Make Donald Donald Again

So, back in February, John Oliver had a segment on the history of Donald Trump’s last name. He ended with the suggestion that we start calling him Donald Drumpf.

I loved that segment, but it didn’t really catch on except as a snarky signifier of people who had already made up their minds. Which is fine, because it was a snarky suggestion. Still, there was something true in what was said. The name Trump was invented specifically to send a message of power and prestige, and it’s attached to a man who doesn’t deserve it.

Monday night, watching the debate, I noticed how Hillary Clinton kept calling him, “Donald,” and the way he winced at that. How odd. He doesn’t balk at calling her “Hillary.” None of us do. We called her main opponent “Bernie.” But somehow it’s unpleasant for him to be called “Donald.”

When you think about it, Donald has an absurd sound. It sounds like a cartoon character. It sounds like Ronald’s petulant, unintelligent punchline of a little brother… which is incredibly appropriate in this situation. And it’s a name that you could conceivably pull off with some dignity, if you had reasonable amounts of humility, eloquence and common sense. The fact that the Republican frontrunner can’t is a spotlight on his incompetence. It’s like his tiny hands all over again; an innocuous, irrelevant detail that any decent person could shrug off, but his grandiose ego makes him explode at even a reference to it.

Donald. Donald. Donald.

When you think about it, it’s fitting that all of the serious candidates –

*coughing, hacking noises*

Sorry, couldn’t finish that sentence. Let me try again.

When you think about it, it’s fitting that all of the party frontrunners in this debate be called by their first names. It’s fair, for one thing. It sounds belittling and sexist to say “Hillary” but “Trump,” or “Mr. Trump.” Yet, in the primaries we called Bernie Sanders “Bernie,” and besides it was helpful to distinguish her from the other political Clintons. We’re all in the habit now.

And don’t the names fit perfectly?

Hillary. Distinctive. Individual. You never forget a Hillary. She strides the boundaries between feminine and masculine, in a way that makes you love her or hate her, depending on your feelings about gender conformity. Her name means happy but feels like steely optimism rather than a party. It’s a name full of energy, but not peppy cheerleader energy. It’s the name of a marathon runner.


Fuckin’ Donald.


3 thoughts on “Make Donald Donald Again

  1. I like title, surname. Mrs Clinton. Mr Trump. It is formal and distancing. “Hillary” is familiar. I don’t know these people. “Donald” is a Scots name, as in Donald Dewar, first First Minister. Possibly Fred called his son by name when humiliating him. What does Mr Trump’s wife call him?

    Did you see his net worth has fallen by 18% over the last year?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if, on some level, this is a generational thing. I’ve grown up being informed that it’s impolite to call adults by their first name, but at the same time bosses and adults have allowed or even encouraged me to call them by their first time. I do tend to ask what people prefer to be called, but unless they specifically ask for their surnames to be used, it doesn’t feel overly polite to me.

      I also feel like Mrs. Clinton sounds too much like we are putting her below her husband. It definitely shouldn’t feel that way; it’s just saying their married, but the fact is female titles indicate gender and marital status while male titles only indicate their gender, so it inherently feels unequal. I wonder if that’s part of why my generation has shied away from them?


      1. Earlier generations would have called her “Mrs William Clinton”! Ms Clinton sounds wrong to me, too. I would call people I know by their first name, but not people I don’t know. I don’t know these people, however friendly they might appear superficially.

        Liked by 1 person

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