Trump Just Bought the Country Club


Popular culture has a nasty way of insinuating itself throughout every aspect of American life. Life imitating art is what the experts call it. The political sphere is certainly not exempt, and this is where we will marvel many decades from now concerning the brilliance of one Donald J. Trump.

While many are disgusted by his juvenile antics, Trump has managed to cherry pick from the media landscape in an effort to ensure his is the prominent name on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

For nearly ten years, I had the privilege of hosting a popular talk show in both Austin, Texas and Sioux City, Iowa. At the same time, conservative talk radio began to impose its will on those feeling left out and alone. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their ilk began an impressive run as bastions of the American Right. The run continues, but its underpinnings have been co-opted.

The fact is this talk hosts have based their success on a simple formula: White is right, women are a necessary nuisance, minorities are a constant threat, political correctness is the devil’s work, and this country is going to hell in hand basket if you don’t listen to what I’m spewing. Guess what? That conservative talk radio playbook has been stolen and has been in hands of Trump from the first day he began his campaign. First it was illegal immigrants. Then it was women. Then it was Muslims. And the list goes on.

Not only did Trump take over the talk show script, but he also incorporated his valuable knowledge of how television can affect a nation’s consciousness. Keep in mind, Trump spent more than a decade hosting his own program. He knows how effective a single phrase can be. “You’re Fired” has now morphed into “Make America Great Again.”

What’s really funny is how nearly every conservative talk show host has disavowed Trump as has the mainstream television consortium. He has managed to take every bad habit of the broadcast media and return fire with spectacular result. He’s taken the very worst aspects of tabloid print journalism and used them to his advantage. He’s even taken social media, particularly Twitter, to its logical conclusion by becoming the nation’s number one troll.

But let’s not forget Trump’s initial calling as a real estate developer. Whenever the thought crossed his brain, he’d show up with his checkbook and solve the problem by buying it.

So as the Republican establishment was sitting in their country club bar sipping on their Manhattans, the sheriff showed up with an eviction notice with Trump two steps behind wearing his ubiquitous golf hat. The whole scenario is remindful of how Rodney Dangerfield intruded on Ted Knight (Mitt Romney) and his world in the classic comedy, Caddyshack. What’s really exquisite is how Trump and Dangerfield both complain about how they don’t get no respect and then use that complaint to elevate themselves in the eyes of the public. Playing the victim does have its upside.

While America wasn’t paying attention mass media have shaped our everyday thoughts and feelings. What’s so brilliant about Trump is he intimately knows all of our media’s different facets and is using them to not only get votes but also take down the Republican Party. Trump won’t be our next president, but we might owe him a debt of gratitude for putting our intransigent legislators out of business. Really, if Trump gets 40-45% of the vote next November, the Senate will flip and the House may go with it.

Now, that’s what I called an artful deal.

Eric Blumberg is a former radio news reporter and talk show host who now teaches communications and writing at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. See

From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2016

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