The campaign of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump announced Monday that it’s adopting “keep hope alive” as its new mantra.
The catchphrase previously served as the slogan for one-time Democratic presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson, who also unsuccessfully pursued the nation’s highest office in 1984 and 1988. It will complement the Trump team’s existing “Make America Great Again” catchphrase, rather than replace it, according to Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski.
“We feel like the new saying connects with our core supporters,’” said Lewandowski, who was tagged as Trump’s top political advisor after the departure of Roger Stone – the Reality TV personality’s longtime friend and advisor.
“Our polls indicate we do very well with Americans who think the truth is whatever they can convince others to believe,” Lewandowski said. “This new slogan speaks to their universal desire for a mulligan. Regardless of whether you’re a corporate life form embracing a new business name to escape the past – like say Comcast and Xfinity – or an individual who has made some mistakes like Ron Artest.”
Artest, a former basketball star, adopted the name “Metta World Peace” after his role in a 2004 brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons and their fans.
Trump’s new slogan dovetails with the Republican front-runner’s personal penchant for recasting the past and encouraging those around him to do so. Critics have decried this penchant as a kind of “serial hypocrisy,” but political consultant Steve Ayschue disagrees.
“I think Mr. Trump’s penchant for self-rediscovery serves him and his campaign very well, as well as the larger political profession,” Ayschue said. “They’re all habitual liars, traitors, and detestable human beings – that’s a given. By making accountability irrelevant, Trump is pioneering a new kind of politics that could give hundreds of disgraced candidates a fresh start. Regardless of political affiliation.”
“Amen,” said former U.S. Rep. Ron Weiner (D-New York City), a married man who left office after inadvertently tweeting a picture of his tented briefs to the public instead of a potential mistress (below left).
The highlights of Trump’s rebranding efforts include suing at least one New York Times journalist who reported that he’d filed for bankruptcy three times. Trump’s lawyers pointed out that the bankruptcies were actually filed by companies bearing his family name. Not by the man with $4 billion of estimated net worth.
“These legal distinctions matter,” Trump said of the lawsuit. “I put a lot of time and money into creating those corporate shells. That’s a lot more important than whether or not I paid my past debts and kept my word to my business associates.”
The casino executive and real estate mogul succeeded in casting himself as an expert on financial matters in the world of pop culture, despite the bankruptcies. He gained fame and high ratings on a Reality TV show called “The Apprentice” where he entertained those who enjoy the suffering of others by publicly humiliating and firing his employees.
“The beauty of The Apprentice is that it taps into the primitive pecking order concerns of the pack,” said media expert Robert Thompson of Syracuse University. “In that way, it serves the same audience that was once drawn to public lynchings, pillories, and eviscerations. Which is bigger than you might think.”
Apprentice viewers are now among the Trump campaign’s most loyal supporters, according to Lewandowski. “The Donald,” as he’s called by his friends, also trends well with nursing home patients – especially those in a persistent vegetative state.
“We think they identify with our candidate’s compassion and empathy,” Lewandowski said. “Our polls indicate that 100 percent of nursing home patients in a persistent vegetative state would cast their absentee ballots for our candidate in a general election, and 110 percent would do so in a Republican primary election.”
Trump is riding the front edge of a new era of political empowerment for American elites, according to Montclair State University Political Science Professor Brigid Harrison.
“The rise of social media and evolution of political marketing have inspired many of the people who inhabit the bottom of the intellectual barrel in the country club set to pursue higher office,” she said. “People like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry have come to realize that modern marketing techniques make brainpower, leadership ability and personal character irrelevant. Today’s campaign strategists are like cosmetic surgeons in the sense that they can make those with adequate financial resources appear to be whomever they wish.
“The same goes for their kids,” she said. “Just look at Chelsea Clinton. One day she’s running mommy and daddy’s charitable foundation, the next she’s a national network correspondent blowing the lid off vegetarian culinary trends.”
Like Trump, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is also a Republican presidential hopeful. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently abandoned his bid for the White House after focus groups failed to respond to his efforts to appear intelligent by wearing glasses.
“The sky’s the limit for rich morons right now, some of whom feel as if they have a lot to prove to a political community which once confined their participation to writing checks,” she said. “Can you imagine the power a Kim Kardashian (above left) candidacy would have in today’s political climate? It wouldn’t matter that she’s as dumb as a bag of hammers. Just look at Mr. Trump – he makes Mitch McConnell look like Stephen Hawking.”
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the U.S. Senate majority leader who inspired the the film “Being There.” Kardashian is a former adult film star of sorts and the primary beneficiary of her mother’s publicity machine. Hawking is a theoretical physicist.
Trump has succeeded in casting himself as a kind of native New Yorker, and fake tough guy, even though he never attended the city’s public schools and could not safely walk the streets of its working class communities without an armed escort. He cites his brief tenure at Fordham University (left), a private college in the Bronx, as evidence of that toughness, even though he rarely ventured beyond its gated campus.
Trump portrays himself as some kind of self-made man, too, even though he was an indifferent student who inherited his father’s real estate fortune.
The silver spoon denigrated war hero John McCain’s military service and cast himself as a kind of military man even though he received four draft deferments during the Vietnam War. He received a medical deferment in 1968, at the height of the war, for bone spurs in his feet. The same conditon apparently did not preclude the self-described “star athlete” from playing competitive sports during his school years.
McCain is a former naval aviator who ran for president in 2008. The U.S. Senator was tortured and imprisoned during the Vietnam War.
“I always felt like I was in the military,” Trump said, noting his tenure at the elite New York Military Academy for badly behaved rich boys. “We had a two-way shooting range there and everything, but one that used water balloons instead of bullets. It’s very much the same thing as being on a battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“I was even diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my wartime experiences here at home and the very high draft number assigned to me during the Vietnam War,” he said. “I still have nightmares to this day about being drafted and having to serve my country instead of myself.”
The 69-year-old’s capacity for dissembly was on full display this year when he convinced former wife Ivana to recant allegations that he’d physically assaulted and raped her after undergoing a botched procedure by her cosmetic surgeon.
“He’s very misunderstood,” Ivana Trump told reporters as she left a presser in a new Rolls Royce. “Donald is actually a very sweet man. He also has an amazing head of real hair, which remains a lovely shade of buttercup yellow to this day.”
Trump’s capacity for personal reinvention has played a role in his political fortunes. The candidate has channeled widespread public frustration with poor wages and degrading working conditions toward the defenseless immigrant community. He’s done so despite marrying a Czech immigrant and being the son of an anchor baby whose grandfather was stripped of his German citizenship for avoiding military service.
Trump has scapegoated all Muslims as militant extremists, as well as President Barack Obama – a Christian raised in Hawaii. He continued to imply Obama was born outside of the U.S., even after that far-right slur was completely discounted.
Musician Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., who recently changed his name to “Snoopzilla,” said Trump’s adoption of the “keep hope alive” slogan makes sense to him. The California-based singer, pornography enthusiast, herbal aficionado, amatuer football coach and self-made man said the candidate’s ability to move beyond the traditional limits of both personal accountability and historical accuracy gives hope to this nation’s often-voiceless community of professional grifters.
“This is America, right?” said the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Lion and a White Guy Named Todd (below right). “It’s the land of opportunity. And regardless of whether you’re a pedophile or someone who has been imprisoned for Medicaid fraud, if you’re a hustler you can look to Donald Trump’s example and say to yourself: “hey man, if he can get away with all this shit, who’s to say I can’t too?”
“We’re talking about a silver spoon mofo here who has accomplished amazing things with very little in the way of talent, intelligence or street smarts. Trump’s achievements as a hustler are on the same level as what Michael Jordan has done on the basketball court.”