The most American man I ever met had deep anger issues, but he was extremely successful. He told the best stories about his daily battles and stalemates with other jerks. One time, he smeared a chili dog all over someone’s windshield for cutting him off in traffic. He drove a bright yellow hummer, just because he liked seeing the look on liberals’ faces. He was always threatening to sue people. I knew he was a bad person, but I liked him. He was incredibly fun to hang out with.
His friends admired his spirit.
That’s the thing about America. If you’re good enough at being a jerk, everyone lets you get away with it.
According to a new Gallup poll, Donald Trump is the most admired man in America. Are you a little confused?
You shouldn’t be.
Here’s what makes Trump so admirable. They’re exactly the same things that make him so despicable:
He’s a familiar face.
Donald Trump has been right up in our screens for most of our lives. He’s been in our movies and TV shows, and our commercials. He’s the cool rich guy who gave little Kevin McCallister directions in Home Alone 2. That scene remains one of the most memorable cameos in film history, and he barely did anything. He commands attention.
He does it without effort.
Nobody learned the first thing about business or entrepreneurship from The Apprentice, but it was entertaining to watch. It gave Americans permission to sit back and daydream.
That’s what Americans want more than anything, to daydream. We’re taught to fantasize our way to wealth. Trump helps us do that.
It made him a household name.
He gets to say whatever he wants.
Donald Trump is the living embodiment of how millions upon millions of Americans think about free speech.
He shoots his mouth off all the time. He never apologizes. Nothing ever happens to him. You can’t cancel Trump.
That’s how we think the first amendment works.
It’s our right to be a jerk.
He gives everyone the McDonald’s version of wealth.
The average American doesn’t really understand what it’s like to make a lot of money through knowledge and skill.
They want the McDonald’s happy meal version.
They think it’s about having your name on lots of buildings and living at a resort. They think it’s about being surrounded by beautiful women all the time, and doing whatever you want.
He isn’t rich, and he’s a terrible businessman. He simply knows how to live out the average American dream, a sad relic from the boomer era. Part of him knows that, but he doesn’t care.
He makes a show of his lavish lifestyle.
But what is that lifestyle really, other than sitting around eating fast food all day, drinking diet coke, and playing golf?
Apparently, it works.
He has a fake marriage.
Let’s be honest, lots of men still don’t want a real marriage. They want what Trump has, a trophy wife.
They don’t want a relationship that demands anything of them. They want kids, but would happily avoid all the sleepless nights and diaper changes if they could. Trump has gone on record several times bragging about how he leaves all the business of childcare to women.
No, not all men want that. But probably a little less than half do. Maybe they don’t use that term, but ask them what they want and that’s what they’ll describe. It’s disappointing, and true.
He has proxy wives.
The average American male wants beautiful offspring. We can debate this all day, but you have to look at real Americans. I’m not talking about the decent ones who read The New York Times. I’m talking about the ones you meet at places like Walmart and Home Depot. I’m talking about the ones who take their daughters to purity balls.
A lot of dads in America don’t have healthy relationships with their daughters. They see them as proxy wives.
Donald Trump normalizes this behavior.
He jokes about it.
He has power over women.
Donald Trump ran the Miss Universe Organization until 2015. That meant he was also in charge of Miss America and Miss Teen America. For decades, he could make beautiful young women fawn over him and compete for his attention and approval. They let him do whatever he wanted. He could go into their dressing rooms unannounced.
He could touch them.
There’s a lot of creeps in America. The stories about Trump’s disturbing behavior around women doesn’t bother them.
It’s their dream come true.
His sons worship him.
Every man wants to be a hero to his kids. Trump’s kids kiss daddy’s behind all day long. It’s every deadbeat dad’s dream.
Trump doesn’t have a healthy relationship with his sons. He didn’t have a healthy relationship with his father.
In the Trump family, you are nothing but a reflection of the patriarch’s power and authority. Your job is to make him look good at all costs. Say what you will about Donnie Junior. You should feel sorry for him. Lots of dads aspire to that kind of relationship. They want a chip off the old block to carry on their legacy and pass down their genes.
It’s that simple.
He “doesn’t care what other people think.”
Of course, that’s not really true.
Trump cares what everyone thinks, a lot. That’s why he’s always so angry. Everyone must love Trump and agree with everything he says. When someone doesn’t, he pretends he doesn’t care. He goes out of his way to discredit them. He lies about how thick his skin is.
Americans buy it.
Trump doesn’t simply ignore his critics. He doesn’t value a single person’s opinions other than his own.
That’s the difference people miss, not that it matters.
He’s talented at being mean.
Americans live for insults. They love having the last word, even if it’s only because a more mature person let them.
Trump is known for his insults.
He’s great at coming up with nicknames to belittle his opponents. He doesn’t even think too hard about it. Sure, many of us cringe when he calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” or Nancy Pelosi “Crazy Nancy.” A lot of Americans don’t. They think it’s hilarious. They eat it up.
What you really have to understand about a lot of Americans is that they stopped maturing around the age of 16.
They never grew up.
They just got jobs and had kids.
He makes everything look easy.
Donald Trump has never worked a real day in his life. He grew up in wealth. Despite his business blunders, he’s managed to stay there. He did it by surrounding himself with people who wanted to please him, because they were attracted to his abrasive personality.
That’s how abuse works. When you’re mean to people, it has the ironic affect of making them want to get on your good side.
It doesn’t work on everyone, just enough.
That’s how Trump has managed to get where he is, by manipulating the weaknesses and insecurities of everyone around him. He breaks them down emotionally and psychologically. It’s easy to be mean, and then get a lot of vulnerable people to do your dirty work.
It’s fun to be the bad guy.
It’s not that hard to see why Donald Trump is the most admired man in America. He’s spent a lifetime branding and perfecting every trope and stereotype in American culture. He is the paragon of toxic masculinity, which is alive and well today.
Donald Trump projects strength through cruelty. He controls everyone around him, because they let him.
He makes it look fun.