A war has been raging among political wonks ever since Donald Trump took the oath of office last January … is he a demagogue or a douchebag?
Demagoguery is defined as an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than their rational side. It is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people. Demagoguery isn’t based on reason, issues, and doing the right thing; it’s based on stirring up fear and hatred to control people.
Douchebaggery is described as obnoxious or contemptible behavior. In many cases, it is blatant stupidity and arrogance all rolled into one. In other words, it is the classic definition of a putz.
Demagoguery calls for some level of intelligence to pull off… douchebaggery not so much.
Manipulating people through fear and prejudice requires planning and skill. To piss people off just requires you being an a-hole.
After the release of Michael Wolff’s tell-all book, Fire and Fury, which chronicles the dysfunction within the Trump White House, critics are leaning more towards the view that the man sitting in the Oval Office is just your basic moron. A man-child in control of nuclear weapons.
But why does it have to be a choice between demagoguery and douchebaggery? Are they necessarily mutually exclusive? Can’t both nouns be used for Trump?
This entire controversy is reminiscent of the long-running, and successful, Lite beer TV commercials of the 1970’s. You had a group of guys insisting that the beer’s best quality was that it “tastes great” while an equal group of beer drinkers thought it’s best feature was that it was “less filling.”
Of course, both camps were right.
So Donald Trump can be a demagogue and a douchebag at the same time.
Unfortunately for us, and the world, this is probably the worst combination for a leader. Manipulative and ruthless, as in Machiavellian … and “dumb as a brick”, as in how Michael Wolff describes Ivanka Trump in his controversial book.
Photo | vanityfare.com