It has come to my attention that there are still a few people in the world that I have not offended. I'd like to fix that by endorsing Donald Trump for president. But not for the reasons you might think.

This morning I read a news item saying that some folks at NBC think Trump might be pretending to run for president to boost ratings. The story noted that ratings for his TV show are up 20% lately. I laughed out loud because sometimes I forget that at least half the country doesn't realize he's just screwing with the media. 

The magnificent part of this whole thing is that he's putting no effort whatsoever into concealing his prank. That's what I love about the guy. He knows that no level of clownery in a field of clowns will single him out as the one clown that doesn't really mean it.

Take Trump's recent empathy with the so-called birthers. That's the most brilliant part of his plan. It's a dead giveaway that he's just screwing with the media, and it has the added benefit of concentrating most of their attention on that one trivial issue. He doesn't even need to study up on the other issues. While Romney is writing position papers, Trump is golfing.

If you are not a student of practical jokes, you might not know they have a specific formula. A proper practical joke is more than a surprise or a lie. The magic part of the prank formula involves leaving enormous clues that are obvious to everyone but the target of the prank.

For example, if you have a coworker who likes to whistle little tunes in his cubicle, his blind spot is that he imagines other people are impressed and delighted by his whistling prowess. You could use that blind spot to engineer your prank. For example, you might have a friend call this fellow at work, pretending to be the director of the local symphony. Your co-conspirator could say the symphony is looking for an accomplished whistler to do a solo when the President of the United States' is in town next month. The payoff is getting the whistler to show up at the local symphony and ask the receptionist where he should go for the whistling audition.

The thing that makes the prank work is that no one in the solar system, except for the whistler, would find this scenario credible. He alone could imagine that word of his whistling talents have started to get around town. And he alone would imagine that the President of the United States would want to hear his whistling solo.

Back to Trump. He's a graduate of the Wharton School, which means his intelligence is in the genius range. He's a world-renowned businessman with attention to details. He's also famous for a trademark form of self-parody that has boosted his brand for decades. There isn't the slightest chance that this man hasn't looked at the birther evidence. He knows the President of the United States is American. That's the hiding in plain sight part of this prank. It isn't the least bit credible that Trump thinks the birther issue is real.

Some of you are thinking he's gone too far with the joke. Or maybe he went too far when he said we should take Iraq's oil by force as payment for a war they didn't ask for. This is not a man who thinks he might someday debate serious politicians in a public forum. This is a man who is winking at the camera and daring you to see the obvious.

Normally I wouldn't call out a prankster while the prank is in play. But this is a special case because the people who think he's serious have made up their minds. In order for them to accept that this is a prank, they'd have to accept that they can't tell the difference between a real candidate and one who is yanking their chains. Brains are not wired for that sort of 180 turn. In the history of humankind, no one has ever said, "I thought I was a brilliant observer of politics but this new information proves that my brain is the size of a tiny mouse turd." Trump's prank literally can't be exposed by anyone but him.

Trump is smart enough to never admit that his presidential aspirations are no more than marketing. To admit the trick would damage his brand. But he has no need to ever expose the prank. Trump, the magnificent bastard, has figured out a way to have his cake and eat it too. The people who are in on the joke find it entertaining. The people who will never know it's a joke have raised their opinion of him so much that he's the leading Republican presidential contender. And his TV ratings are up, so from a marketing standpoint it's working.

Granted, many people are turned off by Trump's pomposity. He knows that. But he also knows that success doesn't come from bland acceptance by the entire world. It comes from the ability to inspire the few. He's nailing that part. I just spent my morning writing about him.

The other genius part of his marketing is that he knows people are influenced by repetition more than reason. The attention he gets for his alleged presidential ambitions allow him to tell you over and over again that all things Trump are amazing. That part of the plan is working too.

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Apr 21, 2011
You're wrong. Trump is an idiot, Wharton school or no, and you give him too much credit. Which is why he should run. Him and Sarah Palin both. And Michelle Bachmann, all three on the same ticket.

I can dream, can't I?
Apr 21, 2011
if he runs for president also, people just give him money. so, i think that's the reason for the 'prank' i dont think its a prank in so much as he is creating a tax shelter for his rich friends by saying he's running so they can donate tax deductable money to him. i think. im president of my cubicle but i run unopposed every year.
Apr 21, 2011
Dammit, I forgot to change my screen name..... there goes my genius designation.
Apr 21, 2011
Wow, that Dal_Tiger guy is a genius!!
Apr 21, 2011
Of course it's a joke! Donald Trump knows the end of the world is coming in December 2012, and he doesn't want to be the one holding the bag when it happens. Sometime next year, before Donald boards his rocket to Mars where Trump Tower 2 is being built, he'll announce that Obama was born in Hawaii and that he is withdrawing from the race. He'll be the one saying "Ha Ha" from space as the world explodes...
+23 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 21, 2011
I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that, at a time when America's major industry is entertainment, even government has become a reality show.
Apr 20, 2011
Very perceptive post, Scott, but you missed the best part. You see, the best part is that this is an Inception prank, or a prank within a prank. And yes, I am picking Orly Taitz to play the part of the wrinkled Japanese dude.

Most normal people should have long ago figured out that there is no substance to the birther issue, but it is just something Obama has hanging around just to yank the chains of the crazies. And anyone who touches it is marked for ever. But the real beauty of it? He doesn't even have to do anything. Well, in the beginning he might have spent a little money in legal fees on setting it up, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the billion it will cost to get elected in 2012. But after that, by his very act of doing nothing he perpetuates it. How many pranks have you ever seen that have inertia as their ... ertia? And this is what Trump wraps himself around.

I think it is all just brilliant.

I am so looking forward to the next 12 months.
Apr 20, 2011
Why not, Trump? The prank worked for Barry Soetoro.
Apr 20, 2011
trump might be a borderline sociopath, but he's not stupid. and he has access to pollers. he must be aware that he has no chance of winning, unless i'm not being cynical enough about the american populace (possible, but i think i've learned my lessons over the years).

and he's an eternal huckster, the corner-office billy mays. i doubt he would pass up a chance at cheap, mass-advertising. whether people love him or hate him, he's sending the message that he's important. and that will translate into dollars
Apr 20, 2011
im sure some of you are obama fans.

i would honestly like to hear from you. if you dont have answer, it would be nice to hear that as well. silence isnt very definitive.

obama released to media a ~2007 copy of certificate of live birth which omits some data that a real birth certificate has.

the republican governor of hawaii said obama is legit.

court cases demanding obama prove citizenship have not been met with overpowering proof and transparency, but by having cases thrown out and delayed.

obama's grandmother said he was born in kenya.

im not looking for condescension or vile, if i am mistaken about any of the above, just let me know and where i can fact check. my own research has led me to the above 'facts'.

in my analysis, obama's courtroom behavior is that of a guilty man, or someone cynical enough to abuse the court system to appear guilty to those who wish he was, just to marginalize them as 'loons'.

if i was innocent of something, and had proof, i would not squash challenges on technicalities, i would embrace them and crush them under the hammer of truth and proof.

i would never in my wildest flight of fancy ever behave as he has done. either he is skirting the constitution of the USA, or he is marginalizing ppl not based on power of reason or ideas, but by deceiving them to their paranoia so their vision of USA doesnt spread to other americans.

either way, its deception. since he says he stands for transparency and 5 days posting on whitehouse website before something becomes law, etc, blah blah blah, him being deceptive about this is definitely good 'pacing', but NOT a good omen.

you really cant trust a man who marginalizes his opponents thru treachery. (imo) turnabout is fair play, but 'birthers' never used treachery to challenge him afaik. he drew first blood on immoral tactics.

lastly, it blows my mind that a 2007 copy of a document other than 'birth certificate' is enough to quiet any fears his supporters have. do they simply not care whether he is a natural born citizen? the only other proof then this copy of non-birth certificate is from a republican, which obama supporters are very willing to believe is a liar thru-and-thru.

to me this looks exactly like how self-deception works in my own heart. part of human experience i would say. someday we have to recognize it and correct it... believing a repub when he says what we want and disbelieving him every other time is really willful self-deception. works on birthers too btw, heh.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
Nice work Scott but there are still a few groups that you haven't offended thoroughly yet.

In order to really sweep the field i'd suggest you should consider Blogs about the following groups, in no particular order:

The Tea Baggers;
Climate Change advocates (and deniers, get em both in one shot)
transexuals; transvestites and cross dressers (just lumping them together should guarentee to piss some people off)
Gun owners.

If you can stir up all those groups and still walk around in public without fearing for your safety, you haven't done a good enough job :P
-5 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
Responding to:
[The genius bar is lower than most people realize. A common definition is being in the top 2% of IQ. The people who squeak in to the bottom of the range, including me, have little in common with the Einsteins at the top. I doubt there are many people at Harvard that test below the top 2%. -- Scott]

Being (barely) in the top 1% I have to disagree. Having been previously married to a 0.1%er, and watching her interact with her 1/1000 club members and feeling like a left shoe on a right foot, i have to disagree. Its hard to explain but unless the IQ test cannot quantify your intelligence (it varies so much between 160 and 200 with each take) you are not a genius. Besides, if I’m a genius than I’ve got no excuse to just coast through life like I'm doing. I should go do something, and that would suck.
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
Next thing you know, Trump will be posting on blogs about how great he is, using the pseudonym "ScottAdams".

+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
"He's a graduate of the Wharton School, which means his intelligence is in the genius range"
Ah yes, it's just like what the Athenians told Oedipus
"You have killed the Sphinx, you must marry the Queen"
to which Oedipus replied
"Yes I know, cause and effect"
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
Even before this candidacy stunk he was just an egomaniac jerk to me.
Yes, you really need to be smart to wast your dad's money
Apr 20, 2011
Ok, here's my theory:
Go look up the movie "The Candidate" starring Robert Redford - it's about a guy who runs for the Senate - he starts out with no chance of winning, and he's mostly in it to make it a bit harder for his opponent (the incumbent) to just win in a landslide. Spoiler: Redford wins, and the movie ends with him saying to his campaign leader: "Now what?"

Obama was "The Candidate" for the Democrats. Hillary was supposed to win the nomination and then the Presidency. Obama was just supposed to make it look interesting.

Trump is "The Candidate" for the Republicans. His job is to look like such a complete Tea Party nut-case that a more reasonable, regular Republican candidate will win the nomination. At this point, the only way the Republicans could lose to Obama in 2012 is if they actually nominate Trump (or possibly McCain).

Actually the best plan for the Republicans is to hold their nomination campaign after the election, and simply run "Republican to be named later" in the Presidential election.
Apr 20, 2011
I wish you would get off the dime and just tell us that you want to be his running mate...or is that the REAL prank?
+35 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 20, 2011
The real reason Trump is the best candidate for the job is that NOBODY knows more about running bankrupt organizations than him.
Apr 20, 2011
So is the payoff to this prank when he accepts the Republican nomination, or during his inauguration speech? I'm still waiting for President Obama to say "you've been punk'd!".

BTW, I tried to post this under my real name, "Douche Nozzle", but your blog wouldn't accept it.
Apr 20, 2011
I read your strip because I find it entertaining, and most of the time it makes me think, a lot, I so enjoy it, and boo to those who castigate you! Let them read something else, or perhaps your strip makes them think too much, or perhaps they do not know how to think and cannot figure out why your strip is usually hysterical.

Maybe its my age, but I find it very refreshing! Thanks and keep up the good work!!
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