This is the last in a series of posts related to the 2020 election. It consists of a potpourri of topics which were not worthy of deeper analysis as standalone blog entries.
BUT WHAT ABOUT…
The squatter-in-chief may not be able to control or even fake a response to a pandemic, but when it comes to creating a smokescreen to save his own posterior, he is second to none. The latest example is his quite brilliant and well-thought out media strategy to discourage the next attorney general from pursuing criminal charges against the future full-time “prince of Mar-a-Lago.”
Two weeks before election day, when his own campaign’s internal polls confirmed there would be no second term, Donald Trump started questioning why Bill Barr had not yet arrested Joe Biden for a plethora of vague crimes. Most pundits saw this as one last effort to gin up support from his cultist base. But, I believe the ploy was intentionally designed to get the mainstream media to gasp in disbelief, which they did right on cue. Instead of taking a page out of the Ronald Reagan playbook by simply saying, “There he goes again.” Newspaper stories, op-ed pieces and television commentators quickly condemned Trump for actions which made him seem even more Putin-esque. In one form or another, the media’s bottom line was, “How dare he? America is not a place where presidents try to jail their political opponents. Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, maybe. But not here!”
In Trump’s tortured brain, this media pushback became the path to eluding prosecution for federal crimes. However, to make it work, he needed to be viewed as Joe Biden’s on-going political nemesis. Which explains both Trump’s unwillingness to concede this election and the rumor he may announce he will run again in 2024 (another clear signal he knows he lost this time). He has set himself up as the perennial “political opponent.” And you can be sure he will make that clear at each cult rally or television appearance for the next four years (or at least until the statute of limitations on certain offenses kicks in). I can hear him now.
The fake news media said I was un-American when I called for investigations and the possible arrest of Obama, Sleepy Joe, Crooked Hillary and members of the deep state who spied on me and spread lies about Russia and Ukraine to undermine my presidency. Where is the outrage when Joe Biden and his attorney general do exactly that to me, my family, campaign staff and members of my administration? I only threatened to jail them. They want to do it for real
ONE LAST DAY TRADE
NBA superstar Michael Jordan never advanced past AA baseball. Tonya Harding unsuccessfully traded in her ice skates for boxing gloves. A lineup of male and female fashion models too long to list never made the transition from the runway to the great white way. Add Donald Trump to this registry of one-trick ponies. He is a marketer and grifter supreme. He presented himself as the ultimate businessman although he had done nothing more than run a family enterprise. The only surprise is how he was able to continuously find investors and customers for his next venture after so many previous ones had failed.
And now that he is 67 days, 22 hours, 29 minutes and 22 seconds away from either vacating or being dragged out of the White House, he will try and do it one more time. For months I have preached Trump’s lack of interest in expanding his voter base was never about votes. He was cultivating his next target market. And it appears he has tens of millions of potential customers. And what will be selling them? The same thing he has always sold. Bullshit!
Welcome to the next evolutionary stage of media’s decline–the Trump Resistance Network (or some similar appellation), a hybrid of Facebook, Breitbart and NewsMax. Rumor has it the new face of Trump media will be based on a subscription model, the easier to fleece his adoring fans than a cable station dependent on sponsors like My Pillow and Goya Foods. And like most Trump enterprises, it will be launched with a lot of hype and initially will be a financial whirlwind. Just do the math. If only 10 percent of the 72 million Trump voters subscribe at a monthly fee of $9.95, revenues would exceed $850 million annually.
But, even “The Apprentice” could not maintain its initial level of viewership. Within four years it went from the seventh most watched network show to 51st place. A similar decline would reduce revenues to less $130 million a year. But there is one other important difference between “The Apprentice” and this new media experiment. For the former, all Trump had to do was show up before NBC and Mark Burnett would write him a check. Plus it was all profit. He did not have pay for anything. This time around he would be liable for the expenditure side of the ledger. And as he has proven more than once, this self-proclaimed “king of commercial debt” will again end up the “the sultan of financial death.”
Once again Trump will prove he is a day-trader, willing to do whatever it takes to make a quick buck while leaving the those he cons holding the bag.
THANK YOU, DONALD
Over the last four years, there has been one exception to Trump’s unpredictable behavior. You could always rely on him to say out loud those things that had previously only been whispered in back rooms. Never more so then when it came to voter suppression. Just imagine if there were a more competent and covert champion of sabotaging an election. How many of the GOP dirty tricks would have only come to light on election day or as ballots were counted, when it was too late?
As the curtain falls on this election drama, let me take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the megaphone-in-chief for constantly energizing those who so fervently wanted him ousted from office. Equally important, Trump gave us time to counter each and every attempt to deny citizens their constitutional right to vote. Without that advance notice, the “Plan Your Vote” movement would not have been such a deciding factor behind Joe Biden’s victory.
During a recent appearance on MSNBC, Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of the FBI for counterintelligence, stated Trump leaves the White House with a trove of intelligence of incalculable value to the nation’s adversaries. He added, if there is one thing we know about Donald Trump,”… he does not know how to keep a secret.” As an example, he pointed to the disclosure of classified information during an Oval Office meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
All of which raises the question, “Will Donald Trump become a bullhorn in a China swap?” Does anyone really believe this life-long grifter has not thought about trading state secrets for debt forgiveness? Maybe the next CIA director should remind Trump (and Rudy for that matter), although the agency by law cannot spy on American citizens, they are subject to intercepts when conducting business with foreign surveillance targets.
For what it’s worth.