The Trumpenstein Project
It is now more apparent than ever that Donald J. Trump was the creation of someone or something very powerful. He was wound up and escorted directly from his Reality TV world, onto the national political stage.
As I’ve noted many times, Trump’s radical, often revolutionary campaign rhetoric appealed to millions of disgruntled citizens like me. I found it difficult to believe that this lifelong One Percenter- of whom I held a not terribly detailed but decidedly negative impression- could possibly be saying such things.
For those with short memories, Trump not only referred to “globalists,” in Alex Jones-style conspiracy-friendly terms, he noted over and over again that the system was rigged, and “you can’t fix it by trusting those who rigged it.” His slogans “America First” and “Drain the Swamp” energized most of those in my world.
Trump hinted at conspiracies and cover ups that other politicians simply never have. He inferred Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in the JFK assassination. He noted that “some people believe” Vince Foster was murdered. As Roger Stone told me back in 2015, “he knows about all the conspiracies- you would love him.”
He called out the “phony” unemployment statistics, which were changed in the 1990s to dishonestly count only those presently filing for benefits. This was in addition, of course, to disparaging “fake news” and blasting mainstream journalists for their lies and distorted coverage. All of this was music to my ears.
Several times, Trump lamented the “senseless wars” that had cost “trillions of dollars,” which would have permitted us to “rebuild this country several times.” He was the first politician to accurately assess our pathetic infrastructure and label it as the embarrassment it is. He criticized political leaders of both parties over the horrendous trade deals like NAFTA, which outsourced our industry and left us unable to make electronics, clothing or anything else of substance.
And most of all he lit into our disastrous immigration policy. As he said many times, “you either have a country or you don’t,” and made countless specific promises in this area. He claimed that he would end Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program on the first day in office, would sign an Executive Order ending birth-right citizenship, end the deadly H-1B Visa foreign worker program, and take a step back and “look at all immigration,” including legal immigration. He was the first candidate I’d ever heard who talked freely about deporting illegal immigrants.
Trump seemed utterly “awake” on the vaccine question, and how they are obviously linked to the alarming rise in autism rates. He promised a commission to study the issue, and just after his inauguration, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of all people, held a press conference to announce that he would be chairing it.
Trump’s selection of neocon fundamentalist Mike Pence raised more than a few eyebrows, but his stunning inaugural address kindled a great deal of hope that perhaps he actually did intend to keep all those promises. I was moved by that address, and considered it the best since John F. Kennedy’s.
We all know what happened next. Pence wasn’t an anomaly; Trump appointed one odious Deep State veteran after another to all key positions in his cabinet. The only even semi-outsiders were Steve Bannon, who was quickly marginalized and later unceremoniously dumped, and General Mike Flynn, who was demonized after a cup of coffee as Trump’s National Security Adviser. Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador typified his selections; a John McCain-style warmonger par excellence, who had been a vocal #Never Trumper during the presidential campaign.
I have often wondered, in fact, how many of those who have surrounded Trump in the White House, and still surround him (the tremendous turnover rate hasn’t featured any diversity of thought- one Swamp Creature simply supplants another), actually voted for him. Has that ever been asked about any previous president?
Needless to say, Trump didn’t end DACA on his first day in office. He didn’t end birth-right citizenship. He didn’t stop the H-1B Visa program, and now we have more Visa workers than ever. Despite all his radical rhetoric, Trump has been actually deporting fewer illegals than Barack Obama.
Those of us who fell for the rhetoric and the slogans should really have known better. The evidence was there; his public endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, the photos of him laughing and socializing with the Clintons. The creepy video of him schmoozing with Rudy Giuliani in drag. Giuliani, of course, would go on to become an influential adviser to President Trump. And Trump would quiet the post-election cries of “Lock her up” regarding Hillary Clinton by telling his loyal followers that “we don’t need that now,” and called her “good people.”
So was Trump packaged and sold, like a marketplace version of Frankenstein, to appeal to the percolating dissent in the heartland, and the people who were once called “the silent majority?” That “silent majority” isn’t the majority now, thanks to millions of immigrants and a steady cultural drift to the left. But they maintain an influence in the “flyover states,” and tipped the electoral college balance in the 2016 election.
Trump represents a symbol of all that America once was, when it was ruled exclusively by white males. White males who didn’t back down, or apologize, and spoke their mind. The fact that Trump actually has backed down, repeatedly, on budget deals, on immigration, on withdrawing troops, and other issues, doesn’t seem to damage his brand in the eyes of those who still support him. He talks and tweets a strong game. He makes fun of individual reporters in press conferences. He loves fast food. In their eyes, he’s one of them.
The Trump Project consisted of a renegade candidate, with radical ideas and brash talk, but also a cartoonish ego and often shocking inability to articulate. While those in the heartland ate up the juvenile name-calling and impolite style, a huge portion of Americans were appalled, and unleashed a vitriol not seen since the halcyon days of World War II, when Adolph Hitler took on a satanic veneer that no bogeyman had previously, or has since.
This week, Hillary Clinton, the embodiment of a “left” that found “McCarthyism” repugnant and lampooned any fervent anti-communist, attacked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Clinton, in the best tradition of the right-wingers she presumably hated, called Gabbard a “Russian asset,” and included Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in the same category.
Many good people, who once loved my work, have jumped on this surrealistic bandwagon. They’ve drank the anti-Trump Kool-Aid to such an extent that they’re willing to form alliances with our intelligence agencies, Trump’s former aide John Bolton, or anyone else anywhere who opposes him. And they dutifully dub anyone who criticizes the Clintons, or Joe Biden’s son, or supports Trump’s talk about withdrawing troops as “Russian Bots.”
The Trump Project has succeeded in killing any hope of an independent political movement, outside of the phony left-right paradigm. All political discourse now is filtered through the prism of Trump’s outlandish personality, and how one reacts to it. And most Americans have responded predictably to the programming, and fall in faithfully into either the “love” or “hate” category.
We have gone from a president that the most absurd “conspiracy theorists” believe may have been created in a lab- Barack “no real personal history” Obama, to a character right out of WWE central casting, manufactured to get the maximum amount of cheers and hisses. A perfect leader for our burgeoning Idiocracy.
Lincoln once talked about a house divided being unable to stand. Our house is hopelessly divided, and barely standing. It won’t take much of a wind to blow it down. We really need a Frank Capra to devise a happy ending to this story.