Last week Donald Trump, the controversial GOP frontrunner, showcased his latest endorser on the campaign trail, Sarah Palin. Now, I’ve never been a fan of the former Alaska governor. But while watching her rambling and incoherent endorsement of a visibly uncomfortable Trump, I realized the silver lining to this otherwise awkward partnership – Tina Fey returning to Saturday Night Live.
Sure enough, the former cast member reprised her spot-on impersonation of Palin to open Saturday’s show, prompting a roaring ovation from an audience that braved an epic blizzard to be there. More importantly, the segment brilliantly captured the absurdity of Trump’s circus of a campaign.
The fact that this man is leading the polls for a major US political party should be a national concern. He’s gained support by tapping into the darkest components of the human psyche – fear, hatred and paranoia. It would be a tragedy to allow him to win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. And it would sabotage our nation’s credibility worldwide.
So how do we stop him? Humor.
If there’s one thing Trump hates more than Mexican immigrants, it’s being made fun of. A decade ago he entered into a remarkably childish feud with Rosie O’Donnell after she impersonated him on The View. In 2013, Trump unsuccessfully sued Real Time host Bill Maher after the comedian raised speculation that Trump was the child of an orange haired orangutan. For a man who prides himself on toughness, he’s as fickle as they come.
Logical appeals don’t work – his supporters are immune to them. The candidates need to target his ego to knock him off his game; that’s how they’ll chip away at his loyal fan base. They need to fire their DC speechwriters and hire comedy writers.
President Obama successfully employed this strategy against Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011, dismantling the “birther” campaign against him and eventually going on to defeat Mitt Romney and earn a second term as president. During the president’s sharp-tongued monologue, cameras captured a stone-faced Trump in the audience. The following month Trump, who was weighing a presidential bid at the time, announced he would not run.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against an unintelligible proposition.” People, a Donald Trump presidency is an unintelligible proposition.
Trump’s campaign is a joke, but there’s nothing funny about the idea of this man running the country. Humiliate him, laugh at him and he won’t stand a chance.
Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. Learn more at www.flackable.com or www.brianhartpr.com. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianHartPR.