New book offers another perspective on Trump: satire

A lot could be written about the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. In fact, a lot has been written. Analysis. Editorials. Opinions. Think pieces.

There is no shortage of content or angles for those paying attention. Donald Trump has proven to be a controversy magnet.

G.B. Trudeau, the creator of the beloved comic strip Doonesbury, has brought us another perspective on Trump. Satire.

Trudeau’s YUGE! 30 Years Of Doonesbury On Trump is the best kind of satire. It honestly reflects and exposes the vile, ego, over-the-top greed and self-promotion that has defined Donald Trump for well over three decades.

Trump’s sexism, misogony, racism, elitism; his exaggerated sense of self-importance, ego and narcissism; his disdain for ordinary working people, politics and the media; and his insistence on the hustle – for everything is about winning to Trump, or at least framing abysmal failures as wins! – are all on display.

The Doonesbury comics are chronological. They give us the long-view of a man so full of himself that he refuses to acknowledge shortcomings or failures. A man who refuses to learn or grow, to listen and change.

In a late February, 1990 strip Trudeau captures Trump’s sexism. As his first marriage was falling apart, reporters pressed Trump about the erupting tabloid feud:

“Ivana’s a great gal,” Trump says. “For twelve years, she was always two steps behind me whenever I needed her. You can’t buy that kind of support! Not cheaply anyway.

“I’m truly sorry things didn’t turn out better. I mean, we worked on the marriage.”

When asked, “What do you mean by ‘worked on,'” Trump replies, “We consulted the best plastic surgeons in the country. But people change.”

Fast forward to November, 1999. Trump is toying with the prospect of running for president. Trudeau perfectly captures his real motive and his complete disdain for the media:

“As you know, there’s been this amazing, amazing, amazing response to my candidacy! It’s unbelievable how amazing it’s been!,” Trump gloats. “Now I know some of you guys choke on the fact that people love me – Love me! Well, guess what – I could care less what you think.

“As long as I’m a candidate you have to cover me! Which is good for the Trump brand, which just gets bigger and bigger and bigger! It’s a win-win-win for me! Because no matter what I do, I get phenomenal, amazing, unbelievable publicity! You have to give it to me for free! You have no choice! You’re sheep!”

Implicit in Trump’s disdain for the media, is his disdain for the American people, for voters. Like in his recent RNC speech, where Trump said only he could fix the monumental, complex problems facing our country. In a December, 1999 strip the professional self-promoter says:

“The response to my candidacy…has been incredible! Off the charts! The polls are unbelievable! Everybody loves me here – loves me!

“…A lot of people have been asking what this election is really about…Well, it’s not about the economy, stupid! And it’s not character, stupid! And it’s not authenticity, stupid! It’s not even about the issues, stupid! You want to know what this election is about…,” Trump asks rhetorically.

“You, stupid?,” a reporter replies. “Exactly! People are begging me to run! Begging me!”

Undoubtedly, throughout the 2016 presidential campaign – and throughout the entirety of Trump’s public life – ‘The Donald’ has been a bombastic, blowhard, school yard bully, someone insecure about his actual abilities and incapable of empathy, which Trudeau also captures.

In a February, 2000 strip a radio host is conducting an interview: “Caller, you raise an interesting point about the importance of competence…It’s long been a truism that the sign of an educated person is that he understands how little he knows. It’s why so many smart people are insecure.

“Now there’s evidence that that relationship might exists for competence in general. Incompetent people don’t grasp their deficiencies.

“I would imagine this also holds true for social and emotional intelligence.

“I’ve noticed,” the radio host continues, “that the hall mark of the self-absorbed and boorish is that they haven’t a clue that they present as such…”

The comic strip then shows a lazily dressed Trump sitting on his couch with a phone pressed against his ear. “You following this caller,” the host asks. Trump responds, “No. Can we get back to me?”

In a February, 2016 strip Trudeau sums up perfectly Trump’s disdain for ordinary, working families, for ordinary voters, and for the 2016 presidential elections, as Trump tells voters at a rally:

“Okay, so I’m crushing it right now. Crushing it! Why? Because I’m not politically correct! I have no filters! I tell it like it is!

“There’s only one thing I won’t say! What I won’t say is what I really think of all of you! Why? Well, mostly because I prefer to talk about myself. About how incredibly successful I am. It’s unbelievable how successful!

“You people? Not so much. You’re mostly losers and I prefer winners! I was born rich. My family bailed me out of bankruptcy. And now I’m richer than ever! I hate to tell you, but you’re not!

“So I jet in on my private plane, talk about myself, whip up the anger, shake a few hands, and then jet off, wiping away you and the smell of nowhere with a squirt of Purell!

“The last thing I want to do is sit in your dingy little kitchens and actually listen to you!

“Why? Because then I’d have to pretend this election is about you. When it’s not! It’s about me!”

While Trump may never actually say these words, his beliefs are implicit. And Trudeau captures these beliefs.

My only criticism of YUGE! is that the satire tends to minimize the actual danger a Trump presidency poses to our nation, to democracy, to peace and to the future of our planet.

And that, my friends, isn’t a laughing matter!

YUGE! 30 Years Of Doonesbury On Trump

By G.B. Trudeau

Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016, 110 pages


Tony Pecinovsky
Tony Pecinovsky

Tony Pecinovsky is the author of "Let Them Tremble: Biographical Interventions Marking 100 Years of the Communist Party, USA" and author/editor of "Faith In The Masses: Essays Celebrating 100 Years of the Communist Party, USA." His forthcoming book is titled "The Cancer of Colonialism: W. Alphaeus Hunton, Black Liberation, and the Daily Worker, 1944-1946." Pecinovsky has appeared on C-SPAN’s "Book TV" and speaks regularly on college and university campuses across the country.