Thursday, March 3, 2016

Donald Drumpf: A Funny Label, but Is It Fair? - Note for a lecture, "Reinventing Oneself in America"

By DANIEL VICTOR MARCH 2, 2016, New York Times [original article contains link.]

Trump image from article

Would Donald Drumpf poll as well?

After a 22­-minute segment Sunday on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With
John Oliver,” many people learned that Donald J. Trump’s ancestors were
Drumpfs, not Trumps.

“Drumpf is much less magical,” Mr. Oliver noted, suggesting that Mr.
Trump’s opponents begin referring to him by the former family name. Soon
enough, the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain lit up social media. And on
Super Tuesday, “Donald Drumpf” was the second-­most searched candidate
name on Google, behind only “Donald Trump,” and ahead of “Marco Rubio”
and “Ted Cruz,” the senators who are two of Mr. Trump’s closest competitors
in the race.

With Mr. Trump’s sweeping victories on Tuesday, we surely have not seen
the last of the “Drumpf” meme. But even as his critics extend its popularity,
some fairness might be in order.

Despite mistaken impressions, Mr. Trump and his recent relatives had
nothing to do with the surname change.

Mr. Oliver himself was careful to refer to a “prescient ancestor.” Indeed,
several centuries have passed since Drumpf evolved into Trump, according to
Gwenda Blair, who wrote a biography of Mr. Trump and his family. The
Drumpf name appears in tax logs dating to about 1600, and the Trump name
first appeared among his ancestors in Germany later that century, she said.

By the time Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump, arrived in
New York in 1885 at age 16 with a single suitcase and dreams of wealth, Trump
was well­-established as the family name, Ms. Blair said. In 1892, Friedrich
Trump changed his name to Frederick Trump, a move toward Anglicization
that was common among immigrants who hoped to accelerate their
assimilation and fend off discrimination.

Immigrants in modern America, however, do not often change their
names anymore. In June 2010, only about a half dozen of 500 applications for
name changes in New York appeared to be Anglicizing their names, according
to a New York Times analysis.

Name changes do remain popular among entertainers. For example, Jon
Stewart, whose “Daily Show” is in some ways the parent of Mr. Oliver’s HBO
program, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. As Mr. Oliver noted, Donald
Trump once criticized Mr. Stewart for changing his name, tweeting that “he
should cherish his past — not run from it.”

And many politicians have also undergone name changes, notably two
presidents, Bill Clinton, who changed his name from William Jefferson Blythe
III, and Gerald Ford, who was born Leslie Lynch King Jr.

Mr. Trump’s potential opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton,
long held to her maiden name of Rodham, but she now campaigns without it.
Ms. Blair said the Trump name has been particularly valuable to his
brand; think of a “trump card” or a “trump hand” and you’re likely to think of
having the advantage in a card game.

“It’s hard to imagine a more fortunate name to have in business, and
particularly for someone whose only goal in life is to be a winner,” Ms. Blair

In her book, “The Trumps,” she wrote, “Whether Donald Trump could
have had the same success with any other name is an intriguing question.”

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