nature demonstrated by both draws equal parts enthusiasm and hatred from any crowd. They are both the epitome of polarizing. But, for all the genuine warmth and intelligence that Amy can exude, Trump seems to spew either bigotry or arrogance — and he makes Nixon-like candidates look almost honest. Yet here he stands, the winner out of a political party whose potential candidates once looked like Tim Burton was trying to direct The Fellowship of the Ring using your escaped mental patients who had just completed finishing school. Oddly, Trump was the loud Mad Hatter of the bunch (unfortunately, hatless).

How did this happen?

I’ll take a share of the blame. When someone draws attention from all sources for all reasons, the resulting hoopla makes for a tempting target. Broad targets are an excuse for a media feeding frenzy. You like him? Loathe him? Fear him? Envy him? Whatever the emotion, you’ve probably got a way to express it publically these days, and that drew attention away from noteworthy — or at least realistic, politically experienced — candidates. The lightning rod worked like a charm. Maybe that explains the hair.

The problem is not that he’s an option, but that he got this far without credentials when he would probably demand higher qualifications of his private chef than he demands of himself as a potential Commander-in-Chief. And we let it happen.

We let this crude, lying, spoiled manipulator weasel his way from delusional presidential bid to actual candidacy by simply reacting. Much like a heckler gives equal opportunity to showcase the skill of a talented comic, the hecklers of the media have allowed the most arrogant candidate some level of previously unthinkable victory.

That old provincial wisdom that “if you ignore it, it will go away,” may have been our best shot, but we were so taken with the idea of either pointing out lunacy or acting self-righteous in our dissent that we added fuel to the fire — and the smoke rose to the top, just like … something else.

So that’s what we got: a crappy candidate.

The same tendencies that made us take notice of a star like Amy (like her or not) enabled us to either deliberately or unwittingly endorse “a [y]uge loser” like Trump.

*Author’s Note: Yes, I am writing about complaining about people writing and complaining about Trump.

Top photo: Amy Schumer from the YouTube trailer for Trainwreck.