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Donald Trump, Flag,
Former president Donald Trump. Photo credit: Michael Vadon / Wikimedia

The goal in this election is not just to defeat Donald Trump — it’s to beat him so soundly that he and his MAGA movement are no longer a political force. And the best way to do that is to make him a laughingstock.

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— OPINION —

On Wednesday, in between his trial in New York and holding rallies in swing states, Donald Trump took some time out of his busy schedule to rant against Jimmy Kimmel.

What had the late-night talk show host done to draw the ex-presidential ire? He spent part of a monologue this week making fun of Trump for paying hush money to a porn star to cover up an affair, and ridiculing the performance of his media company stock. 

It is obviously not the first time Kimmel has mocked Trump: After all, it’s his job to poke fun at the rich and famous, and many celebrities and politicians have been the butt of his jokes.  

For example, when hosting the Academy Awards last month, he stopped the show to read a Truth Social post in which the former president, whom Kimmel has referred to as “Rant-a-Claus,” criticized the host’s performance. 

The talk show host then quipped: “But the joke is on Trump because turns out his supporters don’t care that he’s a lying, cheating scumbag. He could have saved himself a whole trial and 130 grand.”

This week, Kimmel noted that Trump, then a presidential candidate, had paid off porn star Stormy Daniels to prevent his supporters from finding out that he is a “lying, cheating scumbag.”

The talk show host then quipped: “But the joke is on Trump because turns out his supporters don’t care that he’s a lying, cheating scumbag. He could have saved himself a whole trial and 130 grand.”

Then he turned to the former president’s social media company, whose shares have plunged since it went public. 

“If you bought Trump’s stock two weeks ago — and shame on you, if you did — you lost half your money, but if you hold on just a little bit longer, you might be able to lose all of it,” Kimmel said.

In response, Trump posted a “Truth” that began with the words “Stupid Jimmy Kimmel.” This latest rant largely consisted of lies about what had happened at the Oscars and ended with: “He was made to look like a FOOL, which he is, and at the same time go down in Television History as the WORST HOST EVER OF THE ONCE VAUNTED ACADEMY AWARDS!”

You may ask yourself what the point of telling you all of this is. 

That’s easy: Being made fun of is Trump’s Achilles heel. 

In this case, Kimmel told a couple of silly jokes a month ago, and the former president just can’t let it go. Instead, he feels compelled to respond (while making himself a target for further mockery), and, in the process, he looks petty and weak. 

It’s the plight of all malignant narcissists, who think they are the best and greatest.

In Trump’s own mind, he is a 6’3”, 215-pound Adonis and a successful businessman, who also happens to be a genius.

Nothing bothers him more than people making fun of any part of this self-image. And that isn’t overly difficult because he is none of these things. Instead, Trump is a chubby old man who wears lots of makeup, is not as rich as he pretends, and is kind of a moron.

Yet, inexplicably, his political adversaries fail to take advantage of this vulnerability. 

Too often, they are treating him like a traditional politician, but, after eight years of this circus, they should realize that he is not. 

Trump’s main strengths are his incessant lying and that he believes he is the greatest human being of all time. 

Combine the two and you see why a majority of Americans (57 percent) believe that he is a “strong and decisive leader.” According to a recent Gallup survey, that is the only trait in which he cracks 50 percent.

“Donald Trump claims that things were better under him, but he also says that he is 6’3” and weighs 215 pounds.” 

People don’t care for his policies. At the start of the year, YouGov polled voters on 30 of his policies; in 21 cases, more voters disagreed with than supported them. 

Yet many of them like the person he plays on TV… a tough guy who gets stuff done. 

The fact that he largely didn’t match that image during his first term is secondary, because he will just tell them that he did and they are not informed enough to know the difference.

If you want to beat Trump, you can’t fight him like a regular politician. Instead, you have to get him out of his comfort zone (i.e., believing he is amazing) — and the best way to do so is by ridiculing him. 

Then, instead of a strong leader, he comes across as a small and petty man.

That’s what this election’s ads should be about. Issue-based messages won’t work because Trump is not trying to sell his policies; he is hoping to win on the strength of his persona. 

That’s why many of the ads that President Joe Biden runs this year should have the goal of getting under Trump’s skin. 

For example, anti-Trump ads should ridicule his looks, his cheating when he plays golf, and his nonsensical speeches (like the one on Sunday when he sounded like an unprepared 8th grader who was asked to give a report on the battle of Gettysburg after a school field trip and only revealed that he had not been paying attention). 

Imagine an ad that begins like this: “Donald Trump claims that things were better under him, but he also says that he is 6’3” and weighs 215 pounds.” And while we hear the narrator saying that, we see a simple graph comparing the job losses under the previous administration to the gains under Biden. Then cut to an image of Trump looking like… well, Trump. 

Donald Trump, LIV Golf, Miami

Former president Donald Trump and his son Eric Trump approach the first tee before the final round of LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral. Photo credit: © Debby Wong/ZUMA Press Wire)

Or: “This stable genius thought you could defeat COVID by injecting bleach into your body, or shining a light up your bum. No wonder Americans died at a much higher rate than in other countries. Hundreds of thousands of us perished under his leadership before Joe Biden turned things around.” 

Then you show a graph demonstrating how bad things were under the former president and how they turned around under the current one.

And many ads should conclude with a tagline like: “But Americans already knew this. And that’s why he lost the 2020 election by seven million votes… and even a violent attack on Congress couldn’t stop that.” 

For those of our readers who have read Harry Potter, the former president is like a boggart — a malevolent non-being that takes the shape of one’s worst fear but can be defeated with the spell “Riddikulus” and laughter.

Trump hates being a loser, so calling him one is perhaps the most effective way of getting under his skin. 

But the most important way to prick his aura of self-satisfaction is to mock his business acumen (or lack thereof). 

To wit: “There is a saying that the house always wins. Well, whoever said that didn’t know Donald Trump, who ran three casinos into the ground.”

Biden seemed to figure this out earlier this week when he poked fun at his likely opponent at an event in Pennsylvania. 

“I have to say, if Trump’s stock in the Truth Social, his company, drops any lower, he might do better under my tax plan than his,” he said, and the audience laughed. 

Later, Biden relayed a story of how a “defeated-looking” man came to him and asked for a loan. According to Biden, the president responded: “I’m sorry, Donald, but I can’t help you.”

Make that into an ad and ensure that there is always a clip of people laughing at Trump, which is his biggest nightmare.

Call him a loser as often as you can, and then point to all of these losses… in business and in politics. Because the stronger Trump pretends to be, the stronger many Americans think he is. 

Since Trump arrived on the scene, his opponents have taken him way too seriously. 

Yes, he poses a unique threat, but fearing him only feeds into his self-perception of being an alpha male who intimidates those around him. 

For those of our readers who have read Harry Potter, the former president is like a boggart — a malevolent nonbeing that takes the shape of one’s worst fear but can be defeated with the spell “Riddikulus” and laughter.

And that’s how Trump can (once again) be defeated in November… by making him look ridiculous and laughing at him.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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