Donald Trump is the Eminem of politicians.
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It doesn’t matter that Eminem hates Trump and wrote a diss song about him. That’s just ironic, because people make the same mistake trying to understand both of them: taking everything they say at face value.
Why did Trump say so many outrageous things during the campaign?
These motherfuckers are thinkin' I'm playin'
Thinkin' I'm sayin' the shit
Cause I'm thinkin' it just to be sayin' it—lyrics from Eminem – Kill You
Most of us in fact only say something because we’re thinking it. We just say what we think. Yes, we have filters. But it is rarely necessary to assess the purpose of what we say.
That is how we communicate, so that is how we interpret others.
But Trump’s words are strategic.
Both Trump and Eminem thrive on controversy. Both have a persona of just saying whatever they want. But both actually deliberately create controversy for a calculated purpose.
Controversy = Attention = Desired Result
For Eminem, the desired result is sales. For Trump, it’s votes and political support.
Both understand that their words will alienate some. They don’t try to appeal to everyone. They understand that the vast majority of those who are outraged never would have supported them anyway.
Did Eminem tone down his lyrics to appeal to more people? It looks like someone suggested it.
“It's just me bein' me; here, want me to tone it down?
Suck my fuckin' dick, you *****t! You happy now?”—Lyrics from Eminem (Ft. Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg & Xzibit) – Bitch Please II
I think not.
It’s not like Trump can’t control himself and his controversial statements just inadvertently slip out. He was in the public eye for decades, and you never heard anything like what he said on the campaign trail in all that time.
But how does generating controversy help a politician, as opposed to a rapper?
Consider this: Donald trump rode $5 billion in free media to the white house.
“The real estate magnate got $4.96 billion in free earned media in the year leading up to the presidential election, according to data from tracking firm mediaQuant. He received $5.6 billion throughout the entirety of his campaign, more than Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio combined.”
Do you think Trump did that by being an “idiot?” While campaigns traditionally love free earned media, no one has ever exploited it to the extent that Trump has. And that allowed him to win, despite being outspent by his opponents, who were preferred by special interests. See Selected Industry Totals from opensecrets.org.
The only way for Trump to have a real shot at becoming president was to do it the way he did it. He couldn’t have even won the Republican nomination if all he did was highlight his business experience and talk about jobs and trade.
I almost fell asleep just by writing that.
Trump knew the career politicians would have destroyed him. Because he would have been playing their game.
Trump took his games, like entertainment, branding, and marketing, and changed the rules of politics.
And it worked.
But as for Eminem, he was not impressed.
In fact, the “suck my fuckin’ dick, you *****t” guy appears to have been deeply offended by some of Trump’s words.
Perhaps he should have predicted that his fans, who don’t shy away from controversy and understand that his lyrics should not be taken at face value, just might include a lot of people who also support Donald Trump.
He appears to have come to regret a line in his 2017 BET Awards free style rap, when he said:
“Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his / I’m drawing in the sand a line, you’re either for or against." Eminem expresses regret for anti-Trump freestyle, claims he was questioned by Secret Service
According to the article, he later said of that line:
“That line in the sand, was it even worth it?
‘Cause the way I see people turning is making it seem worthless
It’s starting to defeat the purpose
I’m watching my fan base shrink to thirds
And I was just trying to do the right thing, but word.” (emphasis added)
Fan base shrink to thirds?! Damn! It appears that if a rapper makes people choose between them and their president, more people choose their president.
So was it worth it, Eminem? To go on record as yet another celebrity entertainer who really hates Trump?
Maybe it would be worth it if he took on Trump and won. But did he win?
For once, Trump didn’t even respond to a high profile insult. Eminem Is Desperate For A Donald Trump Tweet With His Surprise New Album, 'Kamikaze'. From the article:
“Last year, the rapper revealed to XM radio station that he was “extremely angry” at Trump for not responding to his freestyles. “I can’t stand that motherf**ker. I feel like he’s not paying attention to me. I was kind of waiting for him to say something and for some reason, he didn’t say anything.”
Eminem sounds like a whiny rebellious kid desperate for attention from an authority figure.
Not a good look for a 45 year old.
Trump makes a lot of opponents look stupid with his words. For Eminem, his silence was enough.
*This article has been slightly modified and was originally published as https://www.quora.com/Why-dont-people-understand-Donald-Trump/answer/Greg-Beuke