I’m tired today, but instead of just re-submitting some of my recent pieces for your consideration, I have decided to lead off with a very quick recap on the decline of Donald Trump, his Presidency, and his radical supporters.
If you listen to the fragmenting excuses defenders are giving to Donald Trump these days, no wonder his outlook is so grim. Whereas previously there was some depth to the angry and distracting claims of whataboutism, these seem to have been drained of the bulk of their necessary outrage. Oh, one could still argue what about Hillary’s crimes, or Obama’s, or George W. Bush, or Lincoln suspending habeas corpus, or any policy of presidents Thomas Jefferson through Andrew Johnson on anything whatsoever related to native peoples (and then again, after Grant). We could discuss each one of these unconstitutional illegalities, or human rights violations, and certainly have something worth saying. But as far as defending Trump, it just doesn’t work any longer. There is nothing left to say.
Everyone should by now be able to admit that the man is a criminal (and if you won’t, this just proves that you urgently create your own reality based upon your anger, prejudices, and outright fear of the world). Talking about other people’s crimes will no longer make the current ones acceptable, even to the heartiest cynic. There is nothing left to moral relativism. Two wrongs can no longer make a right. Even by comparison, our usual better or worse (or hot or not) barometer that children such as us use to rate everything, the crimes of Donald J. Trump are pretty hard to top in Presidential history.
And yet some people, for whatever reason, still want to defend the man. They like to squawk increasingly desperate delusions about the economy or ‘winning,’ and none of these hold up under scrutiny. The economy seems to be collapsing, mostly as a result of the same sleazy business practices that made Donald Trump personally wealthy, yet destroyed virtually everything he has put his name upon (including his family). Loans, loans, charge it, deferred payments, liquidation of remaining assets into a newly formed shell company, which, after bankruptcy, will become the primary business. Donald Trump’s private business practices have been little more than a stiff middle finger, boasting that he is not going to pay for anything. And the bankruptcies are used to mitigate personal taxes: Since I had no income last year, how could I possibly owe anything? And this from hundreds of millions of dollars of what amounts to fraud and outright theft. These are the crimes not even being investigated any longer because Trump didn’t bother to consider that it is impossible to translate similar crimes into the wide open international public sphere of massive oversight. And oversight is what catches you when other people are concerned with the outcome. Oversight is when someone or some agency is watching your every move and you can no longer get away with tax evasion, or avoidance of payment. It is where being a deadbeat in business comes back to haunt you. To put this into terms a real estate mogul might understand: the rent is due.
When people claim that Donald Trump does not understand business, this is not an entirely fair statement. He does not understand (nor have an interest in) legitimate business dealings. He does not care about them. But sneaking around and cutting corners and ripping off his sometimes benighted opposition is really the extent of his expertise. This is just a more industry-minded way of saying that the man is, and always has been, a crook. There is nothing to admire about him unless you are a fan of insults, cheating, short cuts, messiah complexes and lying. And if you are, it must feel like the disillusion of a cult, when all pagan followers are being rounded up and burned at the stake.
Why do Donald Trump’s defenders still believe that everyone else is lying except for him? Donald Trump has always lied. I have before, and will now once again, quote directly from his 1980s manual of greed, The Art of the Deal: he declares exaggeration and lying to be two of his fundamental business practices. As he says, if you lie about something “three times, people will believe it.” This is his politics in a nutshell. No. Really. And perhaps three is too few a number for modern, short-attention span politics, but think about how many times you have heard the terms “WITCH HUNT” and “NO COLLUSION” and answer me honestly that these words still mean anything at all.
We have nothing new to say about Donald Trump any longer. All we have are further repetitions of everything that has already said. Even Trump himself seems tired. Over and over and over and over we rant and shout and accuse and blame, and on the news they smugly condemn or cynically defend the actions of an this abhorrent creep that we elected our President, a man who, if it were an earlier time, would have been charged with racketeering, but only sentenced to hard time for tax evasion. Donald Trump is a second rate Al Capone, only without the guts to murder his enemies with his own bare hands.