Holy Hannah. This next election is shaping up to be a zoo. We have Biden, a veritable zombie dependent on his ambient ventriloquists and more Adderall than Cornell in exam week. There is Kamala, so close to nonexistent that we could send her home and just keep her nameplate. . No one would notice. And then we have….
The man is an odd fish. He has the earmarks of a psychopath: glib, grandiose, risk-taker, arch manipulator, apparently lacking empathy. He is also the best pure political mechanic America has ever produced.
Think about it. He was almost unknown outside New York City except through a cheesy reality show on television. He had no governmental experience, no political backing. So he comes down the escalator and says he is running for President. Hoots of laughter from the usual suspects. He then campaigns against heated opposition of both parties, the media, and academia.
You can’t do this. It is impossible. You need a vast political machine. Endorsements. Testimonials from half-educated narcissists in Hollywood. That sort of thing. You can’t just decide to be President, as if it were something amusing to do on a slow afternoon–and do it. You just can’t.
And, ye gods and little catfish, he may do it again. Multiply indicted, facing possible jail time, censored on the web, savagely attacked by the ruling establishment–yet maintaining a massive following. It’s genius. Evil genius, you may say, but genius.
So how did he pull it off? The answer seems to me obvious, but when I try to explain it to my rabidly liberal friends in Washington, I can’t. They always grow heated and rave about how horrible Trump is. Yeah, yeah, I say, horrible, no doubt about it, yeah, just like Hitler, eats children, but don’t you see what happened? No, they don’t. Which is why they may do it again.
Here you have to understand Washington, where I slaved for many years in the salt mines of journalism. First, it is homogeneous. In the federal bubble, those in the media all think the same things with the slight exception, sometimes, of Fox News. They talk to each other, drink together, read each other. Everyone they know agrees with them, so they must be right, and aren’t they the hypersophisticated national press corps?
Further, Washington is comfortably secure. It doesn’t know or care that most of America is not. Federal employment, unlike true love, is forever. Lobbyists, K Street lawyers and so on live in mansions in Great Falls. They don’t have to choose between paying the cable bill and buying a new coat as winter comes. They don’t notice, or care, that many do. Unfortunately,they don’t have to worry that Congress might be off-shored to China, which Beijing would likely regard as an act of war. Might be worth a shot anyway.
Yet further, They are intensely snobbish without knowing it, not in person but in having a powerful sense of class superiority. Almost all are college grads, often with advanced degrees. They know important people, dine at elegant restaurants and don’t know anyone who can’t. Of the many I have known of the Washington well-off, I doubt that even one knew an enlisted soldier,or a guy who drove an eighteen-wheeler for a living, or a policeman or anyone who ran a down-scale bar–that is, anyone who would vote for Trump. Hillary caught this contempt perfectly, calling these low-order Americans deplorables.
Add that Washington is socially isolated, sometimes being described as a federal enclave surrounded on all four sides by reality. There is a lot of America out there in America. No matter how many times you eat at a posh Turkish restaurant on the Hill, you still don’t know how things are in Flint or Wheeling, even if you have dessert.
Which brings us back to Trump. He either read the country astutely, or made an inspired guess, He seems to have sensed the hatred–not too strong a word–of the geographic middle for the coastal elites whose policies have devastated Flyover Land.
Permit me a digression. Long ago, I worked for Soldier of Fortune magazine, started by Bob Brown and purporting to be a magazine for mercenary soldiers. The nicenesses in Washington and New York boiled over. They denounced it furiously. With every denunciation, circulation went up. It was free advertising that Bob couldn’t have bought with ten million dollars. The reason was that the targeted readers were Vietnam vets who for various reasons hated the smug bastards, as they saw them, who had run the war.
When the media rail against Donald, as they do nonstop, they are campaigning for him but are too stupid to figure it out. So great is the loathing of deplorables for Washington, and all of its friends and allies, and days and works, that they would vote for Jack the Ripper over any of the city’s candidates. Me, too.
But I wander. This is a column about incomprehension. On a recent trip to the Potomac playpen, I found the talking heads gloating, cackling, and swooning with joy over Trump’s indictment because, wow! this will end his electoral prospects. They were shocked, appalled, horrified and related participles when his numbers–went up!
This is a marvel. The inmates of America’s most political city don’t have a retarded gerbil’s understanding of the country they live in, and on. The Bidens are corrupt as three-day-old catfish in hot weather, and the media almost completely avoid noticing. They pile on Trump confirming everything the Deplorables think about the media. Trump’s numbers didn’t go up despite the indictments, but because of them.
Note that, before Trump, the Deplorables had no political representation. Republicans and Democrats, indistinguishable heads on a bicephalous body, prattled routine platitudes the Deplorables knew were empty air, but in a one-party state, what choice did they have?
No fools, they could see that none in Washington gave a starveling damn about things crucial to them. For example, the off-shoring of factories and the jobs that fed their families. Or the encouragement of massive immigration of people who would work for five dollars an hour while the Deplorables had mortgagees to feed. Or the overwhelming preference for wars over expenditure on the US. This latter, I promise, Trump will wield like a meat ax in the campaign, and what will Joe’s ventriloquists have him say?
Washington hasn’t figured this out or it would modify its cliche mix. The likes of MSNBC rail and rail and rail against Trump, talking to lawyer after lawyer, who all seem to know each other. Call Trump all the derogatory names you like. Many will be accurate. But he is the cause of the night horrors in Washington, a candidate not under control of the Two-Headed Monoparty. He might do any goddam thing, such as end the war. Do you know what that would do to share prices at Lockheed-Martin?
Anyway, like I say, the best pure political mechanic the country has produced.