David L. Hunter / Apr. 29, 2016

Trump May Be Citizen Kane, Not Lonesome Rhodes

As my first choice, a Cruz/Fiorina ticket is a Reaganesque dream ticket, and I agree in large measure with the spirit of Lloyd Marcus’s “Cruz: Not Another Face in the Crowd.” Yet, Mr. Marcus’s comparison of Republican front-runner Donald Trump to 1957’s “A Face in the Crowd” fictional movie character Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, an anti-hero played brilliantly by Andy Griffith, is a superficial one. University of Pennsylvania Ivy Leaguer Mr. Trump may be a showman in the vein of P.T. Barnum — a candid, uncensored, larger than life presentation style like Rhodes — but the billionaire is no folksy hayseed or drunken jailbird. Both men ride the tide of the public’s discontent to the height of political influence as non-politicians in the age of television, but neither “character” can be blamed for doing that.

In the case of Lonesome Rhodes he thinks his audience is stupid and has contempt for them: “Only they’re more stupid than I am, so I got to think for them.” On the other hand, Trump referring to himself as stupid is out of the question (just ask him). Likewise, for example, while it was a mistake for him to mislabel Iowans as stupid in the specific case of believing in Ben Carson’s claim to have been a violent youth, that is not the sweeping hatred Lonesome Rhodes has for his viewing audience. That’s just Mr. Trump bluntly calling political circumstances as he sees them. It’s a political double-edged sword that appeals to some and turns off others, but that polarizing love-hate dynamic is true of every candidate running for public office. The critical difference lies in Rhodes’s smarmy, manipulative scorn for his followers versus Trump’s trust in the American people’s intelligence to share his disdain for how poorly the political establishment on both sides has run things specifically over the last almost 8 years.

The rise of Joe Biden’s storybook (“[F]irst mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”) Barack Obama was an extreme and untested adverse reaction to the then unpopular George W. Bush. To extend the parallel, Donald Trump is an equivalent negative reaction to the current administration, incompetent Democrats and weak-willed Republicans alike. The Trump phenomenon is a wholesale rejection of the establishment candidates of the beltway bubble, and specifically a repudiation of Obama’s multitude of failures and phantom pipe dream promises of hope and “change” resulting in economic downturn and long-term stagnation.

Naysayers criticize Trump for a lack of detail related to his campaign pledges, but government is now so powerful and bureaucratic (read: “the problem”) that explicit “plans” are unnecessary. Today a U.S. president is little more than a director of intention and a manager of resources. Indeed, how is that different from being a captain of industry like Mr. Trump? And unlike the professional politician ruling class susceptible to the economic catnip of special interest lobbyists, Mr. Trump is bankrolling his own campaign and is not “for sale” to the highest bidder á la the influence-peddling Clintons (read: “Clinton Cash”).

Despite being a colorful and controversial figure, bombastic Donald Trump recent 5-state sweep and leads in the national polls for two critical reasons. Most importantly, he is outspoken for America first. (Contrast that to Democrats who are always blindly party first, party always.) Mr. Trump says the things average Americans grumble about as radically far left Democrats push America further over a cliff to mediocrity and socialistic ruin. What a novel concept: a plain-speaking leader who recognizes the people’s will for a change! Second, Mr. Trump has harnessed Mr. Obama’s superficial “politician as celebrity mojo” that seems essential to voting for U.S. presidents these days.

Lonesome Rhodes wasn’t the genuine article, but is Trump? That is the $64,000 dollar question that no one can answer. However, Lonesome Rhodes is much more like modern day Democrats: snake-oil salesmen who depend on the ignorance (“Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar”) of MSM-fed low information voters. Ignore your lying eyes on the incompetence, they imply with sleazy, disingenuous smiles. Elect me solely on the basis of the novelty of ethnicity or gender. (Sound familiar, Hillary supporters?) She’s the real “face in the crowd” political trickster whom the MSM ignores, and supports overall.

Is Mr. Trump presidential material? Only time will tell, but it is overtly cynical to compare The Donald to Lonesome Rhodes. An apt comparison is actually cinematic classic Citizen Kane, a man whose vast wealth fueled an even bigger ego, an obsessive need for public adoration and, like Trump, perhaps a birthright entitlement to high elective office.

David L. Hunter is on Twitter and blogs at davidlhunter.blogspot.com. He is published in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Patriot Post, FrontPage Mag, and extensively in Canada Free Press and American Thinker.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.