A leftist group boycotted Nordstrom and Sears dropped Ivanaka’s Trump branded merchandise and Trump supporters reacted with furious anger promising boycotts of those chains.
It turns out, however, that Ivanka’s merchandise is doing very well on Amazon marching to the top of the sales charts. This news brought much celebration among Trump supporters and calls to support Amazon.
Now the success or failure of a product line of the multi-millionaire daughter of a billionaire president doesn’t really have anything to do with the business of government. It has nothing to do with tax policy, foreign affairs, immigration enforcement or really any of the business of the state at all. It is just business.
It seems, however, that both Trump detractors and supporters have made Ivanaka’s business their business.
This strikes me as odd. I will confess that until about the end of 2015, I had no idea Ivanka existed let alone that she had a line of merchandise. It seems strange to me that I am expected to have a heartfelt position on the disposition of this woman’s business affairs. I think it is absurd that the left wants me to boycott her products and I find it equally absurd that the right wants me to buy them. I don’t generally have any position at all on the business success of lines of high end women’s accessories. Frankly, I am programed to not care.
I am still forming my thoughts here but it seems that this situation tells us something about the state of American politics. In the past I have compared politics to spectator sports in which we root for our teams despite that fact that there is no real difference between them. I am starting to think all this is more like a movie.
In a movie there is a hero for whom you cheer. His success becomes your success. His failure becomes your failure. The nature of the hero’s struggle is really irrelevant. The hero’s quest could be to get the girl, survive a war, deliver the ring to a mountain or save the universe. The details don’t matter. You support the hero.
I think that is what is going on here. Ivanka’s business success should be irrelevant. She is the daughter of a billionaire and worth $150 million in her own right. Generally, regular folks from middle America don’t get emotionally involved in the business success or failure of beautiful, fabulously rich, elite New York City heiresses. The disposition of her business interests will not affect the lives of Middle Americans in the least.
We care about her, however, not because of the policies of the current head of the federal government. We care because Donald Trump has been cast as the protagonist in a great right-wing movie production and his supporters have been swept up by the narrative. The hero’s beautiful daughter is under attack and our heart strings have been pulled. We are rooting for the protagonist and his princess daughter. This is a heroic narrative.
It has nothing whatsoever to do, however, with the Constitutional role of the federal government or the role of the president. This is not government or policy. It is the stuff of cinema, soap operas, storybooks and stage plays.