Trump, Hype Man in Chief
It seems safe to assume that Donald Trump is the single most arrogant and narcissistic person ever to serve as American President. Now, if you were to say, “Hey Nathan, you don’t know that much about William Henry Harrison. What if he was so narcissistic that a more accurate slogan would have been “Tippecanoe, Tyler Too, and holy fuck does this guy have an ego on him?!?” You make a good point, albeit with a weird example, but there’s just something about Trump that inspires superlatives as well as blinding hatred.
That’s no small feat considering that we’re talking about a group of gentleman (who very conspicuously remained a group of exclusively gentlemen recently) who all decided that they should be the most powerful man in the world.
You pretty much have to be an egomaniac to even consider running for President even if you’re as qualified and experienced as Hillary Clinton was. To run for office when you are scandalously, dangerously unprepared calls for something more closely resembling a God complex.
Trump’s shameless, unbearable, overwhelming arrogance and narcissism are relatively rare in elected officials but it’s a lot more common in a field I used to be deeply invested in: Hip Hop. In personality and disposition, I bet Trump is a lot more like Cam’Ron than Tim Kaine. Trump embodies much of the worst of Hip Hop culture: materialism, brazen misogyny, toxic masculinity, bullying, shameless self-promotion unhindered by shame or self-consciousness, out of control narcissism and an insatiable need to start fights, beefs and conflicts solely to feed enormous but incredible brittle, fragile egos.
Trump doesn’t just want to win and for his opponents to lose. No, he wants them to be destroyed. He wants them to be humiliated. He wants history to howl in derision at their name. He’s like 50 Cent in that respect, except that with 50 Cent, it’s at least part a put-on, an extension of his outsized, cartoonish persona as a gleeful villain laughing derisively at the failure of others.
Trump doesn’t save his vitriol for the opposing party or his endless Enemies list: his own party is attacked constantly as well, although not with the fury and unhinged aggression he displayed during the primaries, when it seemed like he’d be equally satisfied/dissatisfied with either getting the party nomination or burning the party down in vengeance.
Even if you’re down with Trump and his crew, he’ll diss you too. Also like 50 Cent, Trump has a way of turning on proteges and allies the moment they displease him. He’s so rapacious in his need to make fresh enemies that he has no problem making them out of former friends.
Trump is his own hype man, forever recycling the same stock catchphrases about being smart and strong and not giving in to political correctness and MAGA. Like Kriss Kross and Another Bad Creation, Trump’s fashion choices—tacky red Make America Great Again hat, comically long red tie, beige golf pants seemingly designed to lovingly call attention to every fold in the President’s cottage-cheese ass—are bizarre and regrettable yet inexplicably successful in establishing a brand.
There are a couple of big differences between Trump and 50 Cent. One is of artistry. Arrogance is hard-wired into the DNA of Hip Hop. It’s as much a base, elemental component as pain is for blues and improvisation for jazz. In his prime, 50 Cent transformed that struggle into his art. It was essential both to his story and the story of Hip Hop that he came from nothing, that he had to overcome incredible odds and literally the kinds of obstacles (and bullets) that would kill most people. That arrogance is the hard-won product of having been born towards the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder and through hard work, talent, hustling and some big breaks, made it to the top of the food chain.
With Trump, the opposite is true. Though he angrily denies it with the ferocity and misplaced anger with which he rages against anything that doesn’t cater to his preposterously inflated self-image, Donald Trump was a silver spoon child of privilege who became a racist millionaire real estate mogul largely by virtue of being the son of a racist millionaire real estate mogul.
Trump didn’t overcome anything. He came into this world with pretty much everything, and has lost it all over and over again only to be given chance after chance by the cosmic do-over that is Bankruptcy and a world that will bend over backwards to accommodate the endless needs of a wealthy white heterosexual man with a genius for generating publicity. A guy like that could probably be caught on tape saying things that would disgust 2 Live Crew and probably still walk way with a majority of white female voters. As the brief popularity of Ja Rule proved, ladies love bad boys.
Without the struggle and the artistry, all that’s left of Trump is hot air and the empty over-compensating of someone rightfully insecure about how very little they did to earn such preposterously outsized rewards.
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