You should read all of Mark Steyn’s theatrical review of a night out at a Donald Trump rally, but this particular point caught my attention:
Traditionally in American politics the way you connect with voters is to pretend you’re just as big a broken-down loser as they are. One recalls Lamar Alexander and his team flying in to Manchester, New Hampshire and just before touchdown changing out of their Brooks Brothers suits and button-down shirts into suspiciously pressed and unstained plaid. In this cycle, it’s been John Kasich doing his slickly produced, soft-focus “son of a mailman” ads. So much presidential politicking is now complete bollocks, as rote and meaningless as English panto or Chinese opera conventions. Trump doesn’t bother with any of that. Halfway through, he detoured into an aside about how he was now having to go around in an armored car, and how many rounds it could take before the window disintegrated, and how the security guys shove you in and let the reinforced door slam you in the ass. And the thing’s ugly as hell. “If I win,” sighed Trump, “I’ll never ride in a Rolls-Royce ever again.” And all around me guys who drive Chevy Silverados and women who drive Honda Civics roared with laughter. Usually, a candidate claims, like Clinton, to feel our pain, but, just for a moment there, we felt Trump’s.
When people say they want authenticity in public figures, they don’t mean they want somebody who’s pretty good at pretending to be just like them. They mean they want somebody who seems to behave genuinely as him or her self, and then when it comes to the decision of electing him or her, they’ll decide if, like them or not, he or she is the right person for a job.
Trump comes out and speaks off the cuff. He’s clearly a showman and is entertaining, and that helps, but I wonder how much of his appeal has simply to do with the fact that you know what you’re getting. When President Obama goes off script, he more often than not says something that does (or should) undermine all of his slick performances.