The Narrative’s Working?

Harvey Radin…
6 min readAug 10, 2023

It’s been in the works, since around 2019, building a narrative about a former president whose dystopian ranting, rhetoric, his grievance-laden messaging, could destroy freedom and democracy. One individual, like others over the course of history, messing with minds.

I’ve been fiddling, a little, with messaging about the former president, in articles and columns. Trying, in the lingo of business, to move the dial, a little. And then, today (8/10/2023), there’s this, headline in Salon:

“Donald Trump has gone off the deep end for real: He’s a danger to humanity.”

I’ve mentioned this former POTUS, probably, 90 times, hoping my narratives, along with other news and commentary, in media, would sink in.

In a re-imagined David and Goliath, would I be a David?

You know former President Trump’s penchant for nasty nicknames? Could ‘Despotic, dyspeptic Donald’ be a suitable nickname for him?

In these recently published columns (below), you be the judge:

HMPRESENTLY: A Nickname for a Former President

Posted on August 3, 2023 by Harvey Radin

Has anyone come up with a nickname for former President Trump, like nicknames POTUS 45 dreams up for reporters, political opponents and, probably, anyone else rubbing him the wrong way?

Nicknames like ‘sleepy-eyed’ and ‘low IQ’ are among Mr. Trump’s favorites. What might someone come up with, as a nickname for the former leader of the free world?

‘Despotic, dyspeptic Donald’?

Something like that? The alliteration might make it pretty catchy.

Would a nickname, for a master of nicknames like him, be impactful, even among his most diehard followers… his acolytes? Would they see him in a different light, with those alliterative D-words used in a potential nickname?

Or could this backfire? There’s been some cozying up to authoritarianism, and to both active and aspiring despots. But, then again, maybe that’s exactly why a little PR intervention, and a catchy, pithy nickname, with ‘despot’ in it, could put a dent in the perception people have of someone who’s constantly in the news and top-of-mind.

And perhaps, dent perception of iron-fisted rulers and autocratic governments, to boot.

‘Dyspeptic,’ too… this word might shape opinion, since it’s a reminder of the former president’s often dour visage and demeanor. The guy seldom smiles; he’s seldom laughing, or even chuckling.

So, PR-wise, there may be something here. (And besides, this could beat the heck out of shaping opinion of products and services, and business firms’ brand image, which I used to do, for so many years, and thoroughly enjoyed, but this, too, nicknaming the former president, could have its moments.)

And, just because he’s been the president, why should he hog all the pithy nicknames… controlling the market, so to speak?

A little competition might be good for him, for a change, maybe giving some of the folks planning to run against him in 2024 a leg up in the upcoming race. With Mr. Trump’s tight control of the Republican Party right now, and his commanding lead over other Republican presidential candidates, maybe they’d adopt the ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald’ nickname.

Try picturing, in your mind, candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor and Ambassador Nikki Haley, and others, saying ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald’… with gusto, and alliteration…

In another column, nickname-shaming him was a key, strategic goal:

HMPRESENTLY: Game On, Mr. Trump?

Posted on August 8, 2023 by Harvey Radin

Since my column, “Let Me Fiddle, a Little, With Your Mind” was published, ‘I’ve gotta keep fiddling,’ keeps coming to mind, as I’m writing new columns. Like this one, here, about ‘narratives’… an interesting, popular word, meaning ‘stories.’

Narratives, often, are stories. It seems there’s always someone with a narrative, and, I suppose, I’m one of them.

Actually, going back several years, I’ve been writing stories — i.e. narratives — about authoritarians: dictators, despots, iron-fisted rulers, and other terms describing existing — and aspiring — authoritarians.

One of my recent narratives suggested a nickname for former President Donald Trump, with ‘despotic,’ in it, along with the word, ‘dyspeptic’. So the potential nickname — ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald’ — might rival some of the president’s own widely-publicized nicknames, like one he came up with recently for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis:

“Ron DeSanctimonious.”

Am I, in any way, in the same league as Mr. Trump, with nicknames? I mean… with so many run-on letters, in ‘DeSanctimonious,’ alone — what’s the total, 13 or 14 letters — and another three letters with the Sunshine State governor’s Christian name, ‘Ron’… that’s a load of letters.

But, I’ve got alliteration, in my favor, with the ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald’ nickname for the nation’s 45th POTUS. Try repeating, over-and-over, quick as you can… ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald.’ That’s a real tongue-twister!

‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ may be easier to pronounce, but repeating it, quickly… that’s something else, entirely. But hey, that’s just me. Why don’t you all, reading this column, weigh in on… why not call it, The Nickname Challenge?

Who’s the winner? The former president, and, for now, the leading GOP contender, in the 2024 presidential election, with his run-on, multi-letter DeSantis nickname?

Or me, with my alliterative Donald nickname?

‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ or ‘despotic, dyspeptic Donald?’

If I were to win, would Mr. Trump allege voter fraud? And demand a recount? Maybe many, an almost endless number of recounts?

Would he mount legal challenges, maybe all the way up to the Supreme Court?

And if, after attempting to undermine, and even delegitimize my victory, would he go even further? By declaring Martial Law? Or, even as a former president, would he seek to suspend the Constitution?

And would his followers, and team of lawyers, somehow, justify such extreme measures? All because of nicknames?

Hearing, in the news, justifications and spin, regarding the former president’s host of legal issues, you’ve got to wonder, even with something as fictitious and facetious as a Nickname Challenge, how far something like this might go.

‘Despotic, dyspeptic Donald.’ Keep that nickname in mind, as you’re deciding how you’ll vote.

And, in another, getting blunt:

HMPRESENTLY: To Be Blunt

Posted on August 9, 2023 by Harvey Radin

This urge to call ’em as I see ’em is kind of fascinating — and unusual for someone, whose career in PR seldom allowed much leeway, to call ’em as I saw ‘em… to speak bluntly, in other words…

Maybe it’s the times we’re living in, the current events, the angst, the divisiveness, the polarization, the culture wars, the hate-filled rhetoric, even bestiality, when, in the news, someone’s acting bestially.

All this, all together, might explain this urge to be more blunt than I’ve probably ever been.

Dissatisfaction with one thing and another often permeates political rhetoric. There’s so little joy.

Often, undermining, rather than enhancing and building, is just politics, as politicians might say. But it’s ironic, the guy whose business brand was centered on real estate and apparently building businesses, now, as the nation’s former president, wouldn’t mind a wrecking ball demolishing various systems and mores of government… like one, in particular that’s landed him in a heap of indictments, messing around with the nation’s traditional, peaceful transfer of power in presidential elections.

There’s always something to be dissatisfied about, with blemishes and imperfections in systems of government, but undermining and trashing things seems nonsensical, almost as much as acting like some kind of schoolyard bully, to be blunt.

One day, in his social media posts, or campaign rhetoric, former President Trump is referring to someone as “li’l”, (which is ‘little’ abbreviated) and on another day, he’s making “fun of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s weight at a rally in New Hampshire,” according to an article in Business insider.

“Christie, he’s eating right now, he can’t be bothered.” And Mr. Trump then seemingly “admonishing members of the audience” not to call Christie a ‘fat pig.’

To be blunt, that’s juvenile.

How old is former President Trump? Not old enough, apparently, to be much good with some of his insults.

And besides… have you seen pictures of his somewhat hefty torso, as he’s swinging a golf club?

(If I were to add a little something, being even more blunt, perhaps I’d be wondering… what’s his appeal, anyway?)

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Harvey Radin…

Image tweaker, guest articles and commentary writer… @hmpresently