We’re conflicted about the #TrumpSoPoor jokes that have taken over Twitter the past day. Making fun of poor people is never funny. Hitting Donald Trump where it hurts is always funny, though, and what hurts this guy more than pointing out how his projected image of wealth, popularity and success is often full of bullshit? The point with #TrumpSoPoor isn’t to punch down, but to punch up at Trump and his ridiculous self-image of classless, cartoonish wealth.
So Trump’s campaign is a little broke. It started June with under $1.3 million on hand, almost $41 million less than Hillary Clinton’s war chest. Donations aren’t rolling in to the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign, perhaps because the candidate reportedly refuses to call big money donors himself. Over the course of his campaign Trump has pumped in almost three times as much of his own money as it’s received in contributions. Maybe that’s why Trump hasn’t pivoted to the center and still fills his speeches with controversial, petty, divisive, and, yes, assholish statements: his campaign might not have money to buy ads, so he has to do whatever he can to get attention on the cheap.
When this news broke yesterday, it inspired a still-ongoing wave of #TrumpSoPoor jokes on Twitter. And yes, again, it’s wrong and mean and not funny to mock the poor. Many of the #TrumpSoPoor jokes aren’t funny for that very reason. Also, pointing and laughing at the Trump campaign’s lack of money might be counterproductive for Hillary Clinton supporters, since two of the major knocks against her are her closeness to Wall Street and wealthy donors, and how she seems unrelatable and distant to some voters. We recognize that there are problems with these dumb internet jokes.
BUT! The one trick that has always worked against Trump is highlighting how he’s not as rich or successful as he likes to portray himself. Using #TrumpSoPoor to mock Trump himself, to poke him at his weakest spot, can be funny. Or using it to mock the people gleefully tweeting out jokes with the #TrumpSoPoor hashtag, or to mock the entire concept of hashtag jokes like this one, is totally appropriate. Those are the kinds of tweets we tried to pick out here.
Comedy can be good. Let’s agree on that.
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