It goes without saying that I'm ardent in my beliefs, but at the same time I recognize that people disagree and, as long as their points are thought-out and well-reasoned, I respect and even understand them. At least I try to. And as a long-time political junkie I've been following this election cycle with intense interest.
A lot of alcohol.
A lot of alcohol.
But until a few days ago I've been completely unable to wrap my head around how Donald Trump could be, well... Donald Trump. Even more, I couldn't grasp how anyone could not only support him, but do so vigorously. Then it clicked in - I understand not only his supporters but him. Every bit of it.
First the more obvious: his supporters. Two words: Fucking Nuts. No, wait, not those two. Ok, yes those two, especially for what's probably the bulk of his fans. AKA the basket of delporables.(#ThanksHillary). But for a subset who probably thinks that they're thinkers there are two more words: Supreme Court. Yeah, this one's been discussed in the media already but what really gelled was how this can be a prime motivator. Supreme Court justices almost always serve for much longer than the Presidents who nominate them and they end up impacting society for generations. When Antonin Scalia died I saw a chance to bring some real balance to the court. Of course the GOP saw that too so they've obstructed Obama every way possible hoping that a Republican would beat Hillary. Well, they're going to get what's coming to them - I'd put good money on President Clinton (yes, a week out I'm still confident she's going to win) nominating someone to the left of Merrick Garland. (Aside: wouldn't it be great if that nominee's name was "Obama"?). To
I've tried to imagine the flip side. What if the GOP had nominated someone sane and reasonable (You're laughing. I'll wait.) but the Democrats had chosen a ranting idiot with no experience and an uncontrollable mouth? Bernie? Nope. Alan Grayson? Closer. Ralph Nader? Almost. Kanye? Ah, there we go. Mitt Romney vs Kanye West. Honestly, I'd vote for Romney. But I'm also not a rabid ideologue. The big picture matters to me, even if it means sacrificing what I want.
Now, as for Trump himself - what explains all of his behavior, going back to the now-legendary elevator descent? Reality. No, not reality reality but reality TV. Think about it: That's the only thing he's ever really done well. He's a lousy businessman and a crummy real estate magnate but he's a good TV host - in the way that a cattle prod is a good way to wake up in the morning. But he's no longer making "The Apprentice". Now he's the creator, producer, writer, director and star of "The Apresidentice". He doesn't actually want to be the POTUS. Why would he want to cramp his lifestyle like that? Think of the freedom he has now to do what he wants, go where he wants, live where he wants, buy what he wants, talk to who he wants, sell what he wants, grope who he wants, say what he wants. He could do none of that living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He may not even realize it but, subconsciously at least, he's doing everything he can to sabotage his own candidacy.
Evidence? Sure, I got ya: He lies far more than any other candidate in history; he rejects science and facts; he perpetuates conspiracies; he retweets bigots; he goes out of his way to insult the largest voting blocs in the country like Latinos, Asians and Women; he comes up with ever-more-ludicrous nonsense - like he's trying to see how far he can go; and most recently he's doing his best to depress turnout of his own voters. He talks about how the election is rigged, which makes people think "why vote - it doesn't count anyway?" He insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he's ahead in the polls and will win on November 8th so voters think "He has it in the bag - I don't need to vote." He fails to capitalize on news that should be harmful to Hillary's candidacy, even going so far as to create his own spectacles that push her out of the news. Last but certainly not least he's told people the wrong day to vote.
So what is his end game? Trump TV. What better way to start a network than to travel the country; hold huge rallies; get billions in free airtime; convince experienced, media-savvy former-politicians to go all out on your behalf; all on someone else's nickel? Give it a few weeks and you'll see his major campaign surrogates with their own shows. Give it a few more weeks and they'll all follow "Sarah Palin's America" into the footnote bin of history.
A year ago if you were to have pitched this script to Hollywood they would have laughed it off as absurd. Soon, though, this script will be Hollywood.
At least it won't be Washington.