There is ComiCon, DragonCon, GeekGirlCon…. all kinds of conventions for like-minded people, but we’ve never seen anything like Trump’s Political ConCon, for the self-deceptive people who think the guy’s in it for them.
Predicting the next dissociative behavioral move by Donald Trump has been a fool’s game all along and is now taken off the boards. No more wagering, kids. The accompanying inability or unwillingness to challenge this man and expose the truth of him by most of the media (with few exceptions) makes them unindicted co-conspirators in his ascension to the nomination. If he complains the delegate system is “rigged,” it must be true. If he accuses Cruz and Kasich of “collusion” to dare to try to stop him, it must be true. No matter what nickname he attaches to anyone, repeat it for him and force the bullying victim to deny. Play his game. Let’s have a fair and balanced discussion of everything Donald Trump vomits out of his mouth.
Trump’s run-from-the-gut, fantasy-pseudo-policy, blitzkrieg and belittle-the-opponent primary strategy has worked well for him. His party popularity ceiling of 35-49% tops was breached in New York State when he got 60%, proving once and for all that New Yorkers… certainly the Republican primary ones… are as insular and provincially stupid as the hayseeds they believe live elsewhere. At least the Democratic voters didn’t automatically pick the guy with the heavy Brooklyn accent just because he had a heavy Brooklyn accent. Nice discretionary skills there.
Suddenly though, last week Trump decided to hire some fixer from the Republican Book of Blue Bloods– somebody named Paul Manafort, veteran of the Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain campaigns. That meant the end of his former campaign chief, Casey “Big Lebowski,” the amateur guy who almost went to Riker’s Island for grabbing the female reporter’s arm. He was humanely beheaded by a hooded supermodel and dumped into the East River, near the area where most dead mobsters reside. Manafort, who may be a bigger liar than Trump himself, wanted the big boys in the party suits to realize that it was time to submit to the unstoppable, unbearable likeness of Trump. He winked and told them not to worry.
“He gets it,” Mr. Manafort told RNC members. “The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change.”
It’s hard to decide how to take Manafort’s take on his boss. What does Trump “get” here? That he needed to be a 100% Mussolini-style fraud to the primary voters to secure the nomination, only to reveal what a wonderful, reasonable, studious, well-informed, principled, non-bigoted, non-racist, non-misogynistic, uniter of all peoples who never threatens nuclear war, no longer saying he’d dismantle the entire post-war framework of relationships we have with our friends?
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.
Lying right to Chris Wallace’s face, Manafort went on “Fox News Sunday” to say he was not referring to the candidate’s core beliefs, just his 9-month Don Rickles/Andrew Dice Clay act. So Trump believes all this crap? Which is it?
“We were talking about evolving the campaign, not the candidate,” Mr. Manafort said. He sought to convince a skeptical Wallace that he was referring to how Mr. Trump talks to cheering followers at campaign events versus “when he’s giving speeches on policy, settings that are not rally-oriented.”
The syllogistic slop is, therefore, this: Trump is not his campaign and the campaign is not Trump, believe me.
His new campaign guy is now out there trying to convince the 70% of Americans who have said they would never, under any circumstances, vote for Trump… trying to convince them that they should join Trump’s solid Republican core of followers (the one’s who’d be ok with him murdering someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight). That core will have been officially betrayed by Trump; everything they liked him for… politically incorrect, tells the truth, the nationalistic/nativist rhetoric, birtherism against Obama and Cruz, it’s whites getting screwed, China and Mexico eating our lunch, hey, hey, ho, ho-all the Muslims have to go, more guns, more military….. Mr. Manafort, do you mean it was all performance art…. a stunt, shtick, acting, a scripted reality show from Trump, Inc?
This will become the ultimate test for the Trumpanistas, the support-at-all-costs crowd. Nothing can or would shake their allegiance to him, they say. But betrayal of the very reasons you liked him even before you met him…. and now a public admission he’d been lying to you about everything… has got to count for something, doesn’t it? Or maybe it doesn’t.
You have to play it from the other angle, too. Since Manafort is a campaign pro, a professional fixer/liar/spinner, you can assume he’s lying about Trump “getting it.” The very idea that Trump has the capacity or predilection to change his approach to campaigning all the way to November is absurd and is a desperation lie based on his towering negatives with the general electorate right now. That Trump has forever, it seems, explicitly claimed his ability to be or not to be “presidential,” as if that behavior is like turning on a faucet, should have been enough, long ago, to sufficiently reveal the fake that he is. Ronald Reagan was an actor who became a politician. Trump is an actor who is remaining true to his craft and knows nothing except what he sees on the shows.
Trump has hoodwinked and swindled his way pretty damn far in this process. But he’s admitting he’s been a phony all along, or he’s really the bombastic, thoughtless jerk that he’s shown himself to be. He is like the philandering, drinking, gambling, abusive husband, who at the moment of reckoning with his crying wife, says, “but I can change… honest honey…. I WILL change…. I promise… that really wasn’t me.” Your mom and your best friend and Ann Landers would tell you to throw the bum out (counseling is not an option!). But the afternoon talkshows were around for decades before the first “reality shows” hit the air. One of their staple theme shows was often “Why Do Women Like the Bad Boys?”