I have been back from my vacation in Maine for four days. I am missing the beach and the sound of the ocean waves. I am missing the fresh seafood and the lazy days with nothing more important to do than read. But more than anything else, I am missing Donald Trump.
It is not the same in Canada. We are having a federal election, but broadcasters are careful to give balanced coverage to the parties and candidates. It doesn’t seem to be that way in the US.
Whenever I would come back to our cottage from the beach I would turn on CNN for the latest on Trump. There was his status as leader in the polls, or an outrageous statement supposedly insulting some group or individual, followed by dozens of commentators to explain what all of that meant. Followed it seems by commentators to explain what the previous commentators meant.
If my memory is correct, it was four days after the first Republican Party presidential debate that I heard a news story on CNN that wasn’t about Trump. That was impressive, especially for a network that doesn’t particularly like the man’s politics (though apparently they do love his notoriety). And that is with the election 15 months away.
In Canada, with the federal election two months away, political news hasn’t dominated the newscasts I have heard. The CCC seemed more concerned with out-of-control wildfires in British Columbia that have forced hundreds of people to evacuate and burned a number of homes. People care about that sort of thing more than politics. There was no mention of Trump.
I must confess I have never seen any of the television shows with which Donald trump is associated. I have read enough about them to know I have no interest in them. And despite all the recent publicity (to which I suppose I am contributing in a small way), I have no idea what he stands for, what his policies would be if elected.
I know the sound bytes (and yes I chose to spell it that way); I know he gets news coverage from being outspoken and not pandering to political correctness. Speaking your mind in politics is rare and refreshing, even if what you say isn’t correct (politically or factually). Other than the fact Trump identifies as a Republican, I have no idea what his political philosophy is, if indeed he has one. It probably doesn’t matter – I don’t have a vote so I haven’t looked closely at what he stands for, I’m just along for the ride.
The media may portray Donald Trump as a buffoon who has no chance of winning the nomination, one who would be embarrassed by the Democrats if indeed he somehow managed to become the Republican presidential candidate, but I wonder if that is accurate.
The man is after all a successful businessman. That would indicate a certain amount of intelligence and a skill set that sets him apart from career politicians. What appears to be spontaneous outbursts, what in Canada we refer to as “bozo eruptions” may be part of a carefully crafted campaign plan that he and his advisors expect will propel him to the White House. He can’t be that smart, can he?
(By the way, if I was asked for a prediction this far away from the US election I would say the names on the ballot in November 2016 would be Jeb Bush (Republican) and Joe Biden (Democrat). Both are polling in single digits right now and Biden isn’t even a candidate. Call it a gut feeling – we’ll see if I am right.)