While Mr. Trump has raised some beef with the compadres down in Tijuana, he's mellowed out the real war with the nuclear-armed Russians. In Mr. Trump creating light tension with the Mexicans, he has followed a classic Dominican tactic: pick a fight with a little guy who doesn't actually want the trouble so that you can diffuse the situation with the bigger opponent without losing face.
We're not walking away because we're too chicken to fight you, but rather because we got these other guys on our turf that we have to deal with. Mr. Trump's father was from the Bronx, like many Dominicans, and it's pretty clear that he has mastered the unique bravado.
|2010 rally by former DR ruling party|
Unlike the Dominican president, however, Mr. Trump has not hired Joao Santana, a Brazilian political marketer known as the "maker of presidents," because it appears that he possesses the same marketing genius, as evidenced by his numerous brand-building enterprises and astronomic and unforeseen rise in American politics.
Beyond his talk-tough persona, these are some other elements which I believe would have also made Mr. Trump a successful politician in the Dominican Republic.
1) He wears an iconic, colorful token. Every major Dominican party has a copyrighted color, much like a gang. The ruling party wears purple, the main opposition party wore white, and the former ruling party donned red. Baseball is a major part of Dominican culture, and before Trump wore the red hat, the Dominican president rocked the purple.
2) He puts his name on everything he builds. A Dominican man is nobody if he hasn't taken sole credit for a mega-construction project,;Trump would have had no credibility to many Dominicans in NYC if he hadn't put his name on everything.
3) He stresses the imperative need to build a wall. There's an entire Dominican party, the FNP, whose main platform is building a wall with Haiti.
4) He was a celebrity before going into politics. If you don't have a successful TV show or a music career, don't even think about running. You have to be a known person before you can step into the political ring.
5) He doesn't censor his speech. A lot of Americans seem to think that you because you dislike one woman, that you hate all of them, but Trump knows better.
6) He thinks the handicapped should learn to take a joke. If that New York Times reporter would have been Dominican, he would have just recorded a video mocking Trump back.
7) He talks about how much money he has. You need to brag loudly to be heard in the Dominican.
8) His family is in on the business. You're not a proper Dominican politician unless your cousins and even the cousins of your ex-wife come out to rally for you.
9) His slogan is an imperative call for future progress. The current Dominican ruling party came to power with "we're going forward."
10) He thinks things were better back in the day. Dominicans live for nostalgia, and Mr. Trump knows how to awake that in people.
Dominican political parties are not particularly hard on ideology, they mostly revolve around the personality of the leader. Trumpism to me is familiar because it means the rise of personality politics in the United States, something which was bound to happen with presidential makers like Joao Santana mastering the art of social promotion.