President Trump is the consummate con man. Show man. No one can dominate the public attention and discourse like he can. He’s superb at what he does.
Meanwhile, of course, the daily barrage of distractions — the show he orchestrates — provides cover for the real Republican agenda: cutting taxes for the rich and their corporations, privatizing governmental functions such as education and the military (i.e., converting them into profit-making enterprises, further enriching those with capital), eliminating constraints on businesses so nothing gets in their way of turning a profit, undermining and weakening the forces of liberal democracy in whatever way he can, and pruning and, where possible, eliminating the social safety net (i.e., overturning Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and its progeny). In short, Mr. Trump has been very good for the elite of this country, his populist persona notwithstanding.
Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear, will arrive at my doorstep today, thanks to Amazon Prime. I shouldn’t read it, but I will. I shouldn’t because it’s part of the distraction. The show. I already know I won’t learn anything new about the man. But it will be entertaining in a twisted way, much like people perversely enjoy seeing wrecks at the race track or fights at the hockey rink. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the man will continue to work to enrich himself, his family and the elites. And the working class, and the poor, will continue to get the short end of the stick. The show will go on. And people will stand cheering at his rallies, oblivious to the myriad of ways he’s picking their pockets and destroying their children’s future.
How all of this turns out will be determined, in part, by the mid-term elections in eight weeks. If the Republicans retain control of the Congress, then Mr. Trump will have a license to do as he wishes, which, basically, means he’ll discard any constraint he presently felt on his autocratic impulses.
He will fire the Attorney General and Special Counsel and clean house in the White House and remainder of the Administration, replacing those who haven’t joined the cult with people who are willing to submit to his authority, kiss his ring and sing his praises, just like the Republican leaders on capital hill have been doing the past year and a half.
He will ratchet up the rhetoric, too, and support it with action. He’ll not only attack the press but also will prosecute whistleblowers, reporters, news outlets and other perceived opponents. He also will incite violence even more than he has to date.
On the foreign policy front, he will finally feel unconstrained and cozy up to Putin even more, while further undermining the U.S.’s traditional Western European alliances.
Some people do not see how the country will escape this period of our history unscathed. They are considered realists by some, alarmists by others.
Of course, some people are absolutely delighted. The value of their companies and stock portfolios has inflated. They see nothing but more money coming their way and, even if they don’t like Mr. Trump’s style, look forward to six more years of wealth accumulation.
I doubt Bob Woodward’s book will make a difference, aside from further fostering paranoia within the White House and a bunker mentality. But the upcoming election will make a big difference, for better or for worse (no matter how you feel about DJT). In short, Vera, the world we leave for you and your generation will be molded, in large part, by the decisions of my fellow citizens in two months. And the only thing I’m certain of is that millions of people won’t bother to vote. And many others will vote to eliminate the few remaining constraints holding this charlatan back.
Because they enjoy the show. And fell for the con.
Update: If you haven’t already purchased Woodward’s book, then don’t bother, assuming you’re someone who follows the news closely. The book sheds no new light on DJT and, moreover, simply fleshes out many of the incidents with which you’re probably already familiar. On the other hand, if you still think DJT is fit to be president, then by all means buy and read the book because, clearly, you haven’t been paying attention.