The race for the White House tightens and the question increasingly arises — who’s to blame? How could a person as crude, self-obsessed, ill-prepared, and dishonest as Donald J. Trump be this close to assuming the awesome power and majesty of the American presidency?
Yes, there have been questionable characters before, weaklings and creeps, idiots and trimmers — Buchanan, and Harding and Nixon and W, but nothing like this no-nothing egomaniac, bloviating bigot, dissembling greed-head and moral midget.
It’s not like there isn’t plenty of evidence. David Cay Johnston has assembled a damning dossier making the case against Trump’s claim to business acumen in “The Making of Donald Trump.” Here are the lawsuits, the bankruptcies, the sealed court records, the bribery, perjury, crooked real estate deals, felonious partners and mob cronies. Year after year, deal after customer-and-tradesman-cheating deal.
“The Washington Post,” “The New Yorker,” and “The New York Times,” among others, have upheld the honor of the print media by actually investigating Trump’s record and his campaign mendacity, but the print press is so little read, in such precipitous decline that the atrocities they uncover barely make a ripple on the limpid, shallow pool of most voters consciousness.
If reading is too tough, there is a long suppressed (by Trump legal action) documentary, “Trump: What’s the Deal?” belatedly available on iTunes showing the long history of his chicanery and charlatanism. And then there’s the broadcast media. It contents itself with timid even-handedness rather than investigative rigor or whistle-blowing, sound bites and fury signifying ratings. The TV taste for bumper sticker size comment, and candidates providing video-worthy lurid claims and arm-waving theatrics favors a demagogue and clown like Trump over more sober, substantive candidates.
Of course, the Democratic Party is to blame for collaborating in the nomination of a standard bearer saddled with more baggage than a platoon of Pullman porters could handle. And, though Hillary may have many sterling qualities that Trump lacks, like knowledge, diligence, judgement and the ability to concentrate on a subject other than herself for longer than a nanosecond, she is short on essential campaign qualities like charisma,warmth, pithiness, sass, poetry and an instinct for the jugular. In other words everything a candidate needs in an age of dumbed down TV and tweets.
Still, nothing absolves the Republican voters of responsibility for entrusting their nomination to a boob and poltroon likely to blithely steer the ship of state over the edge of the flat earth if entrusted with the chance.
Sure Trump has captured the angry, the bigoted, the haters of minorities, immigrants, women, muslims, humanists, scientists, and technocrats, but that doesn’t get you to plurality. He’s also got working middle class people who think that since the world has changed someone should be blamed. They have bought the fiction that everyone is entitled to lifestyles of the rich and famous and expect Trump to deliver it. They think life has given them bum deal and they want to get even. And Trump is their golden ticket to prosperity.
This is the popular fiction of our day. We forget that most of our forebears grubbed in the dirt for food, worked like dogs in sweatshops and steel mills for a pittance without the benefit of union protection or government regulations. By comparison their heirs are living like kings with their cell phones and X-Boxes and maxed out credit cards.
Instead of blaming Chinese, Mexicans, Wall Street, the government, welfare queens and all the other Trumpian scapegoats for their supposed hard times they ought to be doing what their ancestors had to do — live frugally, relocate to find better opportunities, go back to school and make sure their kids excel at math and science and readin’ and writin’ so they can improve their lot and adapt to changing times that no longer reward sweat.
Have we all forgotten, as my grandmother said, life is real, life is earnest. The beloved capitalist economy is a brutal dog-eat-dog competition and help is not on the way, especially if you vote Republican. It thrives on creative destruction and old livelihoods have been destroyed. Get on with finding a new one or you’ll sink like a stone.
Minorities who know all about hard times also know that in the hands of a feckless, reckless president who appeals to white supremacists and admires brutal thugs like Putin the hard times are likely to get a lot harder
Worst of all may be the pampered millennials who are about to put idealism ahead of pragmatism. That never ends well. Some say they may not bother to vote since the choice is too repugnant for their delicate sensibilities. Others are still mourning the Bern. Others are thinking of squandering a vote on a hopeless Green or Libertarian fantasy. Some are even entranced with the notion that Trump, for all his warts and poxes, will actually usher in big changes and clean the Aegean stables of Washington.
Wise Up! The inside the beltway crowd, the Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s and K Street cowboys will makeTrump their lackey within a week of the inauguration since they know how he place works and he hasn’t a clue. Besides, behind the fake gold facade and glittering promises of Trump is a lifelong record of lying, cheating, scheming and corruption that makes the average crooked pol look like Mary Poppins. The choice is flawed Hillary or the Tiberius in the Tower.