the emperor's clothes

July 17, 2020

If truth was a matter of a tight-jawed posture of self-possessed con-
fidence about one’s own “spin” looking genuine, then Trump could be
a trustworthy spin doctor. But in fact, he’s as genuine as a tawdry sales-
man desperately selling vaporware.

If you had lived with the killer marketing mind as Mary Trump has, then you might appreciate how dangerous Trump’s narcissism is.

He’s a tamer version of the warrior whose predation faces certain defeat, but who fights to the death because his “honor” (heroic egoism) is at stake.

When such self-possession is a matter of power that affects millions of others, the danger is far beyond matters of partisan polemic.

Trump is a man who kept Hitler’s speeches by his bed, whose father’s “love” was dependent on mirroring the “killer” instinct in business. Trump rose to highly-leveraged wealth in Manhatten because his mob-minded attorney, Roy Cohn (counsel to Joe McCarthy during the HUAC hearings of the early ‘50s), had the same killer ethic about weaponizing court filings: “Sue the bastards.”

Trump knew no “art of the deal.” His ghostwriter made the book, just like someone took the SAT for Trump before he entered college. If you’ve ever known a cocky, misogynist frat boy cheat, that was Trump in college (according to clinician Mary Trump). That was still Trump in the business world, hawking his “brand” when all his leveraged ventures failed (i.e., he got out of bankruptcy by renting his name on buildings financially engineered by others. Without the reality TV brand, he was nothing).

That was still the teenage boy running for president, smugly confident that he could sucker the low-skilled worker into voting for dog-whistle racism, etc. by belittling all his opponents like the high school bully so many blue collar workers wished they could have been: the strong man!

The problem there was that he assumed, like everyone, that he wouldn’t win—that he would have a vastly fluffed brand and free hand to hang his name on a hotel in Moscow. Trump had no intention of actually being president.

Trump is all pitch and no product. That’s been proven tragically during the covid-19 pandemic.

He’s a loser. That’s his biggest fear: that he looks like a loser. He’s a tragic loser.

No degree of his lies, insults, duplicity, and belittlements will convince him that putting his foot in his mouth day after day, thousands of times, will not sell his emperor character as well clothed.

History will frame him as a “great” phony, unwittingly proving that American government can neuter a huckster in the presidency. He did little real damage (though that’s disputable, of course) because he did little but puff up in perpetual campaigning (like the sale that never fully closes). He did no good because he never knew how to manage anything.

That he was largely constrained is a note of greatness about American government.

And another note will be how quickly America will forget the dumpy golf club king by moving on, after the Obama years, into the Biden years, as if the Trump brand was just an accident—just another cause of plutocratic recession that Democrats are now strapped with repairing, again.

The U.S.will advance the Paris Accords, return to largely funding the W.H.O., lead the G7, and show collaborative global leadership like a Hillary Clinton administration merely postponed. 

And later Democrats, still controlling the Senate after 2024, will secure the new New Deal coalition well into the third decade of the century.