Let's hit the nail on his head and point out that Trump's shamelessness is his unique strength. When others in public office or on the campaign trail are caught in flagrant deceptive tactics there is usually some accountability if not contrition. Trump has none of these concerns, doubles down on the lie, triples down on the word-weaves he's vomited out that day and then finally counters with 'who cares?'
Trump likes what he says and that's often his final comment. As in the Mussolini quote debacle, when he retweeted a quote from Mussolini on Twitter; "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep," implying the tacit approval of a like-minded dictator, who famously founded the fascist party in the 20th century. His response: "I like interesting quotes, who doesn't?" which was his final statement.
"Only one can be Trump," Jonah Goldberg points out in an excellent article in the National Review. Why? Because few other human beings have that sociopathic blankness that is 100 percent uncaring, in any way, of what others think. Add onto that an additional 100 percent commitment to having full attention at all times, regardless of the fall out, which the pre-mentioned sociopathic blankness will not care about, and you're dealing with a new kind of animal.
No doubt Darwin would have pegged such traits in an animal as dangerous, damaging and counter-intuitive to natural selection. In more primitive times Trump would have been thinned from the herd for hoarding goods or lying about knowing how to make fire or trading garbage as valuable, or stealing resources, because even though he could convince everyone he was the best hunter, he wouldn't be able to get his little hand around his spear and bring home the bacon, therefore leaving him and his supporters to starve or be cast aside. Natural selection wins.
But survivability in the information age is different. You don't have to be truthful, well informed or even skilled, as long as you're perceived as 'valuable.' And value can simply be defined as information that is coveted by others. In the world of social media if you feel important to the person receiving your message, you are as good as gold. Bernie Madoff is a great example of someone who could peddle what felt like value, while hiding the dark deception of his Ponzi scheme. Trump equally parades his brand as legitimate, successful and profitable, even when his evasion and double talk during this campaign shows how untruthful he is.
His lack of integrity is so genuine and pure it's hard to fathom. Watching it on a daily basis even feels other worldly. A physicist might say that unlike a black hole, there is no event horizon with Trump. For, as a black hole has a specific boundary past which there is no return, the Trump Hole is impossible to hit. The closer you feel like you're getting to the truth, there is a sudden side step with such effortless dishonesty, that you vector away on a new path of self aggrandizing discharge destroying your instruments.
By example I mean the parading of his unstellar product lines during a victory speech at his golf course in Jupiter, Florida, the night of his wins in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries. products neither manufactured, nor overseen or approved by him, that merely license his name, which he offers as his own, because it looks good, and that is the entire end game. Keep it looking good and who cares what's in the package? He was merely defending his brand, recently broadsided by Mitt Romney in a speech claiming Trump as a business failure. "I built a great, great company," said Trump. "You've got the meat, you've got the water, you've got the wines and all that." It was the greatest infomercial during a primary victory speech in history. And he mentioned that his supporters could buy the steaks for $50.00. Except none of the products were made by his companies, he just licenses his name.
We can be bewildered by how little he cares at the distinctions between 'earned' vs 'merely claimed' or 'genuine' vs. 'this sounds good so I'll say it'. We can find it equally fascinating at how little traction the gaffs he makes have in shaking any sense of reconsideration into his fan base. They've accepted his empty promises and flatulent bragging as part of who he is. And who he is has obviously gotten him to where he is, the top of some reality tv, name licensing, name branding profit pile that he's sold everyone on being admirable.
Characters with such Teflon souls may feel more familiar in fiction than in real life where a vacuum-hearted dramatis personae, devoid of any realness, seeks his desires at any cost regardless of the fall out. Think the buffoonish suitor "Falstaff" for the literati, or if you're not a reader, think Billy Bob Thorton as "Bad Santa.
There is the old saying in the theater that extraordinary talent can turn 'sh&t into gold," meaning the content of their presentation has little to do with their overwhelming charisma and magnetism. Trump, however, has equally turned 'gold into sh&t' with his multiple opportunities he's turned into bankruptcies; failed hotels, failed university, failed airline, failed lines of meats and other ventures. But he'll counter that he's a success in all those ventures. Can he prove it? No. But he'll double down with platitudes of his own greatness, and triple down on how happy he is with the outcome, which was the 'best outcome'. Is it true? Because he's said it often enough? No. Does it matter? Feel the new vector as you shoot away unable to make contact?
Back in the real world, this kind of character, feeling ever so out of place with humanity, only feels at home with one thing; lying about it all, making excuses, claiming the best sounding result because that's his currency. His value isn't what he has in the bank. Nor is it any service he provides or object he owns. His value is literally what you think of him. And he'll do anything to keep that currency high.
It's not unlike currencies of the world, no longer linked to anything of direct value, valued on their perception, exchange rates and foreign deficits. America went off the gold standard long ago under FDR, no longer is our currency directly linked to anything of value. The same is true of the Donald. And the Donald knows his perception is his livelihood. Without it he'd vanish like Bear Sterns in the 2008 crash. But in our brand-centric consumer culture, the country's mindless consumers just met their biggest shopping channel star, and they are all picking up the phones to buy his line of garbage.
You may be thinking a character like this would be more believable as the android in a sci fi comedy film, the one who sadly just doesn't 'get' what it is to be human. Comic relief would be guaranteed with its endless lying, making excuses and saying the most awful things, while creating the worst plan possible, at the greatest expense, causing the most embarrassment, for the least gain.
Unfortunately for us, he's real. And we can't interrupt the broadcast.