’Trump is letting us know that he and his base don’t think of this as an election. It’s a civil war. They want to turn the clock back to the time that Negroes knew their place and women were happy making biscuits in the kitchen and employers could pay their workers anything they wanted and the question of who got to vote was decided by a few white men in a smoke-filled room.
Look around you. With William Barr at the Justice Department and Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and Senate Republicans voting in lockstep with Mitch McConnell, living in Donald Trump’s America feels like the South won the Civil War. If we don’t get our shit together and drive him from office at the ballot box in November, we’ll lose this one, too.
Trump made use of an enemy foreign power, Russia, to win election in 2016, and if what the intelligence community told the Congress this week is correct, he’s in the process of doing it again. There won’t be any investigation of foreign interference this time…
The stunning thing is, Trump keeps getting caught and nothing happens…
Donald Trump is who he always was: a mobbed up grifter from New York who learned from his father that you can welch on debts, pay people off and game the system, and when you get caught, walk away. If you’re outrageous enough about it, people will be so stunned they are unwilling or unable to act. Trump’s old pal Roy Cohn was a past master at this. I covered him while I was on the staff of the Village Voice. He used to travel around the country giving speeches in smaller cities to Republican gatherings that were all impressed they could get Roy Cohn to come to Sheboygan or Zanesville and speak at their fundraisers. He would meet a local banker over rubber chicken and talk him into a signature loan for 50 or 100 grand, and he’d take the money and stiff them every time. He was sued over and over again by these little local banks, and he never paid a cent.
Trump also learned from Roy Cohn that you can steal stuff in plain sight and get away with it if you just say “Fuck you” loudly and often enough. I think that’s what Trump is doing to the whole country. He’s saying, “Fuck you. I never believed in your democracy, I never believed in your capitalism, I never believed in your establishment, and look what I did! I got elected president! Fuck you! I’m going to take everything I want! I’m going to fly Air Force One anywhere I want, and I’m going to play golf more often than Arnie Palmer, and I’m going to bellow racism and lies at my rallies, and I’m going to jack up the Secret Service for rooms at my resorts, and I’m not going to pay a fucking cent and what are you going to do about it? I’m going to call Vladimir Putin on the phone and I’m going to get him to help me steal another election, and fuck you.”
That’s Trump’s philosophy in a nutshell: do whatever you want and say “Fuck you.” He’s getting away with it the same way he got away with stiffing contractors and welching on bank loans and going into bankruptcy and taking out more loans and when they come due saying “Fuck you.”
I think we stand a chance to beat him, but we’ll have to dig ourselves out of a deep, deep hole when he’s gone. Some of us never will: The children ripped from their mothers’ arms at the border, the voters who will go to the polls and be turned away, the poor who will go hungry when their food stamps are cut, the land and water and air that will be despoiled, the species that will go extinct, the companies that will fail, the women whose health clinics will close, the hopes that will be dashed and gone away forever.