Can Donald Trump Continue to Shock Us?

During my second round of graduate school, I was too busy to pay much attention to the news. I was living on national forest land, reading, writing, teaching, and traveling to see my girlfriend every weekend. I only had reception for three tv stations, but one of them was a PBS station, so whatever news I got was generally from that source. Many people today are as busy as I was or have more pressing responsibilities. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to understand why anyone today who plans to vote in the presidential election would not have already made up their mind. The two major party candidates are so different. It must be nearly impossible to have avoided hearing about Trump and Clinton. I would venture to guess that they are among the most famous (or infamous) people in the entire world.

The millions of viewers tuning in to the third debate aren’t looking for information about the candidates. Clinton voters aren’t changing their minds unless a video turns up showing her personally shooting Vince Foster. Trump supporters aren’t going to change their minds even if The Donald shows up in a video in KKK robes in a Trump hotel in Argentina patting Adolph Hitler on the back. People will watch the debate expecting to be entertained. Donald Trump has managed to find new ways shock people nearly every week. Great for the ratings. As we get ready for the last debate and last few weeks of the campaign, we have to ask what can Trump possibly do to top what he has already done.

Those who make mistakenly continue to think that Trump is a good businessperson believe that the recent outrageous behaviors, such as saying that the election is rigged, provides a rationale for a new Trump media station. Apparently there has been some discussion about this, and given the people he has hired, e.g., Roger Ailes and Steve Bannon, it is possible that he will try to repair the damage he’s done to his brand by tapping into the wallets of the audience he created by starting a new television station. While I don’t doubt he will try to cash in on his greater visibility, I don’t think he is planning ahead. As far as I can tell, everything he says and does relates to his ego. He lives in the past, not the future. Make America Great Again. Get revenge. Besides saying the election is rigged, Trump said Hillary is the devil, threatened her with being locked up once he is president, brought three of her husband’s former “mistresses” to the debate, and degraded women nonstop. What can he possibly do after all this to provide a spark to the flowing gas? For Trump, you see, it’s scorched earth time. Pay back for Hillary, the media, the establishment branch of the Republican Party, women who didn’t (inconceivably) appreciate his advances, the Americans who aren’t going to vote for him, and everyone else around the world who haven’t bowed down to him.

Let me speculate on how Trump can play his last face down card to shock us and destroy the system that mistreated him so badly. First, a warning to the Secret Service: keep an eye on Trump because he may strike Hillary. Bully behavior is to be expected. Second, Trump could expose himself to prove he’s a man having much larger hands than everyone thought. Third, he may get into a fight with Chris Wallace or with someone in the audience. Fourth, Trump could make a big bet about the dismal, hellish future of the country if he’s not elected. (I’ll bet you a million dollars that if Hillary is elected the Russians will launch a nuclear missile.) Fifth, he could confess to an act of unfaithfulness with pride and blame his wife. Sixth, he could reveal Vladimir Putin behind Curtain Number 1. He may do all six of these things or he could get really crude. He could tell a dirty joke or two. He could fart while Hillary is talking. But, the most shocking possibility would be for him to actually answer one question with the truth (not hyperbole) for two entire minutes or he could talk for two minutes about HOW he would make America great again. That would shock me.

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