By August 7, 2015 Read More →

American Bloviators: Is Donald Trump a joke or a new type of Presidential candidate?

Hislop says Trump is the first “celebrity presidential campaign” and is rewriting the political playbook…Smith’s head explodes.

American Bloviators is a couple of Canadians blathering mindlessly about American politics. Most of what Markham Hislop (publisher of American Energy News) and Kathleen Smith (Alberta-based social media queen) say is meant to be funny, but every once in awhile they slip in a smartypants insight. Look sharp, America!


Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate.

Markham Hislop: So, how ’bout dat Donald Trump? A new poll has him at 24% among Republican supporters. And that Trump’s vintage performance at the GOP debate Thursday! Scrapping with the Fox News moderators, taking some shots at his fellow candidates, blowing up the Twittersphere with comments about Megyn Kelly. That’s what I’m talking about, Smith…a record 24 million viewers and Trump made damn sure he ran away with the show.

Because his campaign’s all about the show, right?!?

Kathleen Smith: What we witnessed last night was the serious conservatives attempting to make a fool of Trump so the GOP can get on with the business of choosing a viable candidate. FNC’s Megyn Kelly was forceful and asked solid questions about Trump’s rabid misogyny, and for that Trump reacted like a nasty teen boy and now has engaged in an all out war with Fox News.

A GOP candidate warring with Fox News. FOX FREAKIN’ NEWS! If people don’t see the insanity of that move on the part of Trump, the USA is in big trouble.

Donald Trump

Kathleen Smith, a social media celebrity in her own right…and mind.

MH: Well, I must be completely bloody bonkers because I think it was brilliant campaign strategy. Conflict is what he wants! He never shirks a fight, never backs down, never gives an inch. And his fans – let’s not call them political supporters, ok? – love it. Here’s a headline from, a website favored by his peeps: Trump Wins Post-Debate Spin. Trump for the win!

KS: Last night Trump gave a masterclass in how to be a sexist douchebag. Can you imagine him referring to a female head of state as a “bimbo, trash, fat slob, pig” while a sitting POTUS? To top it all off, he has said that if he doesn’t approve of the GOP nominee, he’ll run as an independent.

Trump doesn’t care about principles. He doesn’t have any. He cares about power and spectacle and being the centre of attention.

Not fit for the Oval Office. Not fit to be the janitor who picks lint off the carpet in the Oval Office.

MH: I disagree. I think Trump is introducing a whole new model of political campaigning to the American system. All that “conventional wisdom” nonsense is out the window. Trump is going to shake up American politics like no one since JFK or FDR. Whaddya think about that?!?

KS: I think you’re mistaking political spectacle and performance art for a campaign. JFK and FDR didn’t hire extras from an episode of Duck Dynasty for their campaign announcement. Trump isn’t shaking up anything but the media, who are giving him an inordinate amount of column space based solely on his antics. He is getting five times the exposure Jeb Bush is getting. That exposure translates into people joining in on the Trump for POTUS joke. At this point we are witnessing the first “campaign trolling” in political history.

Donald Trump

Markham Hislop, the serious Bloviator. Seriously.

MH: Ah, that’s where you are sooooo wrong. The Donald has been perfecting his Celebrity persona for three decades. Everything we’ve seen – the outlandish comments, the cheap insults, picking fights with other “celebrities,” all of it – is designed to play to a segment of the American public that for a long time was not engaged in politics, but thanks to social media and the Tea Party is now the most active part of the GOP’s base. And they’re eating it up!

President Apprentice, anyone?

KS: Of course he is playing to an audience. But the real question is why? Let’s be realistic; Trump can’t sit across a table from Putin and yell “you’re fired” as a solution to foreign policy problems. And he can’t win the GOP nomination because he can’t beat Clinton. So what is his true purpose?

Trump is there just to appeal to the hardline so-cons. He gets ’em riled up, then when the fine is right he throws his support behind Bush, who is the only chance the GOP have of taking the White House. And I already know you’re coming back with “but what if he runs as an independent?!” So say it.

MH: Not gonna say it! You can’t make me say it!


You not seriously suggesting The Donald is running as a stalking horse for Hillary? That the Clinton campaign set him up to siphon votes from the “serious” GOP candidates?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump responds to one of Kathleen’s many inane comments about his election campaign.

KS: HA! Let me grab my tinfoil bonnet before I answer that question.

I don’t think that’s an entirely unreasonable suggestion, my hatred of conspiracy theory notwithstanding. I would never go so far as to say Hillary set this up, but it’s not implausible that Trump – a longtime Clinton friend and Democratic Party donor, who raised millions for the Clintons, invited them to his wedding, and has been in board with universal healthcare since Hillary first started to talk about it – would not only do this of his own accord, but would do it thinking it would only serve to up his profile.

What he didn’t expect was the backlash and business loss resulting from his comments on immigration. I think at that point he decided if this stunt was going to destroy him, he was going to make it worth every second in pure entertainment value.

KS: The fact remains that Trump has never held a political office in his life. He has no understanding of government outside of donating to his friends and allies.

Trump as Commander in Chief? Hold on to your bums. Because there is no way that could end well.

MH: You’re completely underestimating Trump. The man has built his own mini pop culture empire – Celebrity Apprentice, Miss Universe, etc. To really know Donald Trump, you need to hear on him on the Howard Stern Show. The frat boy demographic loves him! The Tea Party types love him! And a lot of my Texas Energy News Twitter followers love him!

KS: Yes well we all have a special soft spot for the village idiot. Some nations are just smart enough to not make the village idiot the supreme leader. I trust the USA is at least that enlightened.

MH: Spoken like a true Canadian! One of the things I’ve learned while working in Texas and reporting on energy news down there, is that there is a very well developed conservative culture – politics, economics, culture, religion, etc. Trump’s message plays really well in Texas. Across the South, from what I can see. That’s a lot of the GOP base. And that’s a lot of votes.

What do you think of the response to Trump from the other GOP primary candidates?

KS: The candidates with the least chance of winning are the candidates doing the most mouthing off. Because all they need to do is say “Trump blah blah blah” to get column space. It’s all part of the game.

The structure in a two party system is damn simple during the nomination process; run a candidate for each sub-faction within the party, with each candidate keeping their little sub-faction riled up and engaged. That is the job of each candidate at this point in the game. Trump is doing a fine job of it, but when the delegates vote, it won’t be for Trump. Because – again – he can’t win. He can’t get the Latino vote. He won’t get the black vote. He won’t get the female vote. The delegates know that.

As for Texas, as backwoods conservative as they may seem, Jeb Bush is their man. Trump is just the piece of something something on the side until it’s time to get serious. Then they’ll run back home to Jebby’s loving arms.

MH: Here’s a tweet from Michael to Rick Perry: Michael Wille @mwille1 9m9 minutes ago @TeamRickPerry @realDonaldTrump @GovernorPerry Realize there are many people like me that will vote for Trump over ANY POLITICIAN.

I think you’re misunderestimating The Donald.

What do you think about Trump’s decision to go after John McCain?

He took a hit in the polls, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt him long-term at all. His spat with McCain is just his spat with, say, Rosie O’Donnell. All designed to feed the American media and social media machine. Trump has been doing this kind of thing since at least 1985.

KS: Despicable. And foolish. Military men and their families tend to vote Republican en masse. And John McCain is a war hero, regardless of how one feels about his politics. 6 years in a POW camp? Has Trump even done 6 years in a marriage? Trump thinks McCain being shot down and captured disqualifies him as a hero, yet Trump did nothing but evade capture of his own military.


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