The Trump Presidency Enters Its Endgame.
Donald Trump’s real goal as president becomes more clear with each passing day. All he wants is for the rest of us to “Do your jobs!” Political organizations, mainstream media outlets, and a majority of the general public have been failing this nation increasingly for decades. Trump just sees himself as the defibrillator shock to the body politic that will get it to wake up and do what it’s supposed to.
In August 2015, we published an endorsement of Donald Trump for president. Right before the election we called Trump a genius, based on everything he’d accomplished to that point while completely throwing out the accepted playbook. Without going over everything again (go to our opinion category and read the previous articles), our analysis concluded if anyone could cut through Washington paralysis and accomplish significant progress, it was Trump. It was assumed the—often hilarious—craziness that characterized the campaign would be exchanged for a sober determination to get down to serious work at exactly 12:00pm on January 20th.
He had demonstrated a long track record of successes and big accomplishments with his own company. But it’s a certainty he did not achieve those successes by employing the same bull-in-a-china-shop methods he’s been using since he became president. In fact, the pro-wrestling hysterics that Trump mastered during the campaign have continued with not so much as a hiccup. It’s become clear Trump’s intention is not to lead us out of the wilderness, but rather to continue wallowing in it.
We’ve quoted Don King who said “Trump is not a divider; he’s an exposer.” During the campaign Trump hatched out all the poisons that lurked in the political mud of America. With glee, he pulled out and shoved under our noses all the culture’s dirty laundry. But this ironic exposing has continued unimpeded. Except now that he has the power of the presidency, such activities don’t merely reveal social disorders, they create real-life suffering and consequences. Trump shows not a single hint of altering this approach, and some fear the worst.
Many have compared Trump and his associates to Hitler and the Nazis. Such comparisons, of course, are highly overused. As German chancellor Angela Merkel recently had to point out to Turkish president Erdogan, calling someone a Nazi trivializes the actual crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis. But sometimes a comparison might be apt if considering certain elements. For instance, Adolf Hitler was not a military leader who seized power in a coup. He was a skilled politician who rose to power through a democratic system. Appealing directly to both the aspirations and paranoias of the citizenry, he accused the current government—the Weimar Republic—of being weak and ineffectual, particularly in the face of unfair treatment by foreign countries. He promised to return Germany to its former greatness, to reverse the influence of non-Germans within its borders, and painted intellectuals and journalists as liars. This campaign allowed Hitler to build popular support, though not a majority, but enough to get within range to take advantage of a quirk in the electoral system that would put him over the top. Sound familiar?
But here is where the similarity with Donald Trump ends. Just because someone uses the political tactics Hitler used in order to get into power, it does not necessarily make them Hitler in practice. It was a textbook political approach that most Republicans and a few Democrats have been using a light version of for decades. That Trump put the method on a quintuple dose of steroids and blasted it out of the shadows for everyone to see does not make him the only one to have used it in American politics. In fact, we are kidding ourselves if we look at Trump as an anomaly, that everything will be alright once he goes away.
From the day Donald Trump descended his escalator into the presidential campaign we knew exactly what he was up to. So our endorsement was based on everything that had happened prior to that day. For 15 years before becoming ruler of Germany, Adolf Hitler was screaming about the Jews, how war was good for men and built their character, and about the Jews some more. In other words, everything he eventually ended up doing. From the day World War I ended, Hitler dedicated his life to the dream of getting rid of Jews and seeing the German military kick ass on Europe. This was his sole occupation. So anyone who endorsed this guy by 1933 could not say they didn’t know his intentions.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, was a real-estate developer for over 40 years before he finally ran for president. He didn’t make political statements often, and when he did they were a mishmash of liberal and conservative views that changed almost with the weather. His main focus was his business ventures, which he was very good at. At a young age he became skilled at cutting through obstacles and accomplishing big projects at prime locations in major cities around the world. So it was Trump’s obvious acumen as a successful manager of major projects that we based our endorsement upon. That and the fact that he was also so damn entertaining. “Let us get this straight,” we said. “We get a president who can knock heads in Washington and get things done, and he’s as funny as Don Rickles? Sign us up!”
The reason for our endorsement—as well as many Trump voters’ votes—was the belief that he would bring competent management to the national government. When George Washington became our first president, this was his overarching goal. He wanted to show he could be a skilled and competent manager who made the government work as advertised, and that this would set the template for future presidents. Before the Revolution, George Washington himself had been one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country, a skilled manager of big projects. It was thought Trump would follow in these footsteps. It turned out he had other ideas. We always knew to measure Trump by results and not by the surface craziness. But the only results nearly four months in seem to be incompetence and turmoil. Trump the performance artist continues. In fact, he is the Andy Kaufman of presidents. And any minute the audience is going to become so frustrated and outraged, he will have to be escorted off stage with security protection.
How did we get here? Trump buddy Howard Stern recently theorized that he never expected to actually win the presidency. But he was carried along by a strong sentiment surging through the country—as well as Hillary Clinton’s unrelenting inability to connect with voters—and now he’s mad he won. He entered a political culture that was compromised to its gills. Along the way, he and his followers pointed out the very real, deep-seated failures of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. And it is these failures that will lead to an ultimate collapse of the country, not anything Donald Trump is doing. If the Democrats and media were doing their jobs properly, Trump would still be on Celebrity Apprentice firing washed up singers and actors.
As a highly skilled businessman Trump knows how to take advantage of weakness and dishonesty, and American politics offers an ocean of both. The Republican Party is essentially a crime organization, which is why Trump chose to run under its banner. He’s been dealing with the Mafia in New York and Atlantic City for decades; he knows his way around these types. And this is also why those Republicans, such as John McCain and the Bush family, who like to pretend that it isn’t a crime organization “doth protest too much,” while most Republicans fall in line or remain silent.
Most Democrats, on the other hand, are just your garden variety corrupt politicians, in it for the perks and power trips, but who—on their coffee break with nothing better to do—will occasionally do something good for the country. So it was no trick for Trump to find something legitimate to attack Democrats on. He was correct, for example, in pointing out how they pay much lip service to fixing the problems of inner cities, get votes as the lesser of two evils, but then do nothing.
Finally, the mainstream media is crippled and compromised by its addiction to money and access to power. A common complaint you hear is that most of them are “left wing.” Of course they are. People whose job it is to thoroughly investigate and analyze facts will come down on the left-wing side a majority of the time. The problem is that left-wing vs right-wing conflict creates better ratings and, therefore, more money, leaving the mere collection and analysis of facts as a secondary consideration to “balancing” both sides.
Put all of this together and what you’ve got is King Kong stomping through the hinterlands in plain sight on his way to the capital while the groups that are supposed to be our watchdogs and protectors are too busy making deals with each other. This is our current condition, which the Trump campaign, again, correctly pointed out and took advantage of. But instead of trying to fix the condition once he got into power, Trump has continued as the exposer-in-chief. He’s continued to shove to worst of America into our faces, challenging politicians, news media, and the general public to “Do your job!”
So it’s a boss battle he wants; it’s a boss battle he’ll get. His impeachment will make the Clinton impeachment look like middle-school play night—no doubt he’ll go down into the well of the Senate and defend himself. It will have higher ratings than the Super Bowl, which is something he’ll tout every chance he gets for the rest of his life. In the end, the Trump presidency will go down as, by far, the most bizarre footnote in the history of America. But political parties, the news media, and the public in general will come out the other end better and smarter because of it.