Of possible Democratic challengers to Trump in 2020 it is hard to guess at this point who will wind up on top. But of one thing we can be certain: Trump will give that person a demeaning nickname. He seems to believe that character assaults are, in addition to policy attacks, required. He favors incivility over civility, childish reaction to the slightest slight, gutter politics and prejudice that plays to his “base” – these are his hallmarks, his modus operandi against any opponent or critic.
Should his opponent take the high road and not respond in kind? Not entirely; not if she or he wants to win.
I am not recommending complete degradation to dirty tricks, but not complete surrender either. I think giving him a nickname would accomplish, with enough civility, an effective response. Mention his nickname every time he uses the one he gives you.
What should his nickname be? I’ve been thinking about this for a while. The requirements should be:
1) It must capture his defining characteristics.
2) The name must get under his skin, irk him every time he hears it.
3) The name must be so recognizable (ala “Pocahontas”) that it becomes generic. When it is mentioned, most people know immediately that it refers to Trump. All prospective opponents could (and should) begin using his nickname as soon as they receive theirs from him.
4) The name should elicit a mental image of the character with which Trump is to be associated.
Of the many names I came up with, none could capture all of Trump’s characteristics, so I had to settle on one that accomplishes the most for the image presented.
My choice? Pinocchio. My reasons:
1) Most political students know of the Pinocchio Award. A “Pinocchio” signifies a big lie, a provable, intentional falsehood. “Pinocchio” has become synonymous with lying. Is Trump not the reigning world champion in this regard?
2) Pinocchio, being a wooden puppet, had a wooden heart, and therefore possessed no conscience or moral compass.
3) Pinocchio, being a child, had a child’s perspective, demeanor, and knowledge.
4) Pinocchio was a puppet. Others pulled his strings (Putin, McConnell, Duke, LaPierre, etc.) before he became a “real” boy.
5) If you read the original story, The Adventures of Pinocchio, author Carlo Collodi described him as a rascal, imp, disgrace, ragamuffin, and confirmed rogue. Upon being born, Pinocchio laughed in his creator’s face. Pinocchio’s goal was a personal ambition (become a real boy); he expressed no interest in helping others.
6) Pinocchio, being fictitious, was an unwitting participant in the history created around him.
Other suggestions? I feel that Democratic candidates shouldn’t just take it from the bully in silence.