Why bother with this coverage of TRUMPs? American presidents come and go. On shows and in real life. True, but so far the two have been separate. Now nobody knows where the show ends and real life starts.
DonaldT’s swamp takeover is well on its way. We are all stuck in the mangrove. The swamp is starting to look eerily like an autocracy. Don’t take my word for it, read David Frum’s excellent article How to Build an Autocracy .
Frum sums it up better than I could: “By all early indications, the Trump presidency will corrode public integrity and the rule of law – and also do untold damage to American global leadership, the Western alliance, and democratic norms around the world.” This from a man who used to write speeches for another Republican president, George W.Bush.
Today the storylines of key presidential speeches are credited to Steve Bannon, DonaldT’s Chief Strategist. The same Bannon that, to hear The Daily Beast tell it, once boasted at a party : “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that is my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy today’s establishment.”
Some of this may have been just party talk, but the guy seems to be living up to his promises. Destroy is very much an operative word in DonaldT’s vocabulary these days. And Bannon’s role in TRUMPs keeps getting bigger and bigger.
DonaldT may be just an autocratic business owner, with clear narcissistic tendencies and a bad temper. He may have ended up as the head of state without knowing the difference between leading your own business and a country; or he may just believe in his own omnipotence.
But Bannon knows the difference between a company and a country. He is pushing for confusion and chaos, if his own words are to be believed. And getting it.
I hope you realise, DonaldT, that Bannon is not trying to make you look good. It looks like your role may well be to crash with the rest of the state. To take the blame.
I am not sure what Kellyanne is doing, but she is not doing you any favours either. First she spills your not-so-secret alternative facts strategy to the whole world. Then she gets caught with this non-existent Bowling Green massacre story.
I am told the producers are getting jittery. The shows ratings are still good, but some of the investors and advertisers are unhappy.
Will things settle down on TRUMPs? Do we want them to settle down? Does the mangrove sound inviting?
It can be for some. At least for DonaldT’s family and his key supporters. They have much to gain. As have those who make DonaldT look good in the public eye. The lucky recipients of DonaldT’s magnanimous, well-publicised gestures. Gestures paid by the taxpayers, not him.
DonaldT has his fans believing that no one is safe in the swamp. That crime will spiral out of control, jobs will be lost and terrorism will flourish without him. Even though crime rates have gone down and unemployment has decreased since 2008, and no proof exists of terrorism on US soil by citizens of any of the seven countries named in the Muslim ban.
The intimidation of opponents becomes more aggressive in each episode. Real and perceived enemies abound. As we know, DonaldT’s world is divided in two camps: lovers and haters. You either love him and his story, or you hate him, and by extension America. There is no in-between.
Does the show make you feel apprehensive? Do you get this sneaky feeling that your business will not thrive, your career will derail, you will be made a public scapegoat and laughingstock, or other bad things will happen to you, if you oppose DonaldT?
If you do, you should know that something has gone terribly wrong. This is not a feeling you should have in a healthy democracy.
It can all be done so subtly, in ways that look legal. And who will want to look into the legalities anyway? Who wants to end up like Sally Yates. Remember her? She played Acting Attorney General for a while, and was quickly fired for doing her job.
DonaldT’s true colours are finally emerging. He signed a directive to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act.
“That’s the 2010 law to rein in the reckless, deceptive and predatory financial practices that both caused and amplified the devastation of the Great Recession”, the New York Times sums up the act in its article titled “A Poison Pill for the Recovery”.
To sum it up in even simpler terms; it is all about making business easier for DonaldT and his friends. Who cares if it leads to a reenactment of the 2008 financial crisis. DonaldT and his friends will make sure their own assets are safe.
DonaldT made a big deal of separating himself from his business by setting up a trust. If you saw it, you still remember the table with all those document piles. Great staging.
Which is all it was, staging. The purpose of the trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefits” of DonaldT. The trustees are Donald Jr. and Trump Organization’s CFO. Their authority can be revoked any time by DonaldT. He also receives regular reports on profits and loss.
While we are on the topic of staging, do you remember DonaldT’s dream: TRUMPs, The Next Generation. It is a long way from happening, but he is working on it.
He has set his sights on ArnoldS, as you may have noticed. The act is not as impulsive as you might think. It is all to ensure that Ivanka can take her rightful place as the lead in The Apprentice, DonaldT’s personal stepping stone to the presidency.
We can expect to see more of this image building. The leak about how Ivanka and Jared helped stop the proposed executive order to scrap Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections was a nice touch. Unfortunately it later leaked out that DonaldT never planned to sign the order to begin with.
Ivanka’s trip to the Chinese embassy with her “Mandarin speaking” daughter made for nice publicity too. I am not a personal fan of having a five-year old kid act as mommy’s “translator” to create public interest, but if it works, it works.
Jared Kushner is still there, in the White House, fighting for power in the wings. It is not easy to be a rookie among seasoned political players and ruthless demagogues. Not only does he have to deal with all the other advisers, especially Bannon, but Pence is said to be running rings around him too. Although that may be a story leaked by Pence himself.
By the time DonaldT’s contract with TRUMPs expires – eight years from now, if DonaldT is to be believed; the producers say 2020 – Jared may have the necessary experience to go for the lead if Ivanka doesn’t. In theory. In practice the backstabbers will probably get to him long before that.
At the rate government is being disparaged and undermined, the producers may need a dark horse, or several, in 2020. Unless Bannon has got his wish, and the show has totally crashed by then.
You know what happens to shows, when the audience starts losing interest, don’t you? The storyline becomes crazier and crazier.
The same is true for the world all over. No need to look at war zones only. Look at Romania, Hungary, Britain, France, to name a few that have been in the headlines lately.
The world seems to be up for grabs for those ruthless enough to do so for purely self-serving reasons and with appalling disregard for the law.
There is no one to call. There are no innocent bystander roles. We can’t lose interest.