I love the writing of Matt Taibbi, even if I don’t always agree with him. He has published a very interesting article on Substack, titled “The Trump Era Sucks and Needs to Be Over” (subtitled “The race is tightening. Is America sure it’s ready to give up its addiction to crazy?”). Note that new polls show that the race isn’t really tightening, but if that meme is what it takes to get an interesting article out of Taibbi, so be it.
Here’s a few quotes from the article:
Donald Trump is so unlike most people, and so especially unlike anyone raised under a conventional moral framework, that he’s perpetually misdiagnosed. The words we see slapped on him most often, like “fascist” and “authoritarian,” nowhere near describe what he really is, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. It’s been proven across four years that Trump lacks the attention span or ambition required to implement a true dictatorial regime. He might not have a moral problem with the idea, but two minutes into the plan he’d leave the room, phone in hand, to throw on a robe and watch himself on Fox and Friends over a cheeseburger.
The elite misread of Trump is egregious because he’s an easily familiar type to the rest of America. We’re a sales culture and Trump is a salesman. Moreover he’s not just any salesman; he might be the greatest salesman ever, considering the quality of the product, i.e. himself. He’s up to his eyes in balls, and the parts of the brain that hold most people back from selling schlock online degrees or tchotchkes door-to-door are absent. He has no shame, will say anything, and experiences morality the way the rest of us deal with indigestion.
Another extended quote:
Trump blew through the Republican primaries in 2015-2016. His opponents, a slate of mannequins hired by energy companies and weapons contractors to be pretend-patriots and protectors of “family values,” had no answer for his insults and offer-everything-to-everyone tactics. Like most politicians, they’d been protected their whole lives by donors, party hacks, and pundits who’d turned campaigns into a club system designed to insulate paid lackeys from challenges to their phony gravitas. Trump had no institutional loyalty to the club, shat all over it in addition to its silly frontmen, and walked to the nomination.
So long as he was never going to win the actual presidency, this was funny. The Republicans deserved it. Watching GOP chair Reince Priebus try to pretend he wasn’t being forced to eat the biggest-in-history shit sandwich by embracing his obese conqueror at the 2016 convention was a delicious scene, similar to what most Americans probably felt watching Bill Belichick squirm at the podium after the Eagles pummeled him in the Super Bowl.
The Democrats aren’t much better, though, and the spectacle of “inevitable” Hillary Clinton being too shocked to ascend to the Javits Center podium, instead sending writhing campaign creature John Podesta to announce through a forced smile that the mortified audience shouldn’t worry and should get some sleep instead, was also high comedy, not that I really saw it at the time.
They all deserved it, every last politician ruined that year. The country did not, however, which is why the last four years have been a nightmare beyond all recognition. The joke ended up being on us.
Unfortunately, Taibbi’s article ends with more of a whimper than a bang, but it is still worth a read. Taibbi’s take on what makes Trump tick is spot-on, and it is something I’ve never seen discussed anywhere else like this.