“Beware of false prophets, which comes to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they’re ravening wolves.” Mathew 7:15
Donald Trump isn’t particularly worried about this election. He should be, but he isn’t. He’s done the job he set out to do. There were glitches, and people saying he was a disaster, but so what? He never ran for office expecting to do anything. Like every politician in Washington with a keen sense of self preservation, the more you say, the less you have to accomplish.
Maybe he learned this from his mentor and fixer, Roy Cohn, the right hand to Joseph McCarthy during the sad and desperate Anti-American Trials of the 50s. Trump used to call Cohn 15 to 20 times a day, asking for guidance. It would eventually form his book, The Art of The Deal. Cohn was the deal. He didn’t negotiate, he threw up enough lies and threats, making it hard to know what was menace and what was meaningful menace.
Between the two, they created a new form of presidency: The Scam.
Not even Trump believed The Scam would work at first. Beauty pageants, sure, television shows, absolutely. But politics — and heavy high-end politics at that — it isn’t like Sunday night programming. You can’t move from eight o’clock to ten o’clock and find your audience. That’s the biggest frustration Trump faced with the networks. He wanted placement, not editorial.
He offered the truth, wrapped in conspiracy. And didn’t this blue-eyed billionaire know a con when he saw one?
When he didn’t get it, he declared the networks all fake. He offered the truth instead, wrapped in conspiracy. And didn’t this blue-eyed billionaire know a con when he saw one? The Iranian Nuclear Deal was a con. Obamacare was a con. In backwater towns all over the United States, this made a lot of sense.
Conspiracy explained everything, especially why America didn’t feel like America anymore. Trump knew the real reason, even if they didn’t. It was those socialists trying to turn the country into a respectable place to live.
Yet throwing out “socialism” did seem strangely prescient, perhaps a throwback to Cohn and his Anti-American days. Sure, it destroyed lives, and even Eisenhower called it “a load of crap.” But a threat is a threat, and Americans like to nip these things in the bud.
So the usual suspects were trotted out, the migrant workers and single moms living in the projects. Take a walk outside of El Paso or through Bedford-Stuyvesant. Those unwelcome slackers were draining the country dry. Better to chase them back where they came from, even if they were naturalized citizens.
There’s a meme that says, “Trump didn’t create racists, he just brought them out in the open.” Well, they weren’t exactly hiding. If anything, Trump brought them together, with one shared, supposedly, noble goal: freedom.
Every American, even the Proud Boy wearing four guns to a 711, has the right to do what they want, including attending events maskless in the midst of a pandemic. So far, it’s claimed over 235,000 lives. Yet numbers and logic don’t matter, and anyone who says they do ignores how this country works.
We accept the highest rate of murders in the world (outside of war zones), because guns symbolize freedom. Take that right away and what have you got? Socialism, that’s what. Pretty soon, you’ve got millions sucking away at the government’s teat, all so the rest of us can’t buy a new snowmobile or Seadoo. What kind of freedom is that?
No wonder Trump put the hammer down, telling his faithful it wasn’t gonna happen. He knew the enemy, and he could summarize what they were—and who they were—in simplified phrases nobody could misconstrue.
Shouldn’t hospital beds be taken up by Americans with real conditions like atherosclerotic plaque and liver disease, not some Chinese virus caused by eating household pets?
The blame rested squarely with left-wing extremists, the news media, and Dr. Fauci — especially Fauci with all his doom and gloom. Even if the coronavirus wasn’t a hoax, did America really need those people crowding our hospitals with a foreign disease? Shouldn’t hospital beds be taken up by Americans with real conditions like atherosclerotic plaque and liver disease, not some Chinese virus caused by eating household pets?
And those do-gooder socialists, telling the NRA to get off their high horses, well, hell, why don’t socialists get off their high horses? Go back to Vermont, and take Medicare and Roe vs. Wade with you.
That’s the beauty of The Scam. It all boiled down to personal needs, not ideology. Focus on jobs, and lots of gas, ’cause extended bed trucks can’t run on anything less than ten gallons a day, and if you don’t like the noise, you probably don’t like shotguns on racks in the back, either.
At a recent rally in Michigan, Trump said he’d fire Dr. Fauci if he won the election — and probably Attorney General, William Barr. People chanted, they dropped their masks. What a wonderful world it would be without moralists and goody-two-shoes obeying the rule of law.
Everyone understood the implication: Might makes right, the bigger your rig, the more paint you take off the car next to you.
It made his followers bold enough to take to the streets, blocking Biden’s tour bus on the way to Austin. When Trump took to Twitter, saying “I love Texas,” his followers loved Texas, too. Everyone understood the implication: Might makes right, the bigger your rig, the more paint you take off the car next to you.
Americans love Wild West scenarios. Forget Kamala Harris mentioning John Lewis, how he bled for the end of racism. Get the trucks out on the road, get the loyalists to the voting areas. Intimidation works if there’s enough of you. Otherwise, you look like a streaker in an empty stadium. Trump knows the difference and stirs the pot. “There’s more of us than them,” he said, and people — ignoring the polls — got all hyped.
Today is election day, and Trump feels good about it. He should feel good about it. For three and a half glorious years, Republicans got to open their doors, and shout out things nobody else would say in civilized society.
When Trump threatens to ignore the results if he loses, the crowds cheer. Why not? What did laws and convention ever do for them?
They became ugly and sour, a sure sign The Scam was working. When Trump threatened to ignore the results if he lost, the crowds cheered. Why not? What did laws and convention ever do for them?
And so what if Trump has a new fence around the White House? Walls and fences have their place. If Trump is worried about angry mobs tearing him to shreds in the aftermath of an election, hell, let’s get our guns and head for Pennsylvania Avenue. Let’s settle this thing once and for all.
They’ll calm down eventually, as Republicans do after a certain amount of invective and blood boiling. Until then, Trump loves their combative nature. He might even believe they’ll come to his defence when he’s ushered out of the White House.
“I love dumb Americans,” he’ll say from the second floor balcony. He has his visions. A bit too corny, perhaps, but the ratings will be good, and Trump loves ratings. If he wins, he’ll especially appreciate the headlines “You’re Fired,” as he pink-slips people who doubted his authenticity and purpose.
And let’s not forget the ghost of Roy Cohn. Asked if he regretted his part in the Anti-American hearings, he replied, “I never apologize.”
Except Cohn also said, “Never make a threat you can’t fulfill.” Trump has threatened a lot these past few weeks.
Let’s see if Trump follows his lead, as he has so often through the course of his career and presidency. Except Cohn also said, “Never make a threat you can’t fulfill.” Trump has threatened a lot these past few weeks, mostly unfulfilled and usually illogical. Will he reject the election results? Will he line up the scapegoats? Will he even think about leaving with any dignity intact?
He doesn’t have Cohn anymore. When he used to become frustrated with someone in business, he’d pull out a photograph of Cohn and say, “Would you rather deal with him?” That won’t work this time. He’s on his own.
As he’ll find out tonight, he’s relying on the people he once called “stupid.” Let’s see if they still need him as much as he needs them. Let’s see if they’ll believe The Scam a second time around.
Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist, and former advertising copywriter. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.