Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, died on November 3, 2020. He lost both the popular and electoral college vote. A map of the United States tells it all; over 70 million people located primarily in the middle of the country, the so-called red states, voted for him. They were hoping against hope that he would survive and show them a favor.
Trump’s marble tombstone, set in a mausoleum, is engraved with these words. “Here lies the greatest president since Lincoln, the most deserving of adoration, a veritable genius that was to be featured at Mount Rushmore. Here lies a president, the only one in U.S. history, who fell victim to a stolen election; he died for all of his believers”.
The byline, spoken quietly by his family, however, states farewell to this narcissistic scam artist. “Thank god this part of the story is over,” and “We can get on with making money, just like before,” said Jared. “Phony real estate school, bad deals for shareholders and inflating income and property values to leverage borrowing is much more profitable than writing books like Obama who made a measly $8 million, noted Jared”.
His widow, Melania, on the other hand, is more careful in her comments, as she recently renegotiated a prenuptial agreement that says if she speaks ill of her late husband, she will suffer financial ruin.
Senator Mitch McConnell delivered the eulogy that emphasized party unity: “We are all members of the same party”, he said. “It is not enough to die at the polls, or in the eyes of the States; we must continue on for what’s right”. Everyone in attendance nodded “yes”.
“Recall scriptures chimed in Ted Cruise who followed Senator McConnell in the eulogy; “he will now come before you and reveille in the glory of the Lord who is wreaking havoc with his scythe and forsaking those who do not believe in him. Look to heaven to see what he shall wreak, and learn from me, for now, and forever”.
Senator Cruise forgave Trump publically for calling his Colombian wife ugly during the presidential debates.
Senators McConnell and Cruise received a standing ovation by fellow Republican senators, governors and the majority of the Supreme Court. He finished his eulogy on a high note “God Bless the United States of America.”
The traditional Republican playbook died with Trump’s election. Many mainstream Republicans, who were once fiscally conservative, and moderate, gave way to ideologues utilizing religious narratives. It is no accident that Mitt Romney, a practicing Mormon, was virtually silent on Trump’s flawed leadership; that Amy Coney Barrett, a member of a religious sect with questionable practices, was appointed to the Supreme Court by a majority of Republican Senators; or that Trump himself appeared with Bible in hand to emphasize the power of his leadership to do whatever he pleased.
God has chosen a path for Trump, one that may save him from foreclosure on many of his properties, going to jail or worse for him, irrelevancy. Given the careful strategy that’s unfolding now, it is highly likely that Trump will go on to found and run a right-wing media empire. At a minimum, he will launch a series of media shows firing liberals and elevating the alt-right. Even Howard Stern, the infamous talk shows host, has offered guidance to Trump: “don’t do it, try something positive”. This positive advice came from a radio show host whose shows have included how prostitutes have sex with midgets.
Trump’s resurrection, however, will incite millions of adherents to wreak havoc on democratic processes, normative and progressive. The evidence to support this assertion is compelling:
Trump is positioning himself as a winner, a media property with over 70 million voters, and 80 million Twitter followers, victimized by a sham democratic process; a kind of American underdog who deserves a platform to proselytize—the voice of the people;
He has increasingly portrayed Fox News as part of the ‘Fake News’ network, too liberal and biased to be trusted with real news;
His relationship with Steve Bannon, and other news sources such as One American News Network and News Max, who have demonstrated that right-wing media businesses can secure investment and build large audiences fairly quickly in the U.S. and worldwide;
The rise of the alt-right and religious narratives via social media channels to reach large numbers of people at affordable costs and his prior experience with Russian agents and a highly qualified tech-team devoted to quietly manipulating voters in 2016 is stellar.
The Anecdote: President-elect Joe Biden will need to be more strategic and adept at managing power than his predecessor Barack Obama. It was, after all, former President Obama who opened the door to Mr. Trump; who handled power so poorly that he accomplished little when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate for approximately two years.
On top of this, Mr. Obama neglected the working class and those most hurt by industrial changes—the entire middle of the country, and especially those located in rural areas. Mr. Obama’s rule was, in reality, a prelude to Trump’s abuse of power, promising ‘hope’ with no political substance, strategy or impact—-leading to further hopelessness and political alienation.
Mr. Biden will need to consciously counter the right-wing media and organizing talents of the alt-right. Suggestions include:
- Stay in touch with the existing power that put you into office, expanding it through the use of small groups. Practice bridge-building ground up, on real projects that have a real social and economic impact.
- Pass laws that hold news networks responsible for truth in fact, without limiting free speech. Trump got away with so many lies that listening to him in an interview on credible news programs—CNN or MSNBC, for example— yielded doubtful content; and almost no newscaster called him out directly on his lies until well into election time, creating a kind of ongoing spectacle. This has further opened the doors to right-wing media: rule by spectacle is part of a profitable formula to attract audiences.
- Focus on incremental victories for existing and disenfranchised social and economic groups, involving these individuals in the process; use the media—or open media channels– to indicate positive, valuable, and impactful projects.
- Reach out and include working-class leaders at the community level, beyond the college-educated and articulate few; without the center of the country participating in our democracy, little of substance will get accomplished.
- Put the Republicans on the defensive through practice; building a narrative of growth and abundance, one district at a time; help the moderate and progressive voices win people over through example, not from the White House Rose Garden but the gardens of every ghetto area. Use taxes to make real practical changes, short and long term.
- Increase the educational component in an applied sense; from food to technology-oriented jobs; engage the corporations to help build and manage technology schools, helping students attend training classes; taxes well spent can have a solid impact on business.
Power for Good:
- Reframe “Make American Great Again”, to “Build the America That Works For All”; using every program to reiterate this message; utilize the ‘Fireside Chat’ monthly, and then bi-monthly to reach disenfranchised workers and under-employed.
- Utilize universities to get out into the community with mental health programs, a train-the-trainer model can easily be developed and distributed online, and post-Covid-19 in person; 1-5 persons who have survived Covid-19 has mental health problems, according to the medical journal Lancet.
- Offer economic benefits—payment—- to any individual who participates in improving their skills or education tied directly to increasing their job status and/or income.
- Eliminate the Electoral College, and take care to inform Mr. Obama when making a speech that the U.S is a Republic, not a democracy; the differences matter.
- Recognize power for what it is: a way to motivate individuals to unleash their better selves and create communities worth living in, today and tomorrow. Rid yourself and the Democratic Party of the Obama effect, motivational speeches, and little or no real outcome. Failure to do so will, once again in four years, lead to a demoralizing victory that’s bad for the country, and the world.