It appears the Republican candidate for President of the United States will be Donald Trump.
Think about that for a moment. A reality television star, serial bankrupt, serial adulterer, racist, sexist bigot is the consensus candidate of the Republican Party. A candidate with no knowledge of foreign policy, zero experience with elective office and no platform beyond a belligerent attitude may become President. The pundits are having anxiety attacks. The Republican Party is in chaos.
But before we all panic and start mispronouncing our diphthongs,[^1] let’s examine the situation with a little more care.
huckster (noun): someone who sells or advertises something in an aggressive, dishonest, or annoying way.
hucksterism (noun): the condition of being a huckster; hucksterish behavior.
The Donald is a particular flavor of huckster. “Aggressive, dishonest and annoying” is dead-on, but The Donald makes hucksterism even more offensive by his belligerent, arrogant bullying. He doesn’t deal with issues; in fact, he dodges issues. He deals in personalities. And he deals with them by calling them names, by insulting them and by almost invariably indulging in the ad hominem fallacy.
You remember the ad hominem fallacy? It’s when, instead of dealing with the issue raised by your opponent, you attack your opponent. You probably don’t need examples, but here’s a few examples of the garbage flowing out of the Trumpster:
On Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” Trump exclaimed in the magazine. “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
On Rand Paul: “I never attacked him on his looks and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there – that I can tell you,” he said, drawing an audible reaction from the audience.
On Hillary Clinton: “She was an unbelievable nasty, mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful,” referring to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals.
On New York Mayor Bill deBlasio: “Can you believe the worst Mayor in the U.S., & probably the worst Mayor in the history of NYC, Bill deBlasio, just called me a blow hard!”
If you need (or can stand) more, the New York Times has assembled an interactive site with more than 200 examples. Enjoy.[^2]
This new variety of hucksterism clearly needs it own name. WC proposes,
Trumpster (noun): a huckster who is also a bully.
Trumpsterism (noun): the condition of being a Trumpster; Trumpsterish behavior.
All of which is why WC describes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as the triumph of Trumpsterism.
Trumpsterism has managed to fool a narrow majority of registered Republicans. Will a huckstering bully succeed with the majority of American voters?
[^1]: Not that there is anything exactly wrong with a Canadian accent. But ask a Canuck to pronounce “shout out” and you’ll hear what WC means.
[^2]: Or visit Rolling Stone’s extensive assembly of Trumpster tweets.