SHORT-FINGERED VULGARIAN Donald J. Trump (at left) plots a post-election American media empire according to the two-fisted gospel of Germany’s Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda during the Third Reich, 1933-1945.
Donald Does the ‘Long Con’
Set the dial for ‘alt-right’ Trump TV
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2016 – Thomas Adcock
Fellow citizens of the world, brace your selves for filth heretofore unseen in the moveable feast of political pornography that is Donald J. Trump’s quest for presidency of the United States—an effort he and his collaborators have scripted for Election Day defeat. Alas, I horribly understate my cynical view of this shameless man and his sham crusade in the name of the once legitimate Republican Party.
Mr. Trump’s flop at the polls on November 8 will ring down the curtain on Act One of what flimflammers call a “long con,” the elaborate performance necessary for a flimflammer to realize his true and customarily outrageous goal. I speak here, of course, about the true goal of a short-fingered vulgarian thought White House-worthy by chinless wonders among the Republican grandees and mouth-breathers among the party hoi polloi.
Victory in November was never the purpose of Mr. Trump’s campaign, a cock-a-whoop traveling tent show that shoved aside the Republican aristocracy and replaced it with an amusement machine for pasty-faced provincials risen from the fever swamps of racial and economic resentments, adorned with more tattoos on their limbs than teeth in their heads. The foot-stomping yahoos were under the false belief that Mr. Trump honestly craves their votes; they were and are props for lively television pictures meant to keep the Trump propaganda pot well stirred, very hot, and as eminently watchable as a multi-vehicle car crash.
Throughout the continental journey of his show, the spurious candidate has pursued a distinctly Trumpian holy grail—a vessel by which the Fifth Avenue narcissist might quench a hétéroclite thirst for eternal adoration. Namely, that which shall soon debut here in America as—ta-da!—the TRUMP TELEVISION NETWORK. (The Donald, as the first of his wifely trio anointed him, is a capital-D devotee of uppercase lettering, as evidenced by his bedtime cascade of Twitter screeds.)
As former host of “The Apprentice,” the long running oxymoronic “reality-TV” series aired over NBC stations, Mr. Trump would come to his namesake network with solid broadcast bona fides. The series premise was billed as “the ultimate job interview,” in which applicants for employment within Mr. Trump’s cheesy business empire would embarrass themselves by stumbling through on-screen interrogations and probationary job trials, after which the lucky winner would be hired by Himself. As for the losers, Mr. Trump delivered the snarling tagline, “You’re fired!”
Ironically, The Donald was himself fired by NBC in the wake of his racist presidential announcement from the lobby of his garish, gold-plated capital-TT Trump Tower office building and penthouse residence in midtown Manhattan. Noting that Mr. Trump had disparaged Mexican immigrants during said announcement—“[T]hey’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”—his employer cut him loose in a press release: “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump…NBC Universal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.”
…It was around this time, by the way, that Mr. Trump began filling his Twitter account with reposted memes from Stormfront Magazine, serving as the nation’s leading online source for news that nazis need to know. Its logo message: “White Pride Worldwide.”
An anonymous wag commemorated NBC’s dismissal with a photo-shopped image sent to YouTube—Mr. Trump delivering the rude “Apprentice” tagline, in the form of a banner draped over the entry to The Donald’s tower (see above).
While drug and rape accusations kicked off Mr. Trump’s tent show, the months following were packed with lies ranging from fatuous to monstrous. To name just six tunes on The Donald’s hit parade of hate:
- The father of Mr. Trump’s principal opposition to the Republican presidential nomination, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, was complicit in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
- Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China.
- As president, Mr. Trump will build a “great big beautiful wall” along the two-thousand-mile southern border—with Mexico underwriting the cost of construction. (The funding source is preposterous, of course, but my witty friend Stephen Schneider posits the Great Wall of China as peerless protection. Erected some two thousand years ago, the Chinese wall is twice the length of the great-big-beautiful structure proposed by Mr. Trump. And still today, Stephen notes, there are few Mexicans in China.)
- As president, Mr. Trump will ban entry to the U.S. by all Muslims and impose police monitoring of American mosques and Muslim citizens.
- Families of Islamic State terrorists will be killed.
- American women who find Mr. Trump distasteful are either “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” or “disgusting animals.”
Those who find Mr. Trump’s conduct and rhetoric admirable will fall deliriously in love with the mendacious fare of Trump TV, with which The Donald means to diminish the presidency of Hillary Clinton with hysterical rumors, conspiracies, and disinformation—à la the lily white establishment of the Republican Party and how it challenged, and continues to challenge the personal legitimacy and governing efficacy of America’s first black president. The spectacle will be ugly and outrageous, which is the very formula for successful shock television. Mr. Trump’s putative campaign, waged largely on air, has proven this so; his ugliness has long commanded the lion’s share of TV time and viewer attention.
The enviable inspiration that keeps Mr. Trump forging onward to becoming the veritable Pope of Propaganda is the legend of a sociopath born in 1897 in Rheydt, the industrial town south of Mönchengladbach near Düsseldorf—a man well versed in human perversity and the psychology of violent falsehood. As Old Dead Joe famously observed, “If you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
One can imagine Mr. Trump slapping his forehead on first hearing this theory, and complaining, “Jeez, why didn’t I think of that?” For of course, the Big Lie is his raison d’être. In seven decades of life, The Donald has made an unholy number of people trust in his made-up garbage and codswallop—his Lügen, Müll und Blödsinn. With his career of dishonesty, Mr. Trump carries on a tradition of unhelpful contributions to American culture begun by his émigré grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf (1869-1918), who amassed a fortune as a pimp during the Yukon gold rush era.
Donald Trump has used his skill sets as television blowhard and championship liar to build a cult of personality branded with his personal bigotry, misogyny, and ignorance. His hordes of voting acolytes revere him as an infallible messiah.
And now—on to building the numbers needed to ascend the throne of Almighty God Television! Numbers, please, these being the foundation for godly consummation:
According to a consensus of political scientists and opinion pollsters, this year’s presidential election will draw a combined Republican-Democratic voter turnout of approximately 133 million—reflecting a discount of 1.2 million minor party votes. As I write, Hillary Clinton leads over The Donald in popular vote polling by a five percent margin. Accordingly, her share of the vote would be 69.8 million. Mr. Trump, as the loser, would still clock in with 63.1 million votes.
Think of sixty-three million votes and change—or, conservatively, the more rapturous half of that. In terms of TV audience potential, that number is enormous. Talk about ratings! Talk about ad revenues! Talk about syndication profits!
Act Two of The Donald’s long con shall commence on November 9, a Wednesday—both date and day freighted with history as dank as a graveyard.
On the morning of the ninth, the capital-M misogynist will awake in his penthouse having the night before lost the 2016 presidential race to a girl. A smallish price to pay, according to Mr. Trump’s playbook. For now he and his loyal coterie are unburdened of the campaign beard, free to plot the future of Trump TV as the network sure to replace the reigning right-wing medium, Fox News Television—
HISTORICAL NOTE #1: In keeping with a certain tone evident in Mr. Trump’s presidential bid, November 9 of this year marks the seventy-eighth anniversary of Kristallnacht, the two-day Jewish pogrom in Munich that likewise débuted on a Wednesday. (Herr Trump, who reminds us that he thinks “bigger than big” because he has “a very good brain,” has extended the menu of scapegoats beyond Jews to Muslims and Mexicans.)
—The mission of Trump TV will be to serve the higher-caste interests of an emergent “alt right,” the proto-fascist movement begun back in the 1970s when David Duke decided on respectability, at least in appearance. The nazi sympathizer and former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan shed his sheets and pointy hat, along with his brown shirts and swastika armbands, in favor of business suits and neckties. He practiced chewing until he could do so with his mouth closed; he got himself elected to the Louisiana state legislature; he learned how to play golf with Republicans.
Though he calls himself a “conservative” nowadays, Mr. Duke has not lost faith in the old time religion. Over the decades, he has influenced millions of his Genossen to follow suit, so to speak, and is today among the éminence grises of the alt right. A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate this November, he credits Donald Trump with welcoming discreet nazis and closet kluxers of the millennial generation ito the party ranks. On September 10, Mr. Duke was interviewed in Mandeville, Louisiana by New York Times correspondent Campbell Robertson. An excerpt:
“After four decades, the issues that I’ve spearheaded and fought for are now mainstream,” Mr. Duke said at a seafood restaurant here, sitting across from a large, taciturn diesel mechanic turned bodyguard. Talking of what he called the egregiousness of large-scale immigration, the war on Christmas, the nefarious plotting of the “Jewish elite” and the “cultural destruction” of white America, Mr. Duke was already declaring a sort of victory on the issues: “I’ve won, in the sense that these are now mainstream.”
In contrast to Mr. Duke and his young neo-clan, the audience demographics for Fox News TV, organ of the Republican old guard, have remained stagnant. Fox viewership skews to the tired-out precincts of lower-caste rightists—elderly cranks, harmless howlers-at-the-moon, and armchair droolers who keep their sights firmly fixed on the skimpy skirts and crossed legs of lady hosts.
Of late, sexual piggery on the part of male executives snorting at the Fox trough have delivered the network ever nearer a financial Skid Row. Newsreader Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America contestant, filed a highly publicized lawsuit against Fox chief Roger Ailes, the adipose man-pig who back in 1996 hatched the “news” operation. On September 6, Ms. Carlson and Fox reached a court-approved settlement: She received $20 million (€17.8 million) to keep quiet from now on; Fox issued a written mea culpa for a workplace environment in which Mr. Ailes was comfortable in proffering promotion on condition of coital accommodation. A few weeks prior to the $20 million deal, Mr. Ailes was frog-marched out of Fox studios in New York on the grounds of “loutish behavior.” No matter, Fox cut him a severance cheque for $40 million (€ 35.6 million).
There will certainly be more legal action from emboldened Fox women “stripped of respect and dignity they deserve,” per the court-ordered apologia—which could and likely will be seen by the judiciary as prima facie basis for meritorious litigation. At least fifteen lawsuits are anticipated, meaning millions more in personal gain, millions in immediate corporate losses, and millions more in future ad losses.
Under such fiscal threat, Fox News might seem as ripe for hostile takeover as the disreputable Republican Party. But takeover is hardly necessary. Why not start wholly anew?
Quick as a fox, Mr. Trump took on the disgruntled man-pig as a “political advisor,” a cover for Mr. Ailes’ real task: to once again cook up a TV platform from scratch—this one aimed at nicely-attired, Trump-normalized nativists, radical Christianists, wife-beaters, and homophobes the likes of which we’ve not seen since the glory days of Joseph Goebbels (1896-1945), Reich minister of propaganda in Adolf Hitler’s Germany from 1932-45.
—HISTORICAL NOTE #2: Lest readers see over-abundant parallels between Mr. Trump and leading lights of the Third Reich, consider The Donald’s campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Autocrats elsewhere in political history have employed the identical rah-rah catchphrase, or nearly so, include Herr Hitler. “Macht Deutschland wieder groß?”
Should Mr. Ailes appear to run afoul of a non-compete clause doubtless appended to his $40 million severance package, Mr. Trump made a subsequent sly hire. On August 17, Stephen K. Bannon was brought aboard as top campaign operative. His résumé could logically finger him as creator and maestro of Trump TV, thereby scuttling Mr. Ailes to jurisprudential shadows. Whatever the case, Mr. Trump has his dynamic duo of professional propagandists.
An accomplished agit-prop filmmaker, Mr. Bannon’s œuvre includes a savaging of President Barack Obama as an alleged half-breed Muslim homosexual and illegal alien and a puffy paean to Sarah Palin, the ditzy Republican candidate for vice president in 2008. As the most recent editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, the ultra-Tory magazine, the Harvard-educated Mr. Bannon claims the mantel of alt-right leadership. A sampling of his headline wit: BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY…LESBIAN BRIDEZILLAS BULLY BRIDAL SHOP OWNER OVER RELIGIOUS BELIEFS…WOULD YOU RATHER YOUR CHILD HAD FEMINISM OR CANCER?
With the creation of Fox News in October 1996, Mr. Ailes extended his career in politics, which blossomed in the campaigns of Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush—dirty tricks and calumny, his specialties. His professional life is the inspiration for Jeff Gillenkirk’s novel “Pursuit of Darkness,” about a ruthless Republican operative who has dominated the American political scene over two centuries—as a vampire.
TRUMP TV TALENT (clockwise from left): Omorosa Manigault, Roger Stone, Marco Gutierrez, Michael Folk, David Bossie, Lou Engle, Richard Spencer, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity
As I write from here in the nation’s capital, the Trump TV gang is gathered on occasion of the annual Values Voters summit, an alt-right jamboree of photogenic hosting possibilities for Trump TV. The Donald is here himself, of course, as a speaker. Messrs. Ailes and Bannon are present as well, silently doing possible on-air hiring deals with right-wing hustlers—some fresh of face, others not so much; all yearning for a place in the new normalcy of Trump TV. They are:
- Omorosa Manigault, known professionally by first name alone, is a busty and brainy beauty who came to fame as an “Apprentice” winner. As a Trump campaign surrogate, she explains, “Reality TV has taken over…When you have a big reality TV star as [a presidential candidate], he’s going to have to give his position on serious issues and he may also call people pigs.”
- Roger Stone, a campaign dirty trickster and Republican true-believer with a large tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, is not politick with his rhetorical descriptives. Among them, “stupid Negro” and “cunt.”
- Marco Gutierrez, a Mexican-American and self-proclaimed Trump ambassador to America’s Latino community (and apparent psychological disorder victim), has warned against the horrors of fellow immigrants from the country of his birth: “If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”
- Michael Folk, a Republican member of the West Virginia state legislature, advocates the execution by hanging of Hillary Clinton for “treason, murder, and crimes against the U.S. Constitution.” (Mr. Folk is happy to provide hysterical details for anyone who cares to listen.)
- David Bossie, an especially loathsome Republican campaign operative who marketed recordings of supposed sex chat between former President Bill Clinton and Arkansas television personality Gennifer Flowers.
- Lou Engle, the homophobic anti-Muslim radical Christianist, claims that gay marriage is “more demonic than Islam” and “sexual insanity” that marks an anarchistic Zeitgeist.
- Richard Spencer, president of a Washington-based “white nationalist” think tank, travels the college circuit as a speaker on what he calls “empirical differences between the races” such as “general intelligence.”
- Ann Coulter, author of right-wing jeremiads, takes a modern-day Spanish Inquisition position, arguing that western society would be better off by Jewish conversion to Christianity. As she has said, “We just want Jews to be perfected.”
- Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality most likely to be hired at top dollar by Trump TV, attracted the attention of Donald Trump by way of his peppy distinction between liberals and “conservatives” in the context of national security. Liberals, declared Mr. Hannity, “define peace as the absence of conflict. I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens.”
Defeated presidential candidates usually fade away—Mitt Romney, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore. But not The Donald, who needs attention the way other people need food. Trump Network Television will formalize the defining character of his life as a fabulist. Clearly, he has the chops to carry off his future purpose, as defined in the literary works of a failed Austrian painter—born as Alois Schicklgruber, according to the colorful canard. On the matter of tactical lying, Herr Schicklgruber has this to say:
The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses—a vacillating crowd of human children…ruled by sentiment rather than sober reasoning…sentiment [that is] not complex, but simple and consistent [with] only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred.
Accordingly, as Donald J. Trump says, repeatedly, “Macht Amerika wieder groß.”
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag