Troll: One who sows discord (on the Internet, but for our purposes: anywhere) by starting arguments or upsetting people… (making) inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in… (a) community, with the deliberate intent of provoking… an emotional response.
I’ve been watching the news lately, and wondering about a topic I just saw on this website rather intently. Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks that Donald Trump may be the biggest troll of all time. As any good Internetian knows, one should not engage with trolls… It’s much like wrestling a pig in mud – you get dirty and the pig likes it. In short, I think it is at least possible that Donald Trump is trolling the GOP on behalf of either the Democratic Party or Hilary Clinton. (Before anyone gets upset, I do not mean to suggest that either has asked Mr. Trump to do so…)
No, look, I’m serious – I think the other people watching this phenomenon might be on to something!
To start, one needs to look at Trump’s background. For instance, the Donald was, until relatively recently, a Democratic supporter. Second, Trump is actually a close friend of the Clinton family… In fact, he has admitted to speaking to former President Bill Clinton very shortly before he announced his campaign. Finally, look at the style of his rhetoric… As it draws closer to the primary cycle, it seems that he becomes more and more unhinged with this comments – exactly what we would expect a monstrous troll to do!
Unfortunately for the Grand Old Party, it seems the the Epic Trolling (capitals necessary) may prove to be a disaster for it in, well, grand fashion. You see, the problem with trolling is that the joke gets lost if enough people believe the Troll is serious. This is the problem here…
Because Republicans have courted the same style of voter for so long, the base actually likes what Donald Trump has to say! Many are people who do not, for example, read books regularly or, God forbid, the Constitution… these are people who feel their way through issues; and what the Donald has to say sounds pretty darn good for many of them.
You see, what they hear, when they hear anything at all, is:
- American exceptionalism is not dead, it’s been restricted by an overreaching government.
- Lack of education, restrictive beliefs, and self-interested decisions made by those eligible for entitlements are not the cause of “America’s decline”.
- To the extent that Americans are involved with this decline, it’s because the previously mentioned individuals and groups are stupid.
- The way to fix all of these “tougher” while restricting the rights of those “others”.
All of this, of course, is absolutely ridiculous… However, if one wishes to troll the base of the new and improved Republican party, one could hardly do better.
From Trump’s perspective, the only problem with this strategy is that it is working too well. Even serious political pundits are starting to think that there is a very real chance that he might even win the Republican nomination! For Trump, I think that this is only a problem would be that a national election would cost more than he anticipated in spending on the Trolling of America. The time and expense involved, however, would likely be assuaged by the endless opportunity to stoke his own ego… so, is that a wash?
The Trump as Troll theory, meanwhile, gave me a new word to toss around “False Flag”. I’d honestly never heard it before, but I like it!!!
From America’s perspective, I think that the real danger is that we might actually see the unraveling of one of the two political parties… Whether that is a good idea, in the whole scheme of things, is less able to quantify.