Entries about current events, arts and entertainment (including the competitive sport of poetry).
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Matt Taibbi's epitaph for the Trump campaign.
Excerpt from Matt Taibbi's ROLLING STONE article "The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump."
Trump, ironically, was originally a rebel against this process, the first-ever party-crasher to bulldoze his way past the oligarchical triad of donors, party leaders and gatekeeping media. But once he got in, he became the ultimate servant of the horse race, simultaneously creating the most-watched and most regressive election ever.
He was unable to stop being a reality star. Trump from the start had been playing a part, but his acting got worse and worse as time went on, until finally he couldn't keep track: Was he supposed to be a genuine traitor to his class and the savior of the common man, or just be himself, i.e., a bellicose pervert with too much time on his hands? Or were the two things the same thing? He was too dumb to figure it out, and that paralysis played itself out on the Super Bowl of political stages. It was great television. It was also the worst thing that ever happened to our electoral system.
Trump's shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America's two-party political system for what was probably a half-assed ego trip all along, adventure tourism for the idiot rich.
That such a small man would have such an awesome impact on our nation's history is terrible, but it makes sense if you believe in the essential ridiculousness of the human experience. Trump picked exactly the wrong time to launch his mirror-gazing rampage to nowhere. He ran at a time when Americans on both sides of the aisle were experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, anger that was finally ready to express itself at the ballot box.
The only thing that could get in the way of real change – if not now, then surely very soon – was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system would become zealots for the status quo.
In the absolute best-case scenario, the one in which he loses, this is what Trump's run accomplished. He ran as an outsider antidote to a corrupt two-party system, and instead will leave that system more entrenched than ever. If he goes on to lose, he will be our Bonaparte, the monster who will continue to terrify us even in exile, reinforcing the authority of kings.
If you thought lesser-evilism was bad before, wait until the answer to every question you might have about your political leaders becomes, "Would you rather have Trump in office?"
Trump can't win. Our national experiment can't end because one aging narcissist got bored of sex and food. Not even America deserves that. But that doesn't mean we come out ahead. We're more divided than ever, sicker than ever, dumber than ever. And there's no reason to think it won't be worse the next time.