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How Donald Trump Happened
It’s another of a thousand super Tuesdays. I’ve been in thickets of prose for months, at least since November, after taking on a politics assignment, which has put a pit of black and bubbling bile in my stomach, watching and reading with all the joyless, feverish intensity of an ape tugging at its member, and all I got from it was a conclusion I knew would happen and have watched, and it hurts after so many pages to only have this conclusion.
Trump is not in the process of winning. I am not writing that if x and y doesn’t happen Trump has won to rally Americans into a state of political froth. I’m not writing predictive science fiction liberal jack-off, proclaiming we’re going to be living in the England of V for Vendetta and intoning seriously that you should consider sending a molotov cocktail through window delivery to your latest government office while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Or crowing the return of real conservatism in America due to the fact Trump has won. I am stating something simple. Trump won.
How’s that feel?
Whether or not he starts 2017 in the White House, Trump won. He has made a ground-floor investment on the most fertile land going in America: whiners who believe in censoring college students who, in the full right of their life, liberty, and happiness, object to and criticize material but do not say “this shouldn’t be seen”, who believe a man who threatens to punch protesters is the best to lead this country, all while holding onto their Bill of Rights, only caring about one amendment and failing to see that a recurring violence in the face of protest is a deprivation of rights and anathema to the spirit of our country, who wonder what they’d do with their guns if all of a sudden the act of ownership was more like owning a car, who think the solution to ending terrorism is to deport all “undesirables”, that the costs financial and psychic of a flying saucer picking up every suspected illegal immigrant justify the sudden economic gain that we would experience in our wonderful new nativist state, without seeing that nativist states rarely have the booming economic effect one would hope. The way we proclaim Goldwater as the father of modern conservatism, Trump might be the next Goldwater for a candidate who is better at implementing his policies. After all, the best way to spot a genius is to seek the confederacy of dunces in his opposition, and sooner or later the dunces get tired, smart, or dead. As retrograde as his policies are, he found Schopenhauer’s target nobody can hit: make the jump from gaudy celebrity showmanship into politics on the big stage. While a case can be made for Schwarzenegger and Reagan, Trump’s remained a showman; a slippery and unorthodox southpaw with no fundamentals. He is not a statesman. He’s a celebrity auditioning for the biggest reality show in the world. And like Omarosa before him he will get called back by the very virtue of his demagoguery and antics.
It doesn’t matter that he’s not a politician. Pundits talk about electability like it’s something measurable. It’s really just how many people trust you to run a country. A lot of people trust Trump to run this country. You know who pundits thought was electable? Jeb Bush, who was last seen getting his name printed on a gun so he could murder an exclamation point in international waters. Pundits elect storylines and sequels and are as susceptible to remakes as Hollywood. Narratives keep their jobs. Pundits also want to be serious big-boy journalists, the pulse of a nation, but sound more like Jim Rosses screaming “BY GAWD, THAT RUBIO HAS A FAMILY.” People who support Trump don’t care what story-line he fits as long as he fits theirs. To quote Christa Wolf, “no lie is too obvious for the people to believe if it accommodates their secret wish to believe it.”
Which is why there’s something useless about these attempts to shoot his lying (blatant as it is) full of holes. The idea that he “says it like it is” has little to nothing to do with Trump himself and everything with what his supporters perceive him to be. Ask everybody what they would do if they were President and they’ll give you an answer. And, in line with Steinbeck’s assertion that the reason socialism never took hold in America is that everyone sees themselves as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire, they believe Trump will do what they would do. The same way a small cottage industry of memes sprang up in the wake claiming Bernie Sanders is at once an anime expert, a hardcore punk fan, and a robot fighter, and that Hillary Clinton fancies herself a fan but is only into the most plebian forms of those niche interests, we project ourselves onto candidates.
Which begs the question: why is everybody so surprised that a gritty reboot Richie Rich spouting racist opinions is a serious presidential candidate? Is it because he’s not a politician? Does anybody besides Aaron Sorkin’s deleted drafts taking corporeal form ever trust, let alone LIKE, even the nicest politicians? Trump’s proven that wet napkins that populate 24 hour news as irrelevant Van Heusen mannequins who spend their 30 days of life reading Freakonomics. This, by the way, is not something anybody with half a brain needed proven, but their Dean Wormer monocle fogging apoplexy has proven that as much as they decry college students, nobody is more sensitive than a pundit, even though they’ve created the monster as much as anybody by covering the monster’s incessant droppings. At any point they could have dropped the ridiculous idea of “neutrality” and called it what it is, but they didn’t. Sometimes neutrality is just a reason to keep the news going.
And to now trot across the other side of the aisle, Trump as threat has lead to more than one serious finger wagging intonation that you should vote for the Candidate That Is Going To Win, Not the Candidate You Want To Win. Liberal mainstays have turned into the sort of asshole who walks up to an optimistic kid who says he wants to be a pirate and says “Well, Brett, hope you like scurvy!” When politics becomes about voting for the most likely outcome instead of the one you want, you might as well handicap horses. Welcome to the only game in town. Vote for the change you want to see in twenty years, not the change you want to risk disappointment for. It’s better to get married than pine for unrequited love, even if you’ll be miserable the whole time. The fear of Trump has in essence strangled democracy to the point that it’s voting for two nameless forces, because you’re supposed to. It’s a realistic fear. But pragmatism demands you pour a cup of black coffee and box up your fantasies until you cheat on your wife instead of trying to make fantasies real.
It is unlikely Trump will win. He won’t command a minority vote or a woman vote. We are lucky that the fans of Trump are a smaller minority. But in less than two years, we’ve seen a political party fall apart, another one sow the seeds of its future destruction or continued mediocrity, the toothlessness of our current models of news, and now had to imagine Donald Trump’s dick, even for a second.
In the end, he made it about him. So did we.
#Real #Essay #DonaldTrump #Election2016
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