As Lonesome Rhodes in “A Face in the Crowd”, Andy Griffith was a scary kind of folksy anti-establishment populist turned megalomaniac demagogue media star. This clip is meant to show how Trump is saying a lot of the same things as that character, and how his political and media trajectory is similar.
The people around Lonesome Rhodes see him for the cynical faker that he really is, and ultimately take him down by leaving a microphone open so that his followers can finally understand how they’ve been fooled.
But the analogy is not perfect.
Trump’s microphone is always open to begin with. Everyone already knows every nasty little thing he thinks. There is no filter between his brain and his mouth or his Twitter. No thought goes unsaid. No tweet is edited or refined or even delayed while he counts to ten. The NYT did a nice little list of 282 people he has insulted on Twitter. It includes presidential candidates of all parties, their spouses, other politicians, columnists, celebrities, and on and on and on.
Whole countries are insulted, too. Britain, China, Mexico, Iran, Germany, Saudi Arabia each get the treatment. Add it all up and you’ve got literally billions of people Trump has gone after in terms ranging from dismissive to vulgar and beyond.
Even the middle aged, white, male, blue collar workers that love him so much and eagerly await the return of their factory jobs only have to look at the way he’s treated their counterparts who have come into his orbit to understand what Trump really thinks about them. He’s stiffed them all.
The veterans, who have been given a “hot line” to Trump so that “If he is elected President he will take care of these and all Veterans complaints very quickly and efficiently like a world-class business man can do, but a politician has no clue”, have also been stiffed. They get a recording. They’re told to email him. The emails are not answered.
There is almost no one left to insult.
The bottom line is that unlike the Lonesome Rhodes example, there is apparently nothing that Trump, or anyone else, can say or do that will make his followers finally understand how they’ve been fooled.