Donald Trump recently made a comment about Megyn Kelly. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,” Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday night. “Blood coming out of her wherever.” I think that was a vulgar attempt at humor. And a stupid thing to say for someone who’s trying to run for president.
The Washington Post reported that weeks before Trump announced his candidacy he had a phone conversation with Bill Clinton. No one on the Left seems to mind that Bill Clinton has a friendly relationship with “the bigot” Trump, which I guess shouldn’t surprise anyone considering all the other indiscretions he’s gotten away with. Some have speculated that Clinton encouraged Trump to run in order to sabotage the Republican primaries and make Republicans look bad.
Leftist ideologues certainly wouldn’t like it. Any attention to immigration or the concept of political correctness is bad in their eyes. But Bill Clinton is not necessarily a leftist ideologue. For his wife’s political interests the strategy makes sense. I think Donald Trump is unlikely to win the nomination. But he will bring attention to the gap in views between the base and whoever the nominee turns out to be. Even more conservative Republicans will stay home, helping Clinton to win the election. It will be even better, for Clinton, if Trump runs as a third party candidate.
What about Donald Trump? What are his motivations? The man is obviously smart, he went to Wharton. I think the man is simply a troll, with all that entails. Trolls can be smart, plenty of them are. If he really cared about stopping immigration he would be talking about that instead of this nonsense with Megyn Kelly.
Which brings me to the example of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Zhirinovksy is a Russian politician known for making inflammatory and trollish statements. From Wikipedia:
Zhirinovsky is well known for his boasts pertaining to other countries, having expressed a desire to reunite countries of the ex-Soviet “near abroad” with Russia to within the Russia’s borders of 1900 (including Finland and Poland). He has advocated forcibly retaking Alaska from the United States (which would then become “a great place to put theUkrainians“), turning Kazakhstan into “Russia’s back yard”, and provoking wars between the clans and the nations of the former Soviet Union and occupying what will remain of it when the wars are over. Zhirinovsky, who encourages separatism within the Russian minority in the Baltic countries, endorsed the forcible re-occupation of these countries and said nuclear waste should be dumped there.
In 1999, at the start of the Second Chechen War, Zhirinovsky, an ardent supporter of the first war in Chechnya in the mid-1990s, advocated hitting some Chechen villages withtactical nuclear weapons. He has also advocated using nuclear weapons and naval blockade-imposed starvation in the event of a Russian war against Japan. In 2008, during the resulting political row between the United Kingdom and Russia, he suggested dropping nuclear bombs over the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to flood Britain.
Zhirinovsky hailed what he described as “the democratic process” in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, whom he supported strongly. The friendship dated from at least the Persian Gulf War in 1991, during which time Zhirinovsky sent several armed volunteers from the “Falcons of Zhirinovsky” group to support the Iraqi president. Allegations have dogged Zhirinovsky closely since the fall of Baghdad that he personally profited from illicit oil sales as part of the Oil-for Food scandal, a charge investigated in 2005 by the Independent Inquiry Committee into the Oil-for-Food Programme (Volcker Commission) and the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). He is also close to theSerbian nationalist leader and war crimes suspect Vojislav Šešelj.
Zhirinovksy is no enemy of Putin, he is widely considered to be Putin’s stooge and part of a “controlled opposition.” Zhirinovsky distracts from serious right wing opposition and his rhetoric and behavior repels those of intelligence, tarring the Russian far right with anti-intellectualism and extremism.
Might Trump be filling a similar role in the United States? His candidacy distracts from serious anti-immigration parties like the Constitution Party and the American Freedom Party.* And his comments, while entertaining to people like me, are going to repel intelligent but not politically ideological people who understandably don’t want their country’s Presidential election to descend to the level of a giant joke.
*I’m not endorsing either party!