The B-Rate Used Car Salesman Who Tricked a Gullible, Hateful Nation
Been thinking a lot about the way Trump communicates (if you can even call it that), how his messaging fooled his marks, and where we’ve seen it before. To me, he has always sounded very B-rate used car salesman. He’s a 4 AM infomercial host. Or a sleazy influencer peddling bunk supplements. He’s a more charismatic (in a carnival barker kind of way) and much more shameless version of Fargo‘s Jerry Lundegaard trying to sell the country TruCoat sealant it didn’t need. Except what he is peddling isn’t TruCoat — it’s bigotry.
*Trump’s lips form a sphincter-like shape and world salad spills out*
“This is a tremendous sealant. We looked into it very strongly. It gets the job done like nothing you’ve ever seen. Our competitors wanted it very badly. Oh did they want it. Everybody in the in-DUST-ry did. Yuuuge battle over this stuff. In the end, I won because I have the best words. My pitch was magnificently brilliant.”
*Trump frantically moves his hands like he’s playing an imaginary accordion*
“Anybody who doesn’t have it isn’t going to make it, OK. You’re gone. Out of here. See ya. People are saying that if you don’t have it you’re as good as dead. If you don’t have it, your car is all over the place. It won’t hold up. It’s a disaster. Nobody knew we needed a sealant like this, and that’s OK, but now we know we need it.”
*Trump gives two thumps up and a cheesy grin*
“So you have to buy this beautiful TruCoat. Believe me, I’m the least dishonest car salesman you’ve ever met. Don’t buy from Crazy Suzie or Low-Energy Dan across the street. I’m the only one who can sell you this terrific TruCoat and it will sell out so fast your head will spin. Let’s sign the paperwork.”
*Stands up from behind his mahogany desk, dwarfed by his baggy clown suit and leaning forward like a centaur. Extends his small mitt for a handshake*
Sigh. This is what happened in 2015-16, and 63 million suckers got duped into buying what Trump was hawking. Of course, they wanted to believe. They wanted to buy it. They had been primed for this con (thanks, Fox News and Co.) All they needed was a convincing grifter to give them a push and help them go further with this impulse.
They were angry about having a black president and a woman candidate. It made them feel small (and they are small) because their whole identity hinges on a discriminatory system that picks them as winners and others as losers. They were indoctrinated by right-wing propaganda and blamed poor people, immigrants and minorities for their problems, not the true culprits — Wall Street, lobbyists, billionaires, megamillionaires, corporations and, yes, the Republican Party. Democrats aren’t perfect but compared to the deadly pandemic that is the GOP (now, literally), Democrats are a common cold. They clung to their guns, greed, religion, jingoism and “heritage,” convinced that’s what America stands for, when what America should be is the world’s most successful melting pot. Benghazi and some emails made them forgot all about the Great Recession — losing homes, jobs, retirement.
This charlatan convinced them that his special sealant could take them back to the good old days of the status quo. When white men almost couldn’t fail, the patriarchy was untouchable, trickle-down economics was still a grift that worked and nobody dared to say a critical word about the good old U-S-of-A. America was made perfect from the start and we should get rid of all this progress nonsense.
This purchase was obviously a huge, and in some instances fatal, mistake. Trump has gotten absolutely nothing positive done for working-class people.
His idiotic border wall flushed billions down the toilet. His tax scam hooked up the 1% while worsening wealth inequality by leaps and bounds. His sabotaging of the Affordable Care Act looks particularly egregious during the Covid era. He had a plan for Space Force but not for the deadly disease that has wiped out the equivalent of the population of Des Moines. His abuse of our environment has set us back decades. Hopefully, we still have time to win the fight against climate change but time is ticking. He hired the worst people possible to lead on education and housing. He hollowed out the State Dept. and ruined our global reputation. Nepotism, cronyism and white supremacist domestic terrorism are on the upswing. Trust in the Fourth Estate is on the downswing. This could be a neverending paragraph but I will stop there.
What’s amazing is that probably at least 80% of Trumpers still have no remorse but do have an unshakable conviction they made the correct choice. Thanks to the toxic conservative echo chamber which has become an impenetrable bubble, a fact- and guilt-free zone. Be as selfish and delusional as you want to be and whenever anybody calls you on it scream “socialism,” “personal responsibility” or, if you are really desperate, “Hunter Biden” in their face. Could even whip out “ANTIFA”, “Tom Hanks is a blood-drinking pedophile” or “tHeY wAnT tO bAn HaMbUrGeRs.” Loudly play the hits and avoid dissent. Might as well use those lungs now while you can, I suppose. If Republicans win again they might be permanently damaged due to this never-ending plague.
Anybody else have a family member back in the day who would drink too much, buy something stupid from a TV infomercial during the wee hours of the morning, and then instead of just admitting it was a piece of shit they should trash they cling to it in cult-like fashion and try to convince the rest of their loved ones that it is the end-all, be-all? Annoyed as hell, you’d be like, “get that god damn ShamWow out of my face.”
It’s so much worse now that Trump is the Home Shopping Channel. The products he sells to gullible customers are racism, xenophobia, sexism, paranoia, conspiracy theories and a complete lack of accountability. And even if we cancel this programming here in 10 days, his customer won’t give up on the product he sold them. They’ve believed in it for years, decades in many cases, and were primed to believe they were correct in their conviction.
Where do we go from here? Unfortunately, I believeTrumpers are a lost cause. The goal should be for progressives, liberals and leftists to improve our framing and messaging to keep current and future voters from succumbing to this hateful confidence scam that benefits the megadonor class. Let’s win big and make hate so passé that white nationalists go into hiding and see their numbers dwindle. But even more importantly than that, good progressive policy sells itself. If everyday folks are satisfied with, say, Medicare for All or universal childcare and believe Washington is looking out for them, they are less likely to turn to madness out of desperation. If normie voters finally see a wealth tax slapped on fortunes over $50 million, maybe the takeaway will no longer be that the game is rigged for the uber-rich.
And, yes — A THOUSAND FREAKIN’ TIMES YES — hate and ignorance will always exist and be radicalizing forces. “Economic anxiety” is not an excuse to explain away toxic behavior that hurts vulnerable communities. Bigotry was a pandemic in this country long, long before coronavirus. But if the product (policy) you are pitching speaks for itself, it makes it easier to get voters on board and harder for grifters to make their pitch. Hey, Dems. Look at how popular progressive policy is in polls, get rid of 90s brain and stop being afraid of your own shadows. We could all also benefit from Democrats no longer obsessing over norms and civility, fighting “the right way,” and finally bringing a gun to the gunfight. As someone recently said (wish I remembered who), “when they go low, we drop a grand piano on them from above.” Republican ruthlessness has worked and further convinced gullible voters they picked the winning side.
TL;DR – Lots of people got tricked by a carnival-barking con man because their hate made them blind, we’re hopefully about to end this chapter, but its effects will be felt for a long time and we need to be bold in figuring out how to prevent history from repeating itself again. Also, for my own personal wellness, I needed to vent.