Good news, the populist plutocrat, Donald Trump, is running for president so all the troubles facing the country will soon be a thing of the past. The Donald tells us so. God knows, the time is ripe for a populist candidate on the order of Huey Long or Ross Perot since intractable problems need simple solutions.
Lower and middle class voters are being subjected to a beating. Globalization has put an end to a golden age of good jobs at good wages that put a middle class lifestyle in reach for millions. Now wages are stagnant, factory jobs are outsourced or robotized, a high school education has little value and a college degree is less a ticket to upward mobility than to lifelong debt.
Entitlements for seniors may soon be on the chopping block and possibly even defense spending because squeezed wage earners want lower taxes and less debt. Another result of hard times has been crumbling infrastructure that makes the country resemble a Warsaw bloc backwater. Climate change threatens our food and water supply, may cause unprecedented global migrations, disrupt economies and alter disease patterns. As antibiotics cease to work, ten million deaths a year are predicted as even simple operations, infections or injuries turn deadly.
Our borders aren’t safe. Terrorism is rampant. No one trusts government to do anything but bicker and grandstand. We seem to be heading for a “Hunger Games,” have vs. have-nots dystopia. And that’s the optimistic view. The pessimists are expecting “Mad Max.” Centrist candidates wring their hands timidly and recycle the worn-out talking points of Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. No one dares to offer the unpopular, hard measures needed to confront hard problems.
That opens the door to populist demagogues, charlatans, and moralists who promise easy fixes, pander to some voters and demonize the rest of the electorate. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee are selling moral rearmament. Becoming less sinful is the cure for what ails us. Rand Paul takes the libertarian isolationist tack. Government is too big. Really! Ted Cruz and Rick Perry are pitching versions of Texas swagger where all ills can be addressed by machismo.
Marco Rubio and Scott Walker are selling the usual Reaganesque economic nostrum. Less government, less taxes, more defense spending and wait for the table scraps of the rich to trickle down. Democrats by and large are talking their own plain vanilla version of populism, rob from the rich, give to the poor, redistribute a shrinking pie.
And then there’s the author of “The Art of the Deal,” the Emperor of Egomania. Trump is smarter than everyone else, so he can solve our problems easily. After all he was smart enough to be born into money and to attend Wharton. Other politicians are too stupid to fix what’s broken, but he’s all can-do. He’s a businessman who’s only filed for bankruptcy four times. That’s knowhow. He’s already got a deal in the works to fix La Guardia.
Immigration a problem? He’ll build a big wall at cut-rate prices and get the Mexicans to pay for it. They owe us for sending all their inferior people here — drug addicts and rapists. That’s the kind of talk that ought to attract Hispanic voters to the GOP. An enterprising reporter would look into how many ill-paid and illegal immigrants keep the Trump Empire running every day. Kitchen help, groundskeepers.
Threats from overseas? He’s the guy who wrote the book on negotiating deals, so just let him at Putin, the Ayatollahs and ISIS. He’ll make them a heck of a deal. Iraq, for example, is one giant sand trap just waiting for a Trump golf resort. Isis has oil to finance its aggression thanks to the fecklessness of politicians. “When we left Iraq, I said we should have taken the oil.” Good plan. Last man out, take the oil.
Climate change? It’s a hoax “created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” How’s he know? Because it’s really snowed a lot lately in New York. Jobs? “I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created.” Presumably if he isn’t, blame God.
Trade? “Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people” Don’t worry though, when Trump gets involved, trade deals will favor us. “I beat China all the time.” Health care? He’s for repealing Obamacare and making insurance companies compete. Competition is good. As to gay marriage, it’s like “these really long putters, very unattractive. It’s weird… I hate it. I am a traditionalist.” He’s for heterosexual marriage. Several of them. Ivana, Marla, Melania. It’s like a whole bag of clubs. Classy.
As to his qualifications to be president, he’s got a TV show, he wrote a bestseller, and he’s not like politicians who are “stupid, ”“morally corrupt,”“ losers No, no, he’s smart and rich, and rich people produce “the kind of thinking this country needs”. And he’s mean too, which is good. “People are tired of these nice people.”
Why? Because right now, “sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” And with gold faucets in every bathroom. Who could resist? You want to be a loser with cheapo bathroom fixtures?