Donald Trump’s descent from the heavens into the Iowa State Fair on Saturday via his TRUMP-emblazoned helicopter was derided as an attention-grabbing stunt. And of course, that’s exactly what it was.
But it also showcased exactly what is right about the Trump campaign and what is wrong about others, particularly that of Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s splashy entrance was vintage Trump. He is indeed a showman, an attention-grabber, and a braggart. The fact that he doesn’t attempt to be anything else is exactly what has put him atop the polls.
American voters like the common touch. But what they crave even more is authenticity, a sense that a candidate means what he says and will do what he intends to do when he gets into office. This is what Trump is really selling.
At exactly the moment multimillionairess Hillary Clinton was milling about the fair pretending to be one with the proletariat, Trump was hovering overhead pretending to be nothing but a rich man in his own personal aircraft.
Trump soon emerged from his magnificent flying machine looking like a Palm Beach pasha. Unlike Jeb Bush, who wore trying-hard-to-fit-in khakis under a red apron as he flipped pork chops on a grill, Trump waded into the fair sporting a navy blazer, cream-colored slacks, a starched french-cuff shirt, and tidy white dress shoes.
He also wore his red hat, of course, the one that says “Make America Great Again.”
He refused to pretend that he was a New York real estate developer who actually would rather be milking goats and wrestling pigs. He didn’t fake savoring a fried Snicker’s Bar like Bush.
“When Trump got to the pork chop stand, where Clinton had been only an hour earlier, an aide handed him a box of chops on sticks,” the Washington Post reported. “He picked up one, took a big bite out of it and held it up for the cameras. ‘This is the real deal, right?’ Trump said. After one bite, however, he put the chop back in the box. He didn’t eat anything else.”
Perhaps Hillary was somewhere else in the crowd, affecting one of her many local accents as she tried to connect with Iowans.
“I want to salute Donald Trump,” grumbled Mike Huckabee in what no doubt was a backhanded salute. “I mean, he is a master at branding. There’s no one like him. He’s alone in his class at being able to get attention. The latest survey shows he’s getting 10 times the press coverage than any other candidate. I’m just going to be real clear with you. You give me 10 times the coverage that any other candidate gets, I’ll be leading in the polls.”
Well, last time we checked, getting attention was part of the political process. Huckabee should be devising ways of getting his own instead of whining to the press that the other team has too many home run hitters.
Elections prove time and again that you don’t have to be born in a log cabin, or even pretend to be, to become president of the United States.
Franklin Roosevelt had his cigarettes firmly ensconced in a holder, thank you very much. John F. Kennedy never appeared in overhauls either on the campaign trail or once in office, as far as we’re aware. Ronald Reagan did come from humble roots, but he looked like a million dollars every day of his presidency and rarely removed his suit jacket when he was in the Oval Office.
Trump vows to fight against Washington, to change the immigration system, to put an end to business-as-usual that has put the nation $18 trillion in debt and further on the road to socialism.
And by he fearlessly brandishing his authenticity, he is convincing voters he might actually do it.
This piece first appeared in LifeZette.