Like Catiline, Donald Trump is a failed businessman turned petty conman who got lucky. He has been bankrupt six times and even the American banks who are famous for their shady dealings would not lend money to him. This is probably why he turned to Deutsche Bank and Russia, and while we do not yet know the extent of his dealings with them, it is now apparent that they involved money laundering and the Russian mafia. His most public recent scam prior to the election involved Trump University, which, of course, was not a university at all; read about the scam here. The fraud case was settled out of court by Trump for $25 million a couple of weeks after he won the election. He also has a record of defrauding his workers, not paying his debts, a long history of bigotry and racist business practices, and the number of women who are formally accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct is currently at least 18. In another country or another period of US history Trump would probably be in prison and if Trump were a Democrat he would not have lasted a month in office (imagine what would have happened to Obama if he was responsible for just one of the daily Trump fiascos). However, he was lucky enough to live during a period where the rich and famous are never imprisoned and Republicans do not have to live by the same standards of decency as the rest of us.
The luckiest publicity stunt in history?
Trump’s election run in 2016 almost certainly began as a sleazy publicity stunt. He had pulled an identical stunt before the 2012 presidential run as a means to secure another season of his television show “The Apprentice”. At the time, MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell correctly predicted the exact date that he would withdraw – 16 May 2011 – the same date as the announcement of NBC’s primetime schedule which included a new season of the show. His 2016 run, which started in 2015, probably began the same way, but it backfired when his vulgar and racist comments caused NBC to cancel the show in August, which followed their decision to no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in June. He would have decided to work a new angle at this stage, still along the lines of using the presidential run as a publicity stunt for TV, but for Trump TV, which he was apparently pitching to Roger Ailes at Fox Corp. Somewhere along the way he met with one of the Republican Party’s top bundlers who has been credited with giving him the idea of running as a populist candidate (probably as an excuse to get out of the room). It is clear that he never planned to win and that doing so was horrifying for Trump and his campaign. As we established in the last blog, Trump’s presidency is due to the Democrats choosing to run possibly the only candidate who could lose a presidential election to him. Add to that the enormous bias of US elections towards the Republican candidate and it was just enough for him to blindly stumble into the presidency.
A tale of two idiot rich boys
The parallels between Donald Trump and George W Bush are remarkable. Both were born into high socioeconomic privilege, both are lazy benefactors of extremely wealthy parents, both have a string of failed businesses behind them who were mysteriously bailed out by “generous” foreign investors, and both are poorly educated and of extremely low intelligence. They became president, not through any talent, merit or public standing, but simply because they were extremely wealthy and extremely right wing during a time when the system is set up to strongly favour the wealthy and right wing.
Worst president ever?
I think the title of Matt Taibbi’s book sums it up well: Insane Clown President. There is no nice way of putting it, Trump is a gibbering imbecile with the mental capacity of a child. He has no understanding of the job that he has stumbled into and no comprehension or compassion for the amount of damage that his administration is doing to the country and the world.
How long will Trump be President?
Many are predicting that Trump will be removed from office before he completes his first term. Many cite his poor publicity numbers as evidence that the Republicans, terrified of election losses, will remove him, or that Democrats will join Republicans to pursue proceedings to have him removed from office. Those making those predictions have an unreasonably optimistic view of the state of US politics today.
Popularity ratings make no difference; if they did then Trump would never have become president and Clinton would never have become the Democratic candidate. The government apparatus is so corrupt and broken that it cannot even pass a budget to fund itself without shutting the government down, let alone undergo proceedings to remove a president from office. The Democrats are so weak that they are incapable of standing up to Trump, as they have demonstrated with his ludicrous cabinet appointees and, most recently, with the budget giveaway.
I make the following three predictions with absolute certainty:
(1) Trump will never be criminally prosecuted;
(2) Trump will never be impeached;
(3) Trump will still be president in 2020 and will run for a second term. I place his chances of winning that second term at no less than 50%.
It is a commentary on the state of the US government that such a man became president and that, despite the numerous mechanisms within the Constitution for just such a situation, is too corrupt and dysfunctional to remove him.