Eye of the Chump


Apollo Creed:  Just stay outta my face, chump.

Clubber Lang:  Don’t turn your back on me, sucka!

You’ve seen Rocky I.  Working Class Underdog Rocky Balboa goes the distance in a World Championship Boxing Match.  You’ve seen Rocky II.  Rocky and his then nemesis Apollo Creed finally decide who’s going to get the belt.  In Rocky III, we find Balboa going through the motions, not entirely sure what to do with all of his fame and fortune.  In effect he’s lost his way and he loses the Championship to the nasty Clubber Lang (played by 80s superstar Mr. T).  His old foil, Creed steps in, trains Rocky and of course Rocky regains the Championship (only after my favorite character in all of the Rocky films, Rocky’s long time trainer Micky, played by Burgess Meredith dies).


In case you haven’t heard, Donald Trump (AKA Chump) is coming to Burlington on January 7th and is performing at the Flynn Theater (an apt setting because what Chump does best is put on a show).  There are multiple protests being staged, somehow and as usual the loudest one (on social media anyway) is being organized by the Vermont Worker’s Center and its spin-off group Rights and Democracy.

Here are a few predictions about the Chump Event.

  1. Chump will win no matter what happens.  If people turn out for a show it is by definition successful. People will turn out for this show in droves.  It doesn’t matter if they love Chump or hate him.  He will win this round.  He will most certainly be getting plenty of free media attention on WCAX and WPTZ, both of which broadcast deep into New Hampshire. As we’ve seen from his Campaign, anything that doesn’t knock him out, only makes him stronger (and he has yet to be knocked out).
  2. The Flynn is not selling tickets for the event.  They are being given away by the Campaign through the ticketing site Eventbright.  I would love it if the Flynn could clarify whether the Campaign can give away more then 1,300 tickets (the number of seats in the Theater).  A number of people have indicated on social media that they are getting a ticket and then not showing up for the event.  Great, but if Chump can give away as many tickets as he wants, look for droves of people who obtained tickets to be turned away. I believe that this rings especially true, because the even initially sold out by New Year’s Morning, and then tickets again became available and are still available at time of publishing.
  3. There is only one plausible reason why Chump is coming to Burlington and that’s Bernie Sanders.  Bernie is Burlington’s own Rocky Balboa, a scrapper who took what nobody thought he could take and has been proving people wrong ever since.  What Chump’s interface with Sanders is going to look like, as of yet remains unclear.
  4. Chump represents Bernie’s best chance of becoming President.  That manifests itself in one of two ways. First as I noted back at the end of August, if Chump decides to run as a third party candidate, then we see history repeating itself from the 1981 Mayoral Campaign.  The other way is less clear, but still possible.  If Chump holds strong through the initial primaries, he may well push Clinton supporters into the Sanders’s Camp.  The Universe needs balance.  With Chump’s rise it is clearly out of alignment.  A national shift towards Sanders would serve to realign the political landscape.
  5. Chump is a genius.  OK he is despicable and an abomination.  But that doesn’t mean he cannot be a genius.  No not of the Einsteinian variety, but certainly of the P.T. Barnum (and Clubber Lang) variety. He realized long ago that popular culture is popular…because people like it!  Most politicians (with Sanders being a notable exception) understand this to some extent, but none in recent memory has been adept at harnessing its forces (perhaps not in small part because Chump is a pop culture icon).

So as far as Thursday, January 7th is concerned, do what you want.  Go to see Chump, go to a protest, stay home and do nothing.  But just one parting thought.  In a world where Clinton manifests as Apollo Creed; Sanders as Rocky; and Chump as Clubber Lang, instead of using your energy, time and money to decry Trump, maybe the better thing to do would be to channel them towards getting Bernie (or even Hillary) elected.  Just a thought.

Here’s some motivational music…. Eye of the Tiger…..

Rocky vs. Clubber Lang