Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Donald Trump: This is how a superpower declines
Donald Trump always seem to me a hollow personality. Vain, shallow, volatile,vindictive, narcissistic,immoral, greedy and gauche. I remember way back in 2011 when Donald Trump first toyed with the idea of running for president on the Republican and actually had higher favorability ratings even more than Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich- the most viable candidates for that high office , I wondered if conservatives had actually lost their mind ala liberals on George W Bush circa 2003-2004 and indulged the crackpot hysterics of Michael Moore and Howard Dean thus ensuring that they would lose that election.As suspected despite Trump having not gone through with the notion at the time-he actually claimed that he was committed to his TV show to run for the most powerful office in the land, it showed that the so called conservatives were deranged enough that they couldn't think straight and hence ended up losing to Obama in 2012.
This time around, he actually followed through on his threat to terrifying results. He is now the presumptive nominee for the GOP ticket after beating out the closest contender , the conservative purist and firebrand Ted Cruz. How he managed to do this is quite interesting in its own right. He basically trolled his way to the top of the pack. He realized that being authentic and bold coupled with a flair for reading your audience will yield rich dividends in an election especially an American election. This realization and execution is to his credit. Since he held no political office and was already a part of the entertainment world, he correctly deduced that his spirited pronouncements about rapist Mexicans and banning Muslims would be given far more latitude than a career politician. Particularly if these views carried considerable of both sides of the political aisle. Also nearly 2 billion dollars worth of free media according to media researchers and economists didn't hurt either.
First , perhaps a little background on Trump is in order and his appeal - of course this is not so much for my American readers who know him rather well but Indian and others for whom this personality is puzzling to say the least.. He became a fixture on the national media and particularly tabloid fodder due to his dabbling in the glitzy world of Manhattan real estate and his penchant for glamorous wives and mistresses. He is certainly not a self made billionaire(that should be a m instead of a b but more on that later) as he claims but inherited a considerable fortune from his father who was in real estate but in the more downmarket blue collar area of Queens.
To be fair, he did expand on the fortune his father had left but alas all the money in the world could not buy his good breeding, manners or even good taste. Indeed his buildings and hotels are notorious for their gaucheness and bad taste. Revolting aesthetics consisting of clashing colors , over use of gold and garish furniture- if color could be ingested, the viewer would die of food poisoning
A younger and poutier Trump inside one of his gaudy monstrosities
Never mind his house with golden toilets. A comedian once joked that Donald Trump is how a homeless person would live if he won the lottery. Theodore Dalrymple once acridly pointed out something similar about Princess Diana's dressing sense. But fortunately for men,bad taste in clothing can at least be concealed by wearing dark suits most of the time. Women do not have that safety net.
Speaking of women, it is odd that a 70 year old man bases a good chunk of his self worth on his sexual conquests often of married women. That is only one aspect of his adolescent mind set . Sadly there are a lot more. His penchant for Eastern European trophy wives seems not to have diminished. Now it is bad enough he speaks of his wives in a vulgar manner but he doesn't even spare his daughters. He described his infant daughter Tiffany's legs favorably to her mothers and imagined that her breasts would be also like her mother's. His other daughter Ivanka wasn't to be left out(I guess he doesnt play favorites!) , he claimed that she was rather attractive and he wouldn't mind dating if he were her father!
So much for his family life. What of his business venture?. Well honestly it is hard to tell because his finances are not exactly an open book to say the least. At one point he claimed his net worth was upwards of a 5 billion dollars but over the years, he has revised since to a more ambitious 10 billion dollars at the beginning of his presidential campaign. Not least of which was an expose by journalist Timothy O Brien who was given unprecedented access to the Trump empire in 2005 for what Trump misconstrued would be a fawning book about his awesomeness. However unfortunately Trump , the meticulous, fair minded and thorough O Brien concluded in his 2006 book "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald" that Trump is considerably less than his 5-6 billion claim but really in the neighborhood of 130 million dollars. Trump responded by suing O Brien for 5 billion dollars. Well I suppose that is one way of acquiring 5 billion. Albeit not a very good one.
This is the standard Trump MO. When someone is less than satisfied with an aspect of the Trump enterprise and intends to make it public, Trump promptly sues and usually the individual capitulates to the best legal assault weapons money can buy. But not O Brien, the case was dismissed but the documents concerning Trumps real net worth were sealed.
That's Trump but what of his followers/cult members? What compels otherwise reasonable people to follow a thin skinned liberal Manhattan demagogue to crown him the next conservative messiah? Well his followers has been described as Jacksonian , ie descendants of sturdy yeoman peasants who "tamed" and settled the Western landscape. These are often referred to as Scots Irish or Ulster Scots as they are known in Northern Ireland. Andrew Jackson is practically their patron saint even as he is a demon of sorts to native Americans. Yes the very same Andrew Jackson who inspired many a neo Nazi meme. Andrew Jackson represented those who didn't care for more labor and wanted cheap land(hence the expansion to even now expensive East Coast) to further out west. The tendency of many of these folk to live in mobile homes stems from their history when their ancestors on the borderlands of England and Scotland were constantly besieged by warring parties and their livelihoods and houses destroyed. When they were then transported to Northern Ireland, they received the same treatment from Irish Catholics and the English Crown. And then in America,Native Americans borrowing a page from the aforementioned tormentors also proceeded to burn down their dwelling.
Its not all that cut and dry though, those who settled in the West were more liberty minded than those who settled in the South which consisted mostly of a feudal society with serfs ,slaves and plantation nobility. Hence liberty minded Ted Cruz made a miscalculation by courting the southern evangelicals who are really populist rather than conservative constitutionalists than the Western states where he was warmly received for his talk of freedom from an overbearing government.
Indeed the evangelicals have simply brushed away Trump's obvious immoral conduct by comparing him to King David- a standard MO for any scandal ridden politician to garner Christian support. All one has to do is compare the said individual to that lusty ,adulterous and amoral Biblical hero of Israel. Bill Clinton was described in the same terms at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
This type of background made the Scots Irish aggressive, vengeful, touchy but also hospitable, religious and family oriented . They also became rather flashy when they acquired a bit of money. The African American culture which often associated with those stereotypes actually acquired those traits from their association with these Scots Irish. And hence all this talk of Donald Trump breaking through to African Americans who since 1940s had gone increasingly over to the Democrats where they were now a reliable voting block for any liberal politician no matter how loathsome his character even to the point of racism. This may only partly explain the other Republican hopeful Dr. Ben Carson, famed African American neurosurgeon, support for Donald Trump even as Trump insinuated during the election season that Carson's story about his misspent youth where he stabbed a friend only to miss because of his belt buckle was fraud. He went as far as demonstrate his assertion by nearly undoing his own belt in full view of the cameras.
Not unrelated to the time when he spoke of the considerable size of his penis during a Presidential debate when mocked for his small hands. As if this were not enough, he went ahead and accused Carson of pedophilia. What is interesting about this allegation is that Donald Trump along with his buddy Bill Clinton spent a lot of time with convicted pedophile Jeff Epstein on the latter's private plane.
Trump panders obviously to the blue collar white working class audience , many of whom are offspring of Scots Irish but also Italian and Irish Catholics when talks of trade imbalance and the loss of manufacturing jobs. Even if the reality is rather different. Yes, the manufacturing jobs in the what they call the rust belt of the Midwest and South Eastern U.S are no more but that's only because manufacturers went off to greener pastures in the more friendlier Southern environs . U.S still manufactures but the cheap good it makes are at the behest of Toyota and other foreign but some more high end products such as aerospace and weapons research for obvious national security purposes would certainly not be relocated to China or other countries who may not have the U.S best interests at heart.
One of the reasons those jobs left the Mid West is due to a combination of corrupt and inept management and greedy unions. The situation got so bad that one point it a witty economist remarked that GM was a pension plan with a factory. So the fathers and grandfathers of the current Trump voters were responsible for their own economic abasement. Even as they wish to blame others for it such as illegal Mexican immigrants who are more symptom than the cause of what ails American culture. At one point it was not unusual to see CEOs of large companies and Presidents of Wall Street banks drive their own cars and mow their lawns, billionaire plutocrat stereotypes aside. As with Rome , the Republic slowly gave rise to empire and being merely prosperous and self reliant was for the riff raff apparently and hence maids, cooks, drivers, gardeners became the order of the day. The middle class wanted the trappings of the aristocracy without actual wealth , the best way for that are
1) Cheaper luxury goods
2) Cheap labor for more free time
3) Agitate for higher salaries even as they manage in useless subjects at universities
Both of these involve
1) Outsourcing a good deal of labor to countries whose citizens can make do with much lower salaries-China, India, South East Asia among st others
2) Importing large numbers of semi skilled labor who will work for low wages- Mexico, Jamaica, Gautemala, India, China etc
3) Companies sacking American employees and issuing large number of H1Bs from India for white collar work
The middle and lower class rage at the "elites" even as they wanted to live like them without consequences. The housing crash was also a symptom of this mindset. They have reaped the whirlwind but now blame the scarecrow.
One particularly sinister lot who have jumped on the Trump bandwagon are the neo Nazis and white nationalists who see him as a fellow traveler. The hate filled crackpot website Daily Stormer went as far to declare him "Glorious Leader" and his admittedly beautiful wife as "Empress Melania". I guess the constitution with its limitation on executive power and separation of powers is out the window. I suppose we can look forward to North Korea on the Potomac with Trump in place of the equally vain and borderline deranged Kim Jong Uhn.
Trump himself winks at these individuals when refused to condemn David Duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK as well as these Daily Stormer lunatics. I don't believe Donald Trump is a white nationalist or a Nazi. Indeed his daughter is a convert to Orthodox Judaism and one cant get ahead in NYC without Jewish support. But that's what makes his courting of these fringe elements all the more reprehensible.
These characters who revel in Trumps victory by claiming that he poked the "Jewish power brokers" in the eye maybe aghast at the latest news the Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson for whom the litmus test for his benefaction is the support of Israel. Adelson has financed Trump to the tune of $100 million dollars. This is a very strange time . I still dont quite know what to make of it. But in the meantime it will be nice to imagine these neo Nazi thugs cry in their pillows. And that includes a certain mariner who is also a fan of Trump and is consistently shocked that the person who he supports tend to close to those wicked Zionists!
Never mind these peoples, a good number of conservatives who I thought were decent people and liberty minded turned out to be little more than frauds at best and cult members at the worst. These included Ann Coulter, Eric Bolling, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich among st others. The so called Anglo Saxon prediliction for liberty has turned out be self serving ethnocentric garbage. The yearning for a man on a white horse can strike anyone anywhere with no regard for any traditions of liberty and small government which were prevalent before
I never thought I would say that Hillary Clinton, who barely even hides her contempt for the law and her venal personality these would make a better President but at least she wont wreck the notion of liberty and republican(small r) government in office(though not out of a lack of trying). While Trump may well destroy the party and his nation due to his incredible vanity, thuggery and thin skinned nature. He encouraged protestors to engage in violence even as he whined that a Democratic Senator was "violently tweeting" at him. Can one imagine this guy in office. Vladmir Putin wont be sending him violent "tweets". His enemies list and threats to muffle the media would put Nixon to shame.
So I suppose its Hillary 2016. Republicans managed to impeach slick willy. His less talented wife who already under FBI investigation will be a walk in the park. So lets coronation her already and get this thing started..