Tuesday, September 26, 2017

President Trump - Modern Day PT Barnum 

Donald Trump has been in the White House less than a year and his repeated tweets, rallies and quotes have become a malignant cancer to a news cycle that feeds off the Presidents need for self-promotion. Many reporters, bloggers, analysts, and activists have weighed in on whether the President is mentally ill, egomaniac or a self-absorbed dotard. While some, if not all may be true, it is by no coincidence the president has modeled himself after a gifted self-promoter named PT Barnum.
The similarities are astonishing in the methodology used by both men.  P.T Barnum made many famous quotes over his life, however, “there is a sucker born every minute” is not one of them and we will come back to that a bit further in the article. However, this one, is probably one Donald Trump has written down and reads daily - Without promotion, something terrible happens... nothing! The quote does not indicate good or bad promotion, just promotion itself. Another quote that seems relevant today is this quote often associated with P.T Barnum – “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.
Now keeping in mind the events of today and those of yesteryear are different, the strategy remains the same. In essence, Donald Trump made P.T Barnum’s biography into his own “Art of the deal” Let’s look back and compare the two.  
P.T. Barnum became a successful promoter after moving to New York City. Barnum opened Barnum American Museum and displayed the "Feejee Mermaid" and introduced audiences to "General Tom Thumb". Both exhibits garnered the attention of both the media and citizens around the county, however dubious they were people couldn’t help but to look. “Feejee Mermaid” was a supposed half mammal and half fish creature, however, it was really a torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish. “Tom Thumb” another attraction Barnum promoted was a supposed eleven year old boy who only stood only twenty-five  inches tall and weighed a mere sixteen pounds. The hoax was the boy was only two years old and failed to grow an inch over the next year.
“There’s a sucker born every minute”  was said by a man named David Hannum , but P.T Barnum was the catalyst. A man named Hull created a plan in which he would have a giant statue carved and then buried, then subsequently, had it dug up and claimed it was some sort of ancient relic.  A group of investors, including Hannum, bought the statue for approximately $37,500 and put it on display for people to pay to come see it. Barnum could smell a hoax a mile away so he in turn had a bigger statue made and then trumpeted his as the original and Hannum’s was a fake
Incidentally, Barnum was also a politician, Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield. Now putting this into today’s context with Donald Trump and his ascension to becoming the President of the United States, it would be safe to say he promoted himself successfully too many Americans (Not the majority) as well as Vladimir Putin in order to be the ultimate showman.
Trump learned early on that one way to win a deal is to promote himself as a business genius, someone investors would be willing to take a chance on in hopes of being like him (supposedly rich). He learned how to tap into divisive areas that would stoke fear into competitors either through hoaxes or legal annihilation. Trump built a brand and reputation around this, however, it didn’t always work out. (Trump University, as well as many bankruptcies) Donald Trump expanded his audience when he began appearing on National Television via his show “The apprentice”. The notoriety of the persona of the man saying “Your fired” to another celebrity, titillated audiences as there always seemed to be a villain within the context of each episode.  It also solidified his brand among viewers of the show and investors on Wall Street.  Let’s also not forget the “Birther” movement Trump inspired across American Politics. By all appearances, Donald Trump was a student of PT Barnum as he knows all too well that without promotion nothing happens, so when he wants something to happen, all he needs to do is hit upon a divisive topic such as Racism, Healthcare, NFL, wiretapping, fake missile launches, North Korea and Puerto Rico etc.
He will deliver hoaxes to the American people, Congress and anyone else willing to give him a platform to do so, without regard for the justice system or respect of the highest office in the land so long as the “Showman” is on the front page – good or bad. One last similarity between the two is Barnum also wrote a book “The art of money-getting” (Sound Familiar?) and his biography in which he allowed people to tweak/change so long as he accrued royalties. For Donald Trump, he wrote the book “the art of the deal” and allows his name to be rented on a spectrum of products, so long as he accrues royalties. The reality is that America and the world has witnessed a con-man elected to the highest office in the land – aided by Russia and the only one benefiting is the Trump family, while the fate of others are marginalized or left to fend for themselves. (America isn’t the only country with egg on is face). Let’s all say it together “there is a voter suckered every minute.”

1 comment:

  1. Barnum knew he was a huckster as evidenced by his statement, "There's a sucker born every minute!"
    This guy really thinks he is smart. I he is anything like Barnum it is by channeling in a trans and not by intelligent design.
    Will someone please show him the egress?