“. . . his appeal has been as a person who tells it like it is.”Call it spin or framing, we have to be careful to keep our crap detectors well maintained so we don't let these memes slip into our brains uninspected.
Wikipedia explains memes this way (in part, there's lots more at the link):
A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem) is "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture". A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.This is the best word I can think of to describe what I mean here - that someone says something like "tells it like it is" and this idea spreads quickly, like a virus, and people begin to think of Trump as someone who tells it like it is, which implies that he know the truth and doesn't hesitate to say it. And that has a lot of appeal for Americans who are used to politicians waffling or being outright deceptive ("I did not have sex with that woman.")
I do believe that Trump is a man who is used to getting away with saying what he thinks, at least in many situations. I suspect when he is wooing an investor, he's more likely to edit his thoughts a bit and even prevaricate so he can tell the investor what he (Trump) thinks the investor wants to hear.
And up till now, the bedrock of Republican voters - conservative, older white males who feel their country is being taken away from them by non-whites and women, whether born Americans or immigrants - have been Trump's investors. He's done a great job in getting them to invest their votes in his candidacy.
But the rest of us shouldn't let our brains be invaded by misleading memes. "Telling it like it is" works great for Trump, but I'd suggest he's really "Telling it like he sees it."
By that I mean he's saying what he thinks will sway voters to come out to vote for him. Whether he actually believes what he says or only thinks it will persuade his target audience, I still don't know. I suspect sometimes it's the one and sometimes the other. I do believe that he believes life is a game and the only way to play is to win. But at the end of each game, he forgets the losses, remembers the wins, and focuses on the next game.
So he could honestly praise Cruz, after he suspended his campaign, From Newsmax:
"I have met some of the most incredible competitors that I have ever competed against right here in the Republican Party," Trump said to cheering supporters at his victory speech at Trump Tower in New York City.The primary game, in Trump's mind, is now over, and Trump can just forget all the mean and nasty things he said about Cruz and Cruz said about him. That was all just rhetoric in the game. (As opposed to 'telling it like it is.')
"We started off with 17 — and just so you understand, Ted Cruz, I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't like me, but he is one hell of a competitor.
"He is a tough, smart guy," Trump continued. "And he has got an amazing future. He's got an amazing future.
Now his competitor is presumed to be Hillary Clinton and he's going to play to win this new game just as vigorously. He's got new investors to woo, and we'll see how much of what he's been saying he believes and how much he changes his game for voters who prioritize their values differently from Republican primary voters.