Dr. Dawg

The Impenetrable Genius of Donald J. Trump

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[(A guest blogpost by my slightly right-of-centre friend Peter. Enjoy. Discuss. ~DD)]

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Nobody really likes him. At least, nobody will publicly defend his character and integrity. He has no discernible political principles. He is a vainglorious boaster and moral alley-cat who gives new meaning to the word unpresidential in a country where presidents are expected to reflect what is noble in the national character. He tweets like a high school student and his specialty is the personal insult, often cruel and demeaning. His personal life is a trail of tasteless excess, financial shenanigans and piggish behaviour towards women. His administration is said to mirror his temperament—erratic, cutthroat and fractious. He makes a mockery of anyone who believes government is a sober matter best served by leaders of honesty and rectitude.

Yet this flawed and vulgar man who no one would choose as a neighbour has proven repeatedly he can better anyone who tries to go full-frontal by attacking him personally as unsuitable for office, high or low. Coming from nowhere with no discernible financial backing and a base seemingly restricted to his family, he won the GOP primary and dethroned a major dynasty, despite being dismissed widely as a joke. Career Republicans who prided themselves as principled and who openly disdained Trump were swept away by angry crowds who cared little for their blessed “conservative values” and loudly expressed their deep alienation from mainstream politics and politicians. Then, as everyone continued to mock and dismiss him, Trump confounded the establishment, the media and indeed the world by winning the general election and destroying another dynasty.

For a few short weeks, some thoughtful progressives called for serious soul-searching about how the Democrats lost the support of so many they believed they had always championed, but while individuals can sometimes repent and reform, masses rarely can. A stunned and wounded incomprehension soon morphed into a burning, visceral rage and a collective determination to dethrone this illegitimate pretender by any means available. Forget “reaching out” to anyone, those who voted for him were summarily condemned and ostracized as no less morally stained then he. Efforts to force a recount, challenge the election in court or have the president declared mentally incompetent were initiated, only to be stillborn. Shrill efforts to pin labels like fascist, racist or other “-ists” on him went nowhere as frustrated progressives were forced to confront a truth about the sui generis Trump: the earthy language of the sports bar is a more empirically accurate and persuasive description of his character than the formal categories of political theory or the DSM. Finally, progressives settled on the charge he was willingly aided and abetted by a hostile Russia. For two years, with daily high-profile assistance from a reckless and shamelessly biased media, half of America talked of little else and prayed each night their president would be revealed to be a foreign spy.

So knee-jerk and emotional was the antipathy that much of progressive America, unwittingly or not, began to let Trump set their policies and positions on the grounds that he was so irredeemably appalling that anything he said or did had to be opposed. Thus, when he at least temporarily diffused a dangerous nuclear threat by reaching out to North Korea, many progressives sniffed he was compromising human rights. Russo-phobia on the left reached McCarthyite levels of paranoia. Trump’s border wall proposal was seen as so politically and aesthetically offensive that many Dems began talking as if immigration and border enforcement should be dispensed with entirely. Most bewildering of all was to watch so many soi-disant progressives champion the FBI and CIA as bulwarks against tyranny. Trump Derangement Syndrome even infected cultural life. Under his watch, the public face of feminism shifted from talented, capable women proudly asserting their professional and sexual equality to prissy-toned figures penning tweets and op-eds on how they were made uncomfortable, if not traumatized, by unwelcome knee or shoulder-touching years ago. Hollywood talk shows compulsively delivered nightly menus of insipid Trump jokes.

A shrewd adviser hired by the Democrats to craft a winning platform and strategy for 2020 could complete the task in half a day. Run on universal healthcare, student debt and tuition relief, higher taxes on the wealthy and their wealth, serious investment in infrastructure and issues like prison reform and opiate addiction. Polls show they are on the right side of all those issues and would sail to victory on such a programme. If they succeeded in implementing it, their tenure would be remembered as transformative. Avoid wild promises about canceling a trillion dollars of debt with the stroke of a pen or abolishing hydrocarbons (deplorable is not a synonym for stupid), don’t call the electorate names, don’t talk as if money is no object, don’t describe American history as a long series of outrages, and don’t paint the federal government as everybody’s best friend. But above all, don’t talk about Donald Trump. Don’t criticize him personally. Don’t respond to his taunts and tweets. Don’t promise to put him in prison. Don’t speak of him as if he were an Antichrist who threatens all that is good and decent in America. If you must refer to him, talk as if he were one those those inexplicable, irksome little quirks history occasionally throws our way. In other words, act like he’s a nobody not worth your time or the attention of any serious person.

Sadly for the Dems, the odds against their doing this are long. This is partly because, as the GOP discovered in 2016, the interminable and completely irrational primary system will force candidates to engage in internecine battles that risk collective self-immolation and to curry favour with an agitated base by declaring support for positions on the wrong side of public opinion. Willing or not, they will be pressured to prove their purity by declaring for unpopular causes like reparations for slavery, a one-eighty on Israel, purist environmental fantasies, open borders and matters of great importance on the fringes of identity politics advocacy. Win the battle, lose the war. But the principal Achilles Heel is that they will not be allowed to ignore Donald Trump. Blood is demanded and blood must be had. Like the old time Protestant pastor who never speaks of the serenity and spiritual succour his faith promises because he is so obsessed with the sin that he sees all around him, the Dems will forgo many an opportunity to preach inspiring visions in order to vilify Trump and vow to bring him down to an inglorious end.

By all rights, the Mueller Report should have ended the controversy and left progressives humbled and the media contrite, but it is already clear they aren’t going to miss a beat. They are doubling down and intend to continue to give America a daily mega-dose of Trump horror stories. Like lawyers who sense they are losing a trial, they will point with increasing desperation to ambiguities and evidentiary gaps and insist their case would be proven righteous if only the “whole truth” were revealed and everyone on the other side disbelieved. This will no doubt be a soothing soul salve for anyone who wouldn’t vote for Trump to save their mother, but it may do little to sway waverers who don’t necessarily believe that to be a progressive Democrat is by definition to sing with the angels. Moreover, it may prove to be like administering oxygen to a dying patient for one who rode many a path to triumph by winning street fights against fools determined to scorn, humiliate and destroy him.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 2, 2019 9:38 AM.

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