Friday, September 4, 2015

What Tina Brown Taught Donald Trump

My theory on the connection between Donald Trump and Tina Brown. Seriously. Let me explain.

Donald Trump currently leads the Republican Party's primary presidential polls. People keep expressing surprise that he can hold that much popularity, despite his sometimes outrageous behavior and his straying from Republican conservative ultra-orthodoxy. But it's not that surprising, if you think about it.

Anyone else here old enough to remember when Tina Brown was editor of The New Yorker? When she took the reins of that legendary beast, some people were aghast—barbarians at the gate and all of that. She then proceeded to make changes to one of the most conservative (in terms of not changing) magazines in the entire country. New layouts, new sections, new types of articles, new contributors, new attitudes, and so on. People were impressed or nonplussed or angered, but the magazine went on. Eventually Tina Brown went on, too, to other jobs and others took the reins at The New Yorker. They were able to continue making changes, and the magazine is the better for it. It's an excellent publication, year after year. What Tina Brown might most be remembered for at the magazine is that she showed you COULD change it without destroying it.

For far too long, far too many GOP politicians at all levels have been terrified about touching certain third rails in the subway of politics. Raise taxes on the rich? Perish the thought. Gay marriage? WWJD! And so on. Trump has broken both of those taboos, plus others, and though many people are outraged or upset or nonplussed, he has shown that it can be done and it's not the Republican political kiss of death. Yes, he was able to do it because he's self-funded, but he has still pointed out that the GOP voter's emperor has no clothes, if you get the point, and I think we'll see other candidates in future years continue to break political taboos.

I'm not a Trump fan. Far from it. (Team Hillary Clinton 2016!!!) But I do find it interesting to watch what Trump is doing to the Republican Party that could be good for the party and the country itself, freeing it from a stifling policy conformism that hasn't been seen since the Comintern disbanded.

Maybe that will counterbalance to some small degree the damage Trump has done with his insulting racial and sexual comments.

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