In the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” two con artists convince a vain ruler that the clothes they are spinning for him are the finest in the realm. They are so fine, in fact, that only nobly bred and extremely intelligent people can see them. Not wanting to seem ignorant or low class, all of the royal court as well as the emperor himself claim to see the beautiful garments when there is nothing there. The emperor is finally exposed when he marches through the kingdom in his underwear and the common people laugh and jeer, pointing out his nakedness.
Donald Trump has provided a twist on the proverbial tale with his empty words and facile promises throughout this presidential campaign. The twist is that Trump is the con artist and his supporters are the ones being duped by his parade of nothing.
The other evening I was held hostage in a car by a right wing extremist (my husband) and forced to listen to Sean Hannity’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention. I had thought the Fox News fawning reportage of the Republican Convention was hard to stomach. On the show, Hannity interviewed Trump to get his take on the Democratic convention, and, as in his own acceptance speech at the RNC, he had nothing but bluster to contribute. He basically kept saying that the whole thing was a “disaster,” that Hillary’s choice of a running mate was poor, and that the system was “rigged” against poor Bernie Sanders.
Somehow Donald Trump gets away with uttering platitudes like “We’re gonna make millions of jobs, ” and no one calls him on the lack of substance in his statements. I realize that political candidates don’t necessarily put out hundred-page plans for every promise they make. But Trump’s promises at the RNC were nothing short of childish. Over and over again, he claimed he was going to wipe out ISIS, fix the economy, and eliminate illegal immigration immediately upon taking the oath of office. This isn’t just hyperbole; it’s the mark of a juvenile individual who has no real substantive ideas about how to govern.
Early in the primaries, so many conservative politicians and media personalities were harshly critical of Donald Trump – with good reason. Now that he is the Republican nominee, they seem to have become expert gymnasts bending over backwards to find redeeming qualities in the man.
As Donald Trump parades through the campaign season, when will his supporters stop chanting “Make America Great Again” and notice that he has no clothes?