Donald Trump’s victory speech in Nevada following yet another primary triumph was, well, signature Donald Trump.
“We won the evangelicals,” Trump said. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”
I suppose the “poorly educated” who voted for Trump are probably too poorly educated to understand that the Republican front runner was talking about them, so it was hardly a risky statement.
Still, these eye-opening comments — the kind not generally attributed to successful politicians — are standard fare for Trump.
Indeed, at times the 2016 Republican primary feels like a Saturday Night Live skit. Welcome to the age of Poe’s Law, where truth and parody are indistinguishable.
As a teacher of media literacy, I’m astonished by this new political reality. What is it about Trump that allows him to actually benefit from such usually self-destructive statements? Are people less scrupulous nowadays or just supremely fed up with “politics as usual”?
How else to explain a world where Donald Trump makes as much sense — and garners as much popularity — as pop-culture figures like Kanye West?
The self-described musical genius, in fact, has made a number of comments over the years that are remarkably similar to recent Trumpisms. Is the Donald, in fact, using a “Kanye playbook” to pad his lead?
First and foremost is their exorbitant confidence.
“I’m already the number one human being in music,” said West. “That means any person that’s living or breathing is number two.”
In a similar vein, Trump said, “I’m a born leader. I really am. Sorry, losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”
Additionally, both Trump and West are positively self-assured in their ability to learn on the fly.
After initially stumbling over some answers in a September radio interview, mistaking Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Quds Forces for the Kurds, a Middle Eastern ethnic group, Trump promised to become “an authority” on the names of foreign leaders and military operatives.
“I will be so good at the military, your head will spin,” said the Republican front runner.
Kanye, like Trump, appears to rely on his own ability to teach himself. While his late mother, Donda West, was an English professor, West has no need to learn by reading.
“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed,” said West. “I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books. “
Trump and West thumb their noses at old-fashioned diplomacy, as well.
“Look at that face!” said Trump, referring to former GOP opponent Carly Fiorina. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
Referring to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Trump also said, “He said that he’s pathological and he’s got basically pathological disease. I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease.”
West deals with his adversaries in like fashion.
“Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” interjected West during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
West was criticized for the comment, but has since made amends – or at least in his own mind. Notably, he paid homage to Swift in a song on his latest album “The Life of Pablo” by suggesting that he and Swift have sexual relations and explaining how he is singularly responsible for her fame.
Finally, Trump follows Kanye’s lead by playing fast and loose with religion.
“The Bible had 20, 30, 40, 50 characters in it,” said West. “You don’t think that I would be one of the characters of today’s modern Bible?”
As for Trump, despite the lack of any known history as a practicing Christian, he assured evangelicals at Liberty University of his devout beliefs.
“We’re going to protect Christianity,” he said. “Two Corinthians, 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. I can say that. I don’t have to be politically correct.”
No, he doesn’t. In today’s wild and wacky world of politics, the Donald doesn’t even have to be factually correct. His bombast and bluntness have made him a rock star among voters in 2016.
Don’t be surprised if Trump makes Kanye his running mate.
Barth Keck is an English teacher and assistant football coach who also teaches courses in journalism and media literacy at Haddam-Killingworth High School.
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