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Rebecca Gordon: All Eyes on Nevada
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The other day as I was passing through a waiting room in my gym, I suddenly saw — well, who else in 2018? — Donald Trump on a giant TV screen. He was trying on a specially made hardhat and preparing to address the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention. (“We are truly grateful to our electricians, our wiremen, linemen, engineers, technicians, journeymen, contractors, and apprentices — oh, I love that word. That was a great — I love the word ‘apprentice.’ [Applause.] I love that word. You know, I did that show 14 seasons, and then I left. They wanted to sign me for three more seasons. I said, ‘No, I’m going to run for president.’ [Laughter.] It’s true.”) And one thing struck me from watching his face, something we never cease to do these days: he’s having the time of his life. No kidding. He’s the center of everything, the beau of every ball. He’s historic! Yes, he truly is! No one has ever… no, never… been faintly attended to this way in the history of the media… in the history of anything. Period. Exclamation point!

Why would he want to do one thing differently? I can’t imagine. And any moment he’s feeling even slightly down, all he has to do is hold a rally and be buoyed and cheered (in both senses of the word). Really, it’s his world and welcome to it. Yes, as the New York Times revealed recently, so much about the story that got him elected president was a con. He wasn’t a self-made man, or rather a self-made billionaire, but a daddy’s boy, a “self-made sham.” He was already pulling in $200,000 a year (in today’s dollars) by age three and a millionaire, thanks to daddy, by age eight. And he and his family, the Times suggested, cut corners and cheated on their taxes to give themselves money galore from their dad’s businesses even as The Donald himself bounced from one disaster to another. (Who even remembers the Trump Shuttle or the moment the Trump-owned Plaza Hotel went bankrupt, not to speak of those five Atlantic City casinos that went down in a heap?)


But here’s the thing: none of it really matters. As Hillary Clinton and crew didn’t understand when it came to The Donald’s unreleased tax returns in 2016, Americans love a con man. It’s in the American tradition to admire someone who beats the system (even if you can’t). And that applies to taking daddy’s money, too, and claiming otherwise. Don’t think for a second that it will shake his adoring base. The catch, of course, is that while Donald Trump can get away with being a self-made sham, most Americans can’t and when the fat hits the fire — and it will sooner or later — he’ll undoubtedly escape with the dollars, as he has in the past, but his base and so many other Americans won’t (any more than they did in the 2008-2010 Great Recession).

Right now, the checks on him are so minimal that he can live it up until hell freezes over, which is why the coming midterms are undoubtedly an election for the ages. Whether it’s a blue wave or an orange one will matter bigly, which is why those who are working to ensure that the oranging of America won’t go on forever may be the unsung heroes of our moment. Here, then, is a report from TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon, who usually brings us news about American torture practices and our never-ending wars, but in these months has found herself on another kind of front line entirely — in Nevada and deep in the mid-term moment.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump 
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  1. Christo says:

    Something written by a woman. I’ll pass.

  2. MBlanc46 says:

    We shall see. Of one thing there is no doubt: Putting the Dems back in power will be the end of Western civilization in the US.

  3. …Americans love a con man.

    That may well be true. However, Trump isn’t the first, and he won’t be the last. As for Hillary not understanding, that’s laughable. There’s a reason Trump can get away with calling her “Crooked Hillary”, and it has nothing to do with her deportment.

  4. Da Wei says:

    “Americans love a con man.”

    Hell, they’ve all been cons.

    Americans love a showman.

  5. Curle says:

    The ‘struggling’ mixed race kid Obama who grew up in an apartment by a furniture salesman grandfather failed to mention it was an high-end apartment and that his grandmother was VP at a local bank. Prior to a ritzy zip code in Honolulu the family, pre-Obama, lived in a ritzy zip code in Seattle. BTW – I don’t recall Trump selling himself as ‘self-made’ but instead successful. This is a threadbare hit the Ds always use. Used it on both Bush’s.

  6. “But here’s the thing: none of it really matters.”

    This is why H.R.C. ‘lost’?

    “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”

    • Replies: @EH
  7. Patricus says:

    Trump inherited about 40 million dollars, his share of the family estate. That was a lot more money at the time than it is now. He could have lived a playboy lifestyle and never worked. He chose to try to make something of his advantages and with considerable successes as well as some failures. What is the point of hating a man because he came from wealth? Is everyone born into good fortune despicable? Are those born in drainage ditches the only worthy Americans?

    Trump saw something all the other politicians missed. Most Americans are disgusted with the regime. They see bitter failures for decades. They see the country overwhelmed with indigents from all over the world. They see how manufacturing has been largely removed from the country and working peoples’ incomes have stagnated. Current wars go on for decades and there is no hope of any benefit to the nation. Our debts can probably never be paid. Regulations strangle innovations. This is what the old regime brought us. He is determined to do something about these problems and there have been some successes already.

    He maintains a grueling schedule (in his 70s) and gets to listen to bitter critics daily. When he flies to the hinterlands to give a speech the building is packed and thousands stand outside watching big screens. Someone seems to appreciate Trump. He will probably be consequential. There has been no president equal to him in my lifetime. Perfect? No way. He seems to be what is needed now.

  8. MarkinLA says:

    What Hillary (and this author) really didn’t understand was that Americans hated a lying POS that hated them more than they loved a con man who seemed to be interested in their plight.

  9. EH says:
    @james charles

    At one time I thought Palast was an investigative reporter. That article convinced me he’s a complete hack who is committed to covering up and enabling the Dems’ voter fraud.

  10. Anonymous[748] • Disclaimer says:

    Yes, as the New York Times revealed recently…

    Funny – we still have people who will combine the NYT & “revealed” unironically.

    Trump is an asshole – and he’s compromised – but you have no clue. You’re just an emotional, naive, gender-fluid (gaseous, really) SanFran “professor” following the Global Deep State script. Wake up!

  11. And one thing struck me from watching his face, something we never cease to do these days: he’s having the time of his life. No kidding. He’s the center of everything, the beau of every ball. He’s historic! Yes, he truly is! No one has ever… no, never… been faintly attended to this way in the history of the media… in the history of anything. Period. Exclamation point!

    Gimme a break. Gordon must be fresh out of college. No one ever basked in such a glow more than Bill Clinton. Clinton’s glow was a far more loving glow, Bi-Partisan. For the first term anyway. Bill Clinton was Elvis, the Beatles, he was Tiger Woods-big and then some. And no one loved the job more. Trump and Bill Clinton share much, but not the love that comes with being the darling of the media. Certainly no one had the Presidential Glow of Love since JFK. Clinton had it. Trump has something else entirely. But then, he’s a Republican.

  12. Stogumber says:

    When I read Engelhardt’s introduction, I really attempted to believe that Engelhardt cares for “his base and so many other Americans” who (as he says) will be losing from Trump’s presidency.
    My attempt was unsuccessful.

  13. By 2015, the state of the country looked hopeless, as in no hope at all. The country had been fighting an endless series of wars for reasons that had nothing to do with the interests of the American people, mass immigration had been radically remaking the destiny of the country in radically unpredictable ways for half a century with no end in sight, our social welfare policies paid low IQ Americans to reproduce while encouraging high IQ Americans not to, in school our young were taught to hate themselves while outside of class Hollywood filled their heads with a distorted and venomous history, my people, whose country this was when I was born, and who will have been disempowered by the time I die (and even genocide is no longer out of the question) were the helpless victims of history, yet, despite the obvious catastrophe each of these and other conditions represented, not only was there no serious discussion to change any of these fatal flaws in our country, the odd protest risked bringing the charge of anti-Semitism and ruin to the protester clear-sighted and brave enough to lay the blame accurately at the feet of the media. No hope at all. Bleak, bleak, bleak.

    Then Donald Trump happened. He beat the media. And that is everything. I don’t care if he spends every morning grabbing pussy and every evening dining on barbecued immigrant toddlers, he beat the media. There is, against all expectations, hope.

    So, Tom Englehardt, your attack on the President’s “con”, your hatred of the wealth he was born into, falls very flat indeed.

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