Let’s get out of the way: here’s The Daily Show’s amazing video for “They Love Me.” Watch out, Lemonade, you might have some actual competition this week.
Good. Not that you’re all mentally listing all of the people that love you too, let’s get into the real meat of this. First there’s the annotated lyrics over on Genius, and then there’s the actual segment itself before the video.
And I mean it when I say that Black Trump, being a character created on a comedy show, is more presidential than actual Trump. In that I believe Black Trump appeals to more people than actual Trump. It’s been a super weird election already, and I wouldn’t put it past the people of this great country to surprise me again by picking one joke candidate over the other.
But the segment before the “They Love Me” video does force the question: Does Trump know what “presidential” means? Do his supporters? Do any of us?
As Vivian said last night, there’s been a huge importance placed on a candidate’s likability. How much we want to have a beer with a candidate has somehow overcome the candidate’s actual, real-life policies as a lot of people’s first priority. It’s why Trump supporters say they like when he “tells it like it is,” but also like it when he mocks the presidency by “showing” how presidential he’ll become. At this point, do they actually know what they want from him? Or have they become so enamored with the idea of their candidate that they can excuse any behavior? And when I say “they,” I clearly mean us.
I understand why it happens, and I know I’ve done it myself, but conflating a candidate’s platform and record with their persona has screwed us good. The Trump campaign is a direct result of the way we decided that the president should be cool and fun and likable. We’ve argued about whether Hillary is likable enough to win over the general population and if Bernie’s curmudgeonly charm is enough to trick middle America into buying his socialist policies. We’ve allowed candidates on both sides to gloss over how they’ll get Mexico to build that wall, how they’ll break up the banks, and why they weren’t fighting income equality for the past 20 years. We’ve invested so heavily into the persona that we forgot that personas aren’t going to help create any actual policy. We can laugh at Republicans for nominating a joke like Trump, but we all had a hand in this.
Let’s all pray Black Trump can save us from ourselves.