(I wrote this Sept 12, but it was too hot and drove my friends nuts and made my enemies spew intolerable amounts of hatemail, so I protected it behind a password. I outed it today because there continues to be a lot of crazy hysteria about the Trump Presidential transition team coming from the sore-losing and fearful left. This is not the sort of resistance that will defend us against Trump’s rising tide. Trump’s deeper pull stems from deeper currents. The usual noise in the mediasphere, slapstick attack and panic, empty reassurances and rational defenses and denials, didn’t help avert his rise to power and won’t stop its inevitability now.
I believe this prediction is as true today as it was two years ago. I don’t think Trump has an ideology other than Trump. He is not an anti-Semite or philo-Semite. He is not anti- or pro-Muslim or -Hispanic or -birth-control or anything else. He stands for nothing but his own self-regarding gaze in this postmodern panopticon of buzz and power. Since I am the only person in the world who opposed Trump and explained that his win was inevitable and also why (in my Trumposaurus Rex Acts 1, 2, and 3 in March, May and July of 2016) this one may be right, too. – DP
The Trillary (Photo: Imgur)
Based on my 99.6% success in predicting the path of Trump so far, my pals have asked me to weigh in on the subject most on their minds (after the question of whether Trump can really win, to which I answer, as I have since February, “Yup.”)
That is, Who is gonna be better for the Jews, Clinton or Trump?
Well, if you’re seeking the definitive answer, you’ve come to the right place. I won’t keep you waiting.
Clinton might be better for the Jews in America in the short-term but much worse for Israel and thus Jews in the long term.
Trump might be better for Israel, but probably much worse for the Jews in America.
To the extent you believe the fate of Jews is entwined – mystically, sociologically, historically, whatever – with the fate of Israel, you can weigh this in getting the right answer and making your final choice. I think the real question is, Who is gonna be worse for the Jews, Clinton or Trump?
Clinton bad for Jews
Clinton is gonna be bad for Israel. She is most likely to do nothing to derail the crooked, inconceivably awful, deceptive, delusional, insanely bad, bad, bad not-good atrocity of the Iran nuclear deal, in which President Barry “Bags O’Baksheesh” Obama gave murderous Iranian ayatollahs a pathway to the Bomb plus $150 billion above the table and $1.3 billion (as of today) in unmarked foreign bills on a night flight to Tehran below the table. With the money, Iran will continue to prosecute its promise to wipe out Israel. It will continue to sponsor terror attacks on Jews in the Diaspora directly and through its Shi’a terror proxies like Hizbullah, to show that Israel can’t protect Jews around the world and just because they hate Jews anyway. When they get their Shiite Terror Bomb in ten years or so, they will diminish Israel geopolitically. The Very Bad Iran Nuclear Deal, along with miserable calls in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Ukraine, has already diminished the U.S. on the world stage.
Iran will nip at Israel’s heels in the hope of provoking a conventional war with Israel some time in 2026. With my incredible powers of super-prophesy I predict it will be on a Tuesday. They will quickly escalate rhetoric and provocations so they can rattle their nuclear sabers and the nerves of everyone in the world.
Heck. Who knows. Maybe the Ayatollahs are just fuck-nuts crazy enough with Jew-hatred and apocalyptic zealotry to drop the Big One.
Clinton good for the Jews?
On the other hand, Clinton’s brand of rational, left-of-center failed policies are soothing to the hereditary home-brewed religion of many American Jews: racial tolerance, investment in education, and social liberalism. Trouble is, it’ll be done the Clinton Way: you’re gonna have to pay to play, this time pouring trillions down the gullet of failed programs in ever-more-expensive health care, taxes, and education for your children, and trillions in foreign debt to make trade friends with our sworn global enemies like China. When you wake up to find your wallet slimmer and your children’s future mortgaged – it will be a Tuesday – it will be too late. And no matter what Jews believe now, if Israel is weakened or destroyed, they will be put in jeopardy sooner or later as long as they continue to identify themselves as Jews.
Trump bad for Jews
Trump, well… who knows what Trump will do? He will do no more and no less than what any president would do. As long as that president is a fat, bullying, lying, self-absorbed, defensive, never-been-spanked eight-year-old with over-developed gonads and poor impulse control, who can’t believe his luck at having awoken in the body of a greedy, bloated, pathologically narcissistic billionaire in bed with a naked Melania.
I don’t believe Trump is anti-Semitic or has any plans whatsoever to hurt Jews. He’s almost mishpachah, with his kids’ entanglements and all. In fact, I don’t think Trump has any plans at all except to bask in the panoptic reflection of the entire world holding a mirror to his self-absorption. Why should he think or do much of anything, since he is already getting heroin-grade bumps to his one passion, hearing his name and seeing his image every minute of every hour of every day in every media outlet on TV or in print since at least last November?
Insofar as the sober adult part of Trump is interested in getting more money to build more pyramids to the glory of his name, he knows those hits promise the MORE FOR ME that comes with media attention, as he learned from his apprenticeship in reality on tv, no matter what the outcome in November (BTW, I predict it will be on a Tuesday). What a wet dream this has been for him!
Lacking any rational plan or ideology or even what would pass as cognition at all, his authenticity and the boastful promises that spill from him are alluring to hopeful haters. Narcissists like Trump summon lizards. The lizard brain riding the body known as The Donald has sung to the awfullest and most ignorant instincts in us all. This doesn’t mean you’re awful or ignorant if you hear the lizard’s jungle drums. I know some fabulously rich, fabulously educated, and fabulously savvy folks who are going to vote for Trump because they can’t stand another minute of Clinton’s garden-variety venality or inauthenticity or lies, or can’t bear another minute of Obama’s failures and betrayal of America and lies which they sense Clinton will continue, and they are willing to roll the dice.
On the other hand, if they start telling me they know what Trump is going to do, I call them liars. I’m the only super-prophet in town, and Trump’s policy paths are dark, dark, foreclosed even to my 20-20 future vision.
Trump good for the Jews?
Trump will be good for the Jews because he will, thank God, take away their pain at watching the failure and fecklessness of Obama and the Democratic Party.
Also, they will no longer have to answer the embarrassing question: “Without using the word ‘Trump’, name one thing Hillary Clinton has done that’s worked out for America or for you?”
But the problem with my Democrat friends is they believe explaining is excusing. I explained Trump, therefore…
Their other problem is that I merrily attack Democrats like Obama, Kerry, and Clinton. They can’t bear it. This illustrates why Trump might very well win: Democrats are babies. They are so enraged by him (again, a flip side of The Lizard Brain Phenomenon I described), they cannot engage in any reasonable discourse that might admit that for all her rationality, Clinton is a woefully damaged, crooked, venal, compromised and possibly criminal politician who has done nothing right for the public good in light of which even reasonable people are looking for an alternative, even a bag of vanity like Trump. No, they say, only deplorable ignoramuses will vote for Trump.
Me, I’m waiting for Tuesdays to stop. I hate being right all the time.
You asked, “If you are so sure Trump is going to make a credible play for the election, how can he be defeated?” Here’s my answer. You may not like it. Before I’m done, I’m gonna call you part of a mob and tell you to stop being so damned rational and smug and immune to the Truth of the Trump. And I’m gonna tell you I think he still might win.
Here’s why: No rational attempt to defeat the Trumposaur has done anything but propel him. You think being rational will save the republic, but it only feeds the beast. That’s because the Trumposaur has primitive magic. He turns citizens into swine, the populace into a mob. But that’s the level, the primitive level of the unconscious, where we have to fight the beast. Instead of just turning up our noses at the stink he creates, we need to look at the dogpiles he has exposed and clean up our messes
Yesterday, President Obama, Clinton, The Washington Post and much of the media ganged up on Trump because of his new outrageous statements about assault rifles and Obama’s stance – or non-stance – against Islamic terrorists at home and abroad after the attack on the Orlando LGBT nightclub. Today, the bloviators on CNN are back at it again, quoting poll after poll and spinning scenarios showing why Trump can’t, won’t, isn’t going to win, repeating every mistake they made during his march on the Republican nomination. I don’t know how his numbers will do, but I’m still not betting against him. Everyone who has until now has lost. And the other routes to fighting him in his own jungle are quickly closing down.
They could have starved his monstrous narcissism. That would require CNN and Fox and even PBS and all other media obsessed and addicted to him to ignore Trump, take the needle out of their arms, turn the cameras off him and cure their addiction to the ratings his name produced for them. Ain’t gonna happen.
We might have hoped the Republican party had the wit and courage to turn away Trump’s assault through its own arcane nomination procedures. As Lindsay Graham said early in this election cycle, “The Republican party may have to lose an election to save the Republic.” And by some miracle, it still may happen in July as some pathetic folks in the press are hoping out loud, but Do you want to leave the fate of the nation to the wisdom and courage of a political party?
We can hope the nine-year-old self-absorbed bullying boy-man who drives the Trump psyche realizes he never wanted to be president anyway because it’s too damned hard, and he’ll go home to steal more cookies and kick the cat, but his megalomania is being pleasured too much for that to happen. Maybe we could have turned the tide a few months ago. It’s too late now.
We might have hoped the Trumposaur would be exposed by the broadcast media more convincingly than he already has been, but I don’t see how. They’re trying awfully hard with little success at finding the line between coverage that exposes him and coverage that only gives him more exposure and gets him more votes. Every stab at really wounding him – especially and merely just by quoting his outrageous broadsides, inanities, and lies – just makes him bigger. The New York Times and CNN and Fox and The Washington Post and the more stately newspapers and news channels that disapprove of Trump in attempt to quell his rising force has so far demonstrably, empirically had the opposite effect. His voter base has kept growing.
And the reason is simple: inside all his crazy salvos are kernels of truth. Here are a few.
Yes, Obama and his Secretaries of States Clinton and Kerry have betrayed US allies, diminished US standing in the world, monumentally failed in the Mideast, lied in order to push through an incredibly bad Iran deal, and let Russia grow aggressive without opposition. They have made the world worse by their weakness.
Yes, health care in America is broken and Obamacare made it worse, not better.
Yes, the fight against Muslim terrorists is easier if you name the enemy. Nazis would have been harder to defeat if we didn’t call them Nazis. And yes, most of Islam is inimicably opposed to Western culture.
Yes, letting our borders remain porous does make us less safe. Yes, turning a blind eye to illegal immigration tears down respect for law and is expensive.
Yes, blacks in America have done no better, and maybe worse, under Obama.
Yes, The Washington Post lied when its first headline bleated that Trump accused Obama for the slaughter in Orlando, and then showed its cowardice when it scurried to hide behind freedom of the press.
Yes, in his speech after Orlando, Obama reserved more anger and outrage for Trump than for the Muslim terrorist who slaughtered those folks.
Yes, our political process is rigged against open democratic voting as Bernie Sanders also discovered.
The secret of the mob
Here’s the secret of a mob: when we contemplate it, it’s always made up of others. But the fact is, at the very moment we deny we could ever be part of one, we are all candidates for the mob. Point to a roomful of people and single out exactly who belongs. Are you sure membership in the mob is reserved for THEM – the uneducated, unwashed, hillbilly, redneck, naïve, young, Southern, Western, Midwestern, Rust Belt, urban, working class, unemployed, union members, seniors, veterans, working poor, rural, Texans, racists, sexists, soccer moms, angry white men, Republicans, disenfranchised, longshoremen, beer drinkers, churchgoers, gun-toters? Are you too educated, refined, knowing, and civilized to be part of the mob? Then how about the PhDs, lawyers, teachers, doctors, billionaires, stockbrokers, self-made businessmen, programmers, women and men I know who say they will vote for him? How about the real estate brokers, Rotarians, Elks, Chamber of Commerce types, believers in God, atheists, and quiet neighbors I know who will vote for him? How about the Buddhists, Jews, Christians, and Hindis I’ve heard pledge their loyalty? The baseball, basketball, hockey and football fans? The Uber drivers and Uber passengers?
We all carry a lizard brain around in us. It’s back in there, waiting to emerge. Yes, we spend a lot of time filtering it, caging it, burying it, forgetting it. But it’s there. Why else do democracies persistently vote themselves into tyrannies? Why do mobs form? Against all reason. Acknowledging the lizard within us is the secret to defeating the Trumposaur.
See, the real solution has nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with everyone, you and me and the media as individuals, and all our friends. We have to stop being astonished, like deer in the headlights. We have to stop pretending we’re confused, and stop being dismayed, and we certainly have to stop being so goddamned righteous and contemptuous and superior to those Others who are voting for Trump. All you people so eager to stomp out hatred really hate all the people you think are voting for Trump. We saw the anti-Trump haters stomping on cars in California. We have to stop supposing that all the millions of people who have already voted for Trump are simply ill-informed or stupid or credulous fools. We have to stop thinking We are not Them.
To do this, we need to dig deep, introspectively, to feel the draw of The Trumposaur, the pull of his authoritarianism, his promise of dark redemption. We need to admit the extent to which his lies hide truths, and find the middle between our team and his. We need to tune in to and commune with the lizard brain inside us. We need to feel the logic of his allure beyond logic and stop being so freaking civilized. We need to admit, before it’s too late, that The Trumposaurus Rex is an ultimate disruptor because he simultaneously exposes the truth and breaks all the rules of the game.
History, and Trump’s march, prove that elitist judgments and the decorous belief we’re above the fray are no match for a tyrannical bully, a Trumposaurus Rex. We have to join the fray by admitting we are the fray.
The alternative, I’m afraid, ends tragically as it always does when the beast summons the mob. First, the Muslims. Then the Mexicans. Then the blacks. Then the Jews. Or maybe the Jews go before the blacks. Then the press and other enemies of the state, which include anyone who insults him.
How many times do we have to see the film? Don’t think Trump’s Jewish grandson will protect Jews, any more than all the Jewish philosophers and scientists and Jewish good Germans saved themselves. Once you unleash the lizards, no one is safe.
Stephen Berk, Professor of History at Union College, has shown that throughout the Diaspora, with the precision of a machine, every four generations after Jews immigrate to a country they are slaughtered or expelled or both. That usually means an enlightened, tolerant government has failed. By my count, Jews are in the Fourth Generation in America.
I’d say cheers as I usually do, S., but let us leave the cheers for the mob.
Muchas gracias for your nice words about Trumposaurus Rex. Coming from a psychoanalyst, it’s high praise. You boiled down what I was trying to say into its essence: We need to understand Trump through our own psychopathology, not his.
Remember that gruesome scene in Hannibal when Ray Liotta, skull exposed, eats his own fried brain fed to him by Anthony Hopkins, and he thinks it tastes good? Well, I’m feeling like Julianne Moore witnessing it.
Trump narcissism, boasting, outrage, whining, lying, insulting, shouting, bullying charm is catnip for the media. But incredibly, they don’t understand the business they’re in. They think they’re dissecting his actions and informing us. But they, especially the obsessed CNN, are really providing a conduit for his hindbrain to talk to our hindbrains. During our waking moments, we try to ignore and suppress what our hindbrain is singing to us, but it’s always there, whistling its seductive 500 million-year-old tune: “Feed me!” The media are feeding us a part of our brain we don’t get to taste otherwise.
That’s why everyone who tries to analyze or predict Trump’s path to the Presidency with their forebrain has been and will be wrong. Remember when everyone thought he was a joke? Remember when Trump trailed by 10% in all the polls to … everyone? This level of amnesia and denial would be astounding unless we understand it as a kind of brain defect, an aphasia, that is usually an evolutionary advantage but every once in a while blinds us to dangerous realities. We’re trying to peer into the jungle with eyes trained to see only urban architecture and orderly streets and mostly well-behaved humans.
Worse, the jungle we’re trying to see is inside us, and we spend most of our time trying to deny that we’ve crawled out of it. Furthermore, the essence of reason and civilization is to declare that the jungle exists only in others, not in ourselves. Yeah, we got that lizard under control, man. It’s those Others you gotta watch out for. This is the flip side of the tune Trump is singing, and all you liberals out there should begin with a little introspection of your own hatreds before condemnimg the other half of the electorate. The noise of rational chatter by the smart class is unrelenting, deafening … and wrong, all wrong, compulsively, utterly, laughably, tragically wrong.
Even this morning, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination and his two remaining opponents had conceded to him, I flipped channels for an hour listening to the talking heads stumble around somewhat dazedly – and with not a little edge of fear -telling themselves the same comforting stories about how the carnage will surely end. Trump still doesn’t have a chance. The RNC á la Paul Ryan is running away from him. There will be a Third Party on the right. The Republican Party is dead, anyway. Trump will never raise enough money to win, and if he does, he’ll be a liar. He has no ground game. He is unprepared. He doesn’t understand the rules of engagement. He can’t win a debate against Hillary because he gets his foreign policy from the New York Post and his domestic intel from The Enquirer. Hillary’s ahead by 10 points. The numbers show one thing indisputably: HE CANNOT WIN.
Not learning from your mistakes is one thing. But sticking your hand on the stove and wondering where the smell of burning flesh is coming from is another. These were the same folks who said the same thing on CNN every day for the months since Trump started his march. The clutching at straws of reason and spreadsheet confidence that Hillary will obviously win isn’t stupid. It’s a brain pathology.
This also explains the blind bigotry of all the so-called reasonable people. They still imagine anyone who would vote for Trump is an unwashed, illiterate, stupid, sexist, bigoted white man. Guess what? They’re dead wrong. The numbers show it. Everyone has a lizard brain, and the Trumposaurus is singing its song, summoning it from the jungle. Like most of our acts performed under the influence of our lizard nature, we prefer to do it in the dark. You don’t know anyone who is voting for Trump because your friends just aren’t admitting it.
So is there a pathway out of this pathology? You’re the doctor, tell me. As an amateur, I don’t think so. We just don’t have the tools to speak to and activate that part of our brains. Anyone who has tried to beat Trump at his own lizard game, as Hillary is doing with the latest trashmouth ad yesterday, has lost. Think Romney, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, and all the other bodies littered on the side of the campaign Clinton team spliced together so effectively. Trump should take the ad as his own victory video, adding only triumphant laughter. Use your forebrain, and you’ve brought whistles and bubble pipes to an episode of Game of Thrones.
I see no sign that most people have any chance to break down their civility and acknowledge the lizard within, especially on the Left where tolerance and soft speech is prized. Like Clinton the Wonk, they’re still trying to do well on a tough math test, sharpening their pencils and studying their notes, while Trump, who couldn’t pass my freshman comp class, is staging a joyous, cheerful, psychopathic spree. It’s like watching a bad episode of CSI Miami: the team never figures out how to catch the serial murderer because they’re stuck in the lab looking at maps and charts and DNA samples while he’s out stalking the streets merrily doing his thing.
I don’t think Hillary has a chance. Dr.M., I’ll buy you dinner if I’m wrong. The Trumposaurus will do to the nation what he has just done to the Republican party.
Yes, I was in DC for the Trump speech, and Hillary’s, Cruz’s and Kasich’s, to the 18,000 folks at AIPAC.
Yes, it must have been scary for you to see thousands of highly educated, mostly well-meaning and politically sophisticated Jews of all stripes stand and cheer for Donald Trump.
I don’t know what they televised, or what the cameras focused on, but I saw and heard some things that few seem to be talking about. What I saw gave me an insight into the Donald Trump phenomenon, and why – and maybe how – it can be stopped. Certainly, all other efforts so far have failed and, if anything, have helped his inexorable march to the White House. And yes, K., I think he can defeat the anti-telegenic Hillary Clinton. But how is it a buffoon who couldn’t pass a tenth grade civics test might be the next President of the United States?
As you know, because you so roundly berated me, I was looking forward to Trump’s speech hoping that there was more there there. I was hoping that Trump had some kind of plan, or strategy, to disrupt politics as usual with a populist and centrist vision, run the government as a rational business, reduce the debt, show strength to allies and enemies abroad, undo the Iran nuclear deal, and pick his way sensibly and free of party ideology or lobby money through domestic issues.
I came away convinced we’re on the cusp of a dangerous moment in history, one to which Jews should be especially alert.
The Verizon Center venue for AIPAC was perfect for Trump. We might as well have been attending a Wizards game, or the Barnum and Bailey Circus (which was there all this week). A runway from the locker room led to a slowly-rotating circular center stage. Hillary, Cruz, and Kasich simply walked unaccompanied down the long bull run and mounted the stage to standing ovations. Trump, ever the showman, made his entry surrounded by beefy private bodyguards, each as large as an NFL linebacker, wearing sunglasses and black suits. They weren’t Secret Service. Everyone had already entered the arena through Secret Service and Israeli security. He was entering the ring as if for a WWF bout. It was ridiculous, because he was trying to communicate … what? His life was in danger from these 18,000 Jews? He was more important than the others? More powerful? Was this a prizefighter, a rap star, a Mafia boss? Or maybe he really is a coward and needed the extra layer of protection.
The entry with cartoon bodyguards also told us that Trump profoundly misunderstood the setting he was in, his audience, and the occasion. It reminded me of D.B. Norton, the newspaper tycoon in Frank Capra’s “Meet John Doe.” The movie should be required viewing for everyone in this election season. Norton raises a private police force in preparation for hijacking the John Doe populist movement and running for the presidency. His plan is to begin a fascist regime in the U.S. The 1941 movie is clearly reflecting on the rise of Hitler and Mussolini. Capra is warning America that we are vulnerable to the same forces at home.
As Trump took the stage about 15 yards away, I found myself both looking at him directly and also watching his Wizard of Oz magnification in the four enormous overhead monitors. Trump’s weird head was blown up even more than it is on tv. His crazy, swooping owlish comb-over, comb-forward and comb-back “do” is a doesn’t: it doesn’t hide his baldness when lights shine from atop. He’s fat. The blubber on his face, rippling like Jabba the Hutt’s, doesn’t seem to be connected to any muscle or bone, and certainly not to any emotion except self-satisfaction. The tanning bed orange face and white around the eyes are fluorescent. He’s an alien. You wouldn’t invite him back to the party unless it was to have something to titter about the next day, because he looks like the guy who eats all the hors d’hoeuvres. He might also make a play for your wife.
Imagine you told our sons when they were 10 years old to go up on stage in front of their friends and pretend to be president or emperor. They’d thrust out their jaws, tilt their chins up at an absurd angle, shake their jowls, purse their lips, puff themselves up, and nod in imperial self-affirmation. “Yes. That’s right. I’m the President. Uh-huh! That’s me. I’m the President. Do this! Do that! Drop some bombs. I’m smart! I have a good brain!” They’d have us howling.
One of Trump’s tics is to say, “Believe me. Believe me!” The more he said it, the more the crowd giggled. The broadcast mikes may not have picked it up. We giggled because he was so unbelievable and obvious a liar.
Then, at one point, the crowd lost it and howled in spontaneous unison. His script – and amazingly he read from a script, unprecedented in Trump world – had him claim that he read the Iran deal. But his compulsion to inflate took over and jumped out of its cage. “Yes, I read the whole thing,” he ad libbed. “That’s right. In fact, I know more about it than anyone else.” The AIPAC crowd had been living and breathing the Iran deal for at least a decade and had heard every manner of expert. They hooted. Trump, as is his wont, interpreted the derision as affirmation. “That’s right, that’s right!” he went on, misinterpreting the rolling laughter, his jowls quivering in delight.But then, I saw the Trumposaur. It had been let out to feed.
The Trumposaur is to blame for the moment that has given ammunition to the anti-AIPAC press. Trump’s script said, “And in this, the last year of Obama’s presidency …” Another ad lib erupted from Trump’s lips, one syllable: “Yay!” The crowd laughed, this time with him. The Trumposaur had awoken. “Obama is the worst thing that has ever happened to Israel,” it declared, totally winging it. The crowd rose to its feet in approval.
In AIPAC’s defense, because it’s hard to imagine this gang of thousands of Jews utterly losing its senses in unison, many if not most there did think the statement is patently true. Even The Washington Post has called Obama out for the disaster that is the Iran deal. Obama is the worst President for Israel since the Jewish State was founded. The applause erupted unanimously and spontaneously. We would have applauded had anybody said it. So don’t overestimate or misunderstand the applause or ovations for this line. These were not Trump supporters. It is AIPAC’s tradition to cheer for good rousing lines. Standing ovations are not endorsements. On the other hand, you can see how the cameras may have shown us being turned into a Trump mob. And maybe we were. Maybe you would have stood and cheered, too. Yet at the very moment I became part of the mob, I had this sudden schizoid flash of rational clear sight into Trump. I saw, I mean really saw, the Trumposaur in its naked, primitive state.
The Trumposaur is not a reasoning beast. It’s dumb, really. It neither plots nor plans. It leaps on every perceived threat or prey. It is impatient. Its antediluvian grotesquery is there in plain sight. It’s too big to hide and too big to need to hide, after all. It is all instinct and impulse and appetite and forward lurch.
You would think a hunter would need to be aware of its surroundings and have keen sight, but it’s almost blind, which explains Trump’s inability to see what’s in the mirror.
When he perceives an attack, his hearing is quite keen, but he is mostly deaf, which explains his dumbfounding inability to hear howls of execration, his shouting over others, his inability to hear a question asking for specifics. It explains his David Duke excuse (the sound was muffled) and his even more astounding string of idiot lines whenever he’s asked a question about the real world outside himself, about hot button issues like abortion or immigration, about foreign or domestic policy requiring knowledge of the actual workings of the Supreme Court, executive branch, policy, or precedent. NYC cabbies and newly-minted citizens understand the U.S. government better.
The Trumposaur’s primary sense is olfactory. It not only smells the rising blood of the mob, it knows how to bring it out, to get it flowing, to let it bleed, the better to sense its prey and feed. Its only goal is to get bigger and stay big. And to this end, to get the blood flowing, almost any rising emotion will do: fanaticism, hatred, outrage, revenge, envy, adulation, injustice, and, this is critical, fear. Fear is very effective.
Fear summoned the Trumposaurus in the first place. In the very earliest stages of the campaign, when Trump was just running a test flag up the flagpole, before even Fox gave him any significant air time, CNN seized on Trump. It gave him billions of dollars of free media coverage. I don’t know what they were thinking. Maybe they thought Trump was the most ridiculous of the clowns coming out of the Republican Party clown car. Maybe they thought Trump was a good boogey man who would sell a lot of airtime, like his cousin Godzilla. Maybe they thought if they could prop up Trump as a presidential candidate they would deliver the presidency to Hillary. But like any good Greek chorus, they amplify what “The Donald” says, even when they think they are providing counterpoint. The lead story of CNN virtually every hour of every day for months has been Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. They’re doing a great job making him President.
Even Obama berated the press (March 28, 2016) for its irresponsibility in feeding the Trumposaur. CNN became furious and defensive. Yesterday, they turned on their favorite son to defend themselves. One of their anchors defended the coverage of Trump’s campaign because it was like their coverage of Obama in 2008. But no matter. The effect has been, and continues to be, pumping up the Trumposaur. Trump is catnip to the media and he knows it. The media just blink and bloviate in surprise and dismay at his success, caught like deer in the headlights, unwilling to admit they’re feeding him.
The Trumposaur has no idea who he is or how to behave in his guise as a candidate or even as a person. He sees everything and anyone coming at him as either enemy or food. His two modes are fight or feed. Like a frightened boy who happens to be a bit slow and gigantic for his age, he has no idea how he really looks or why people respond to him the way they do. Some edge away slowly when they see the Trumposaur. He’s found by using his size, and puffing himself up even larger, and making loud noises, he can scare away much of the opposition. Those who still come at him he pounces on or eats. On tv, Trump responds to threats by yelling louder, interrupting, bullying.
The beast fills its human host with pathological vanity, narcissism, insensitivity, appetite, and fear. It bloats his belly and distorts his features. It invades his brain so that his world is seen through lizard eyes as a jungle of predatory deals, lawsuits, bankruptcies, deceitful associates, partners, and wives. Look at his pathetic trail of lawsuits in his bio on Wikipedia. Like Mussolini, though he’s had multiple wives and lovers and boasts about them, you have the feeling his promiscuity is just lizard promiscuity. He lurches to mate with any woman who enters his field of vision. He tried to court Princess Diana.
To survive, the human Donald Trump has had to create a character, a skin, a persona, to enable the Trumposaur to interact with its terrifying environment. This persona also gives voice, if barely articulate, to the impulses of the Trumposaur. It serves as bait for its prey. It explains why the persona is always interrupting himself with some boastful, mindless ad lib. It is the Trumposaur trying to sound human. Meet “The Donald.” And I really mean the scare quotes.
No rational attempt to defeat the Trumposaur has done anything but propel him because the Trumposaur has primitive magic. His call summons its prey, the voting, democratic populace on which the Trumposaur, like any good populist demagogue, feeds – otherwise known as the mob. When “The Donald” in one of the earlier debates said, interrupting himself, “I LOVE the uneducated!” he really, really meant it.
And the secret of a mob is that we are all candidates for the mob while denying we could ever be part of one. Are you going to point to a roomful of people and single out exactly who belongs to the mob? Are you sure membership in the mob is reserved for those others, those _________ (fill in the blank): uneducated, unwashed, hillbilly, redneck, naïve, young, Southern, Western, Midwestern, Rust Belt, urban, working class, unemployed, union members, seniors, veterans, working poor, rural, Texans, racists, sexists, soccer moms, angry white men, Republicans, disenfranchised …? No, we’re too educated, sentient, refined, knowing, and civilized to be part of that mob.
But we’re wrong. Trump has the numbers to prove it. His constituency is growing, cutting across all classes and the neat little demographic niches that pollsters and pundits so love, including the educated, lifelong Democrats, women, and even some minorities. That’s why all the syndicated columnists, party mothers, analysts and smart broadcasters not only get it wrong, but are FEEDING THE BEAST. I know PhD’s, billionaires, doctors and lawyers who say they’re going to vote for him. If you don’t know anyone who will, you’re living in a bubble.
That’s because we all carry a lizard brain around in us. It’s there, waiting for the right signal to emerge. Yes, we spend a lot of time filtering it, caging it, burying it, forgetting it. But it’s there. Why else do democracies persistently vote themselves into tyrannies? Why do mobs form? Against all reason.
Acknowledging this is the secret to defeating the Trumposaur. There are only a few routes left to slaying the Trumposaur, now. The first is to starve him. That would require CNN and Fox and even PBS and all other media obsessed and addicted to him to ignore Trump, take the needle out of their arms, turn the cameras off him. Ain’t gonna happen.
The second is procedural and bureaucratic: to hope the Republican party has the wit and courage to turn away Trump’s assault through its own arcane nomination procedures. As Sen. Lindsey Graham said to AIPAC, the Republican party may have to lose an election to save the Republic. Do you want to leave the fate of the nation to the wisdom and courage of the Republican Party? Anyway, as I watch (3.25pm PST Mar 30, 2016) Trump has emerged from his meeting with the RNC. I bet he’s cut a deal with them.
We might hope the Trump is exposed as a clown by the broadcast media more convincingly than he already has been, but I don’t see how. They’re trying awfully hard with little success at finding the line between negative coverage that just gets him more votes, and really wounding him. The posture of The New York Times and CNN and Fox and The Washington Post and all the stately newspapers and news channels that disapprove of Trump openly, is disgustingly pathetic, unconvincing, and misses the point. Forget about my name-calling. The attention they pay to him in attempt to quell his rising force is demonstrably, empirically having the opposite effect. His voter base is growing. He even plays the victim and appeals to how unfairly he’s being treated, poor guy, by the media, the RNC, his opponents, debate moderators … whoever. It works to get him more votes because it feeds everyone’ sense of outrage at the powers that be, that hazy “Establishment.”
We can hope Trump realizes he never wanted to be president anyway, and goes home to parlay his success into more money and fame, but his megalomania is being pleasured too much for that to happen. Maybe we could have turned the tide a few months ago. It’s too late now.
The real solution is much harder. In some senses, it has nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with everyone, you and me and the media as individuals, and all our friends. We have to stop being astonished, like deer in the headlights, stop pretending we’re confused, and stop being dismayed, and stop being so goddamned superior than those Others who are voting for Trump. We have to stop supposing that all the millions of people who have already voted for Trump are simply ill-informed or stupid or credulous fools. We have to stop thinking We are not Them. We need to dig deep, introspectively, to feel the draw of The Donald, the pull of his authoritarianism, his promise of dark redemption. We need to tune in and commune with the lizard brain inside us. We need to feel the logic of his allure beyond logic and stop being so goddamned civilized. We need to admit, before it’s too late, that “The Donald” is an ultimate disruptor. He defies all civilized or political wisdom and decorum because he defies all logic. Then, and only then, can we steel our instincts and sharpen our weapons to fight The Beast in its own jungle. History, and Trump’s march, prove fairness and objectivity and reason and dignity and elitist judgments and the decorous belief we’re above the fray are no match for a tyrannical bully, a Trumposaurus Rex. We have to join the fray.
The alternative, I’m afraid, ends tragically as it always does when the beast summons the mob. First, the Muslims. Then the Mexicans. Then the blacks. Then the Jews. Or maybe the Jews go before the blacks. Then other enemies of the state. Then his personal enemies. How many times do we have to see the film? Don’t think his Jewish grandson will protect Jews, any more than all the Jewish philosophers and scientists and Jewish good Germans saved themselves from Hitler. Once you unleash the lizards in all of us, no one is safe.
Our pal Stephen Berk (Professor of History at Union College) has shown that throughout the Diaspora, with the precision of a machine, every four generations after Jews immigrate to a country they are slaughtered or expelled or both. By my count, we’re the Fourth Generation in America.
I’d say cheers as I usually do, K., but let us leave the cheers for the mob.
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