What’s in a name? Depends on who you ask. What’s in a nickname? Apparently a lot, if you ask Donald Trump. He spent the 2016 election creating one juvenile and insulting nickname after another for his political adversaries. While it was repugnant on Trump’s part, he repeated these names often enough that they just may have had some impact. The trouble for Trump this time around is that he’s run out of gas.
Donald Trump’s circa-2016 nicknames like “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Bernie” were stupid and inaccurate, but they had a ring to them. These kinds of infantile but catchy nicknames may have resonated with the politically clueless voters in the middle. We may never know if they had any impact or not. Since taking office, Trump has continued to make up inappropriate nicknames for people, but they’ve been progressively less inspired. Here in the 2020 race, Trump can’t even seem to put words together.
For instance, Trump can’t seem to make up his mind whether he’s running against “Sleepy Joe” Biden or “Creepy Joe” Biden. Yesterday, Trump gave up trying to figure it out and simply went with “SleepyCreepy Joe.” Neither of these names has any chance of catching on. Trump isn’t going to convince anyone that Biden is the “creepy” one out of the two of them. And Biden is a high energy guy, so “sleepy” doesn’t suit him at all. Also, Trump already used that name when he insulted “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd.”
But the real sign of fatigue came this week when Donald Trump decided that Pete Buttigieg’s nickname is “Alfred E. Neuman.” Does Trump really think that invoking the mascot from Mad Magazine is going to register with Buttigieg’s younger supporters? Even Buttigieg said yesterday that he had to Google it. Moreover, there’s no way Trump came up with a nickname like that on his own. He’s become so lazy with this, he’s apparently now having to outsource his nicknames to his staffers.
Again, these idiotic nicknames may or may not have ever had any impact; it’s tough to figure out which factors do and don’t contribute to the derangement required to steer anyone toward voting for a criminal freak like Donald Trump. But the real upshot here may be that Trump is clearly running out of inspiration for his idiocy. He seems tired. Perhaps we should start calling him Sleepy Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report