What is up with Donald Trump?
Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 1, 2015 | 6:00 am
Donald Trump has sucked the oxygen out of political news but, frankly, he has taken over virtually all news. We are all searching for answers on how the real estate and reality show “mogul” has jumped the turnstile and is now on board the most important process in a democracy.
We are required to call him a “mogul” according to some assistant minion of Trump’s so I’m obeying because, God forbid, I do not want my cellphone number made public. The term Mogul refers to a member of the Muslim dynasty of Indian emperors established by Baber in 1526. The Mughal emperors “ … were Central Asian Turko-Mongols, who claimed direct descent from … Genghis Khan … ” Enough to say no one messed with them. The term came to be used for business “magnates” with huge wealth and power.
The term “magnates” originates … but enough of that, let’s get back to Trump.
I think I have a clue.
Today I was driving on an interstate from New Hampshire to Rhode Island. The traffic was moderately heavy but flowing.
Then suddenly it slowed down. Finally coming to a complete stop. All three lanes. Then crawling slowly forward.
“Must be more road construction.”
“Yeah or another bad accident. Lanes closed.”
After an eternity I saw flashing lights. Orange; Red; And the classic blue highway patrol “bubble” lights.
When we finally came to the scene of the disaster it turned out to be a commercial truck that had broken down. It was being hoisted by a giant tow truck to be towed away for repairs. Everything was on the side of the road in the breakdown lane.
There was no reason for congestion and slowdown except that everyone became “looky-loos” “rubbernecking” the scene. As soon as we passed, people focused on their destination and sped up again and, as usual, started exceeding the Massachusetts speed limit.
Then it hit me — “Bingo!”
Donald Trump is a flashing, attention-gripping event like that breakdown that has everyone slowing to a crawl to see what it is.
Thus, the question I was asked by a major Canadian newspaper yesterday was, in essence: Is Donald Trump nothing more than a breakdown by the side of the political road?
Or, is he a major accident that deserves all the attention he’s getting?
Or perhaps, is he for real and we will not just slow down to look but he will dominate our attention all the way to the destination which is the Iowa presidential caucuses, the New Hampshire primary and beyond?”
If I new the answer I’d be writing this from my private island in the Caribbean. However, I do believe that at this moment Trump is the shiniest flashing light in politics. He’s demanding our attention and, in doing so, is slowing everything else down.
Have YOU signed up for my free Iowa Caucuses class yet. Online. First session Sept 1
• Steffen Schmidt is a Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University. Comments: Steffenschmidt2005@gmail.com