What could Trump make great?

12:42 pm on 21 January 2017

David Cohen*

Donald Trump won office with a promise to "make America great again" and repeated the pledge at today's inauguration. But will he deliver?

President Donald Trump salutes during the inauguration parade.

President Donald Trump salutes during the inauguration parade. Photo: AFP

As the pundits continue to haggle over the finer details of what is his central pledge, a quick recap seems in order for some of the things Mr Trump has already made great again - not only for his fellow Americans but also for observers in far-flung New Zealand.

Making social media great again

Last month, the president-elect caused a bit of a stir when he accused China of nicking a US navy drone in what he wrote was an "unpresidented" act.

Oh, how the critics chortled over his apparent howler.

Here was the future commander-in-chief of the world's mightiest armed forces, the man with nuclear football codes soon to be at his disposal, and he didn't even know how to spell "unprecedented".

But all this mirth rather overlooked an important point. The reason why no previous American leader-in-waiting ever revealed himself to be so orthographically challenged - not even Thomas Jefferson, assuming Twitter had been a fact of life back in 1809 - is because until now most of them have relied on spin doctors to apply their soothing linguistic ointment to every communication.

Rather than laughing at his mistakes, we should be celebrating the 'unpresidented' connection the new president has already forged with social media users.

The tweet was deleted and replaced with one in which 'unprecedented' was spelled correctly - but not before it was screen-capped by the entire internet.

The tweet was deleted and replaced with one in which 'unprecedented' was spelled correctly - but not before it was screen-capped by the entire internet. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter

Making the WWE great again

Though historians may differ on the precise dates, few experts dispute that the glory era of what we now call the WWE was in the late 1980s, when Superstars Of Wrestling was a must-watch on local television.

It was the time of such epic grapplers as Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, along with the forever pouting Miss Elizabeth, 'Scary' Sherri Martel and Brother Love - and then, sadly, the sport went into what some said was its terminal decline.

It fell to one man to make the WWE great again - and this he did by bravely putting his orange hair on the line in a classic match against Vince McMahon.

WWE chairman Vince McMahon has his head shaved by Donald Trump after losing a bet in the Battle of the Billionaires at Wrestlemania in 2007.

WWE chairman Vince McMahon has his head shaved by Donald Trump after losing a bet in the Battle of the Billionaires at Wrestlemania in 2007. Photo: AFP

Making democracy great again

A vote for Trump is a vote for the end of democracy - or so some critics darkly hinted in the run-up to the November election.

Two months on, though, the republic still seems to be in fairly good democratic shape - no goose-stepping parades along Connecticut Avenue, no labour camps in Alaska, and no edicts banning Saturday Night Live. Not yet anyway. Fingers crossed.

A week of protests has been organised in the run-up to Donald Trump's inauguration on 20 January.

Photo: AFP

Making New Zealand election years great again

Heaven help the local political leader who hasn't been paying keen attention to the ascension of Donald Trump, for there are lessons aplenty in it for all of our guys.

For those on the left who don't like international free-trade deals and foreign wars, there's an obvious lesson in Mr Trump's success in campaigning against the same.

Obviously, Andrew Little can take heart in the example of a candidate who shows the pollsters to be utterly wrong, and Bill English can draw on the same lesson if people start talking about what happened - or rather what didn't - back in 2002.

For Peter Dunne, who will shortly be celebrating his hundredth year in coalition with one or other of the major parties, Mr Trump's victory underscores an even great truth: haircuts matter.

And Winston Peters? Well, as one online wit has already suggested, this is the ultimate cue to make New Zealand First great again by campaigning for China to build a wall surrounding its territory to keep the property speculators in - and insisting on getting the Chinese to pay for it.

United Future Leader, Peter Dunne.

For Peter Dunne, the bouffant never stopped being great. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

*David Cohen is a Wellington-based journalist and commentator.

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