As Vox's Todd VanDerWerff noted over the weekend, one of the things that entertainer Donald Trump is using to sustain his ersatz political campaign is his reality-television acumen. "Compared with many of his competitors," VanDerWerff wrote, "Trump seems to be playing at a whole other level when it comes to live television."
And Trump demonstrated his mastery of these skills over the weekend in Iowa, when he brought a helicopter along, in order to give young Iowa State Fair participants a ride above the fairgrounds. Two of the tykes that went along for the ride were ABC News' Martha Raddatz and Bloomberg Politics' Mark Halperin, who took selfies while enthusing, "WOW, HELICOPTER."
To be honest, this was a genius move by Trump, because while he is loathsome, his helicopter is neato-keen-bean. I mean, who could hate a helicopter, right? Wheeeee! But this just scratches the surface of how smart a move this was.
See, any presidential candidate can go to Iowa, eat some stick food, pose next to a cow made of butter, and give some talking point-laden speeches. Trump knows that what matters at this stage of his campaign isn't to come out in public and properly deal with what's at stake politically -- it's to create moments for the media that both exceed their wildest expectations and are easy to disseminate. The helicopter does the trick: even though Raddatz has ridden on helicopters before, in circumstances that come with higher stakes, a helicopter ride at the Iowa State Fair from Trump is so unexpected that she pops out her camera and starts taking selfies...
... which Halperin records on video ....
... and which I'll use to create a series of meta-critical memes about meme creation!
All of the above quotes were taken from the first chapter of The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America by Daniel J. Boorstin -- a book I highly recommend you read (or re-read) if you want to understand and/or survive the 2016 presidential election.
Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?