HOW THE MEDIA PLAYED THE FOIL TO TRUMP’S “HEEL” CHARACTER. This article by Elspeth Reeve on the New Republic site in August, 2015 (after the first Republican Presidential debate) shows how the media—and I— misunderstood what role Trump was playing. As described by Reeve, the first question at the debate was “perfectly crafted for Donald Trump. Moderator Bret Baier asked the candidates if anyone would raise their hand if they would not pledge to support the GOP nominee, whoever it may be, and not run as an independent candidate. The debate audience was like, Ooooh shit just got real. Trump raised his hand. Huge boos.”
I think that the moderator’s first question was intended to be a “tough’ question, to make each candidate make a commitment for the future or to use conditional language that would make the candidate look bad. Instead it was, for Trump, a perfect opportunity to stake out the character he was going to play—“the heel”.
The “heel” character is well established in professional wrestling. (The good guy in wrestling is known as “the face”.)