Noted Maverick Mark Cuban is a fan of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. And, writing on something called Cyber Dust, Cuban succinctly and effectively explained the Trumpian appeal. Here it is:
I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.
That’s a remarkable admission. “I don’t care what his actual positions are,” Cuban said. “I don’t care if he says the wrong thing.” And, it affirms my working theory that lots and lots of people who say they are for Trump don’t know the first thing about where he stands on any issue this side of immigration. His is not a policy appeal or even really a political one. It’s pure personality.
In a world in which lots of people — Cuban included — believe that political correctedness has run wild and the outrage police are everywhere, someone who is willing to just say stuff and not back down has real appeal. “This guy isn’t afraid of anyone!,” you can imagine a Trump supporter saying. “He says whatever he damn well pleases!”
That attraction would explain why Trump has survived (and thrived) in the aftermath of comments about Mexicans and POWs that would have ended or, at least, badly damaged, a more traditional candidate. People, at least if Cuban is to be believed (and I think he is), aren’t really listening to the specifics of what Trump is saying. They don’t care. All they know is that he is freaking out the squares — and they L-O-V-E that.
Where I part company with Cuban is in his insistence that Trump’s candor is “more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”
I am all for politicians showing more of who they are; we’ve lost that side of politics over the past few decades. Politicians seem to think being candid is some impolitic; Trump, to a certain extent, is showing that being impolitic can, sometimes, be good politics. My issue with Trump — and Cuban’s analysis of how important Trump is — is that The Donald’s honesty is almost entirely substance-less and pointless.
The Iran deal is evidence Obama is a bad negotiatior. Trump would do better. His opponents are dumb and ugly. Trump isn’t. We need a huge wall across the Mexican border. He knows how to build the best walls. Ok….but where is the policy — like, any policy — in all of that? Yes, Trump’s unscriptedness is a trait more politicians can and should adopt. But, he’s using it to lash out his opponents, the media, the next person who accidentally makes eye contact with him — not to drive home any broader vision of what America is or could be.
Trump has quite clearly stumbled on to something that appeals to a not-insignificant portion of the electorate. But, does he have a second act that goes beyond just, well, saying stuff?