A felon's second coming

A felon's second coming Featured

THIS begins a series of columns that will attempt to examine this felon who may be gifted by the American people a second chance at governance. Trump's reincarnation is an international concern as the world's hegemon. The impact of American leadership and their policies on the global political dynamics is incalculable and will alter our lives in so many ways as yet unforeseen.

This column will not pass judgment on America's choices, but with millions of our compatriots now living in that land, we reserve the right to help our kin see their way clear through on our best lights. It is not interference, as we in the Philippines do not vote for America's leadership. But we claim familial moral ascendancy — in consonance with the best dictates of our culture. Like this columnist, we have siblings, relatives, children and grandchildren in America. We are family!

Billionaire and business genius

We start with his character and business acumen. Long before Trump became a convict, he had already shown hints of mental and moral qualities distinctive to his type of leadership — possessed of a criminal mind disposed to diabolical schemes. To the manor born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, he is indeed charismatic but flawed, accumulating a business track record that is less than stellar. In the book "The Making of Donald Trump" (Amazon.com 2016), author David Johnson wrote: "Trump has a long history of illegal practices ... [and] profited, thanks to help from known criminals and mob associate... he positioned himself as a savior, a sort of modern Midas with the ability to step in and turn any project into gold."

He was, in fact, building up a reputation as a con man. He projected his brand narcissistically, attaching his name to his assets and business ventures: Trump hotels, entertainment and casino resorts, four separate enterprises that filed for bankruptcy in 1991, 1992, 2004, 2009 and again in 2014. Trump Steaks launched a line of steaks in 2007 and Trump Vodka in 2006, but all failed. Trump Airlines, which he purchased in 1989, ultimately ceased operations in 1992.

Trump Mortgage, launched in 2006, closed its doors in 2007; Trump Magazine, launched in 2007, closed in 2009; and his Trump University, a for-profit-education scam, faced lawsuits and shut down in 2010.

He was fueled by debt and leveraged the same by bloating his assets for maximum bank collateral but falsifying and minimizing the same to the IRS to avoid taxes. He was adept at manipulating the instruments of capitalism to his ends. After all these bankruptcies and business failures, it was easy to transition from a top-tier businessman to a top-rank politician. America gathered him to its bosom as der Fuhrer.

The presidency

Trump's sudden appearance on the political scene was timely. In his book "American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump" (2019, New York Times Bestseller), Tim Alberta wrote: "The 2008 financial crisis brought about an ideological conflict within the Republican Party and the beginnings of a populist mood in the country... During the primary debates for the 2016 election, Trump shattered Republican Party orthodoxy. In response to Barack Obama's presidency, the political right was consumed with racism and ideological zealotry."

In the wake of the total annihilation of his GOP primary rivals and the capture of the Republican Party by his MAGA movement, in his presidency, good but naïve Americans with patriotic intentions were drawn into his circle; thrown in the mix were all sorts of seedy characters — from the disreputable to the criminal-prone, lugging along with them their personal agenda. His successful reality TV show, "The Apprentice," propelled Trump to the consciousness of the TV-hungry American audience, propagating his image as a no-nonsense executive, which was carried over to his "pretend presidency." In the book "Fire and Fury"(Henry Holt & Co., 2018), Michael Wolff wrote: "His (Trump's) was a campaign built to fail, with no intention of actually winning. It only existed as a way to promote his brand on one of the world's biggest stages."

And like his TV show participants, he bullied them all. For those who couldn't take it, he disparaged and insulted publicly like Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State recruited from the NYC financial sector, who once called him a "f*****g moron." The others either resigned, asked to leave, or were fired ignominiously: Jeff Sessions, attorney general; John Kelly, secretary of homeland security and later White House chief of staff, dragging with them whatever shred of self-respect they could gather. James Mattis, defense secretary, a much decorated American war veteran, was sacked, and his replacement, Mark Esper, was later fired after Trump lost the 2020 election. Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of homeland security; Ryan Zinke, secretary of the interior; and Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, all got the boot. His government was littered with the carcasses of men and women occupying a spectrum from the decent to the inadequate to the criminal.

His entourage was a veritable rogue's gallery. Persons who existed in the fringes of the law acted as his "soldatos and consiglieres," with the Donald acting in his role as the "capo di tutti capi." Steve Bannon, his ideological soulmate; Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, he pardoned after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. Roger Stone, his longtime associate, was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering and later pardoned by Trump. Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges. Cohen was a main witness to Trump's recent criminal conviction on 34 counts. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, convicted on multiple counts of financial fraud and conspiracy, was later pardoned and is now reportedly back in Trump's 2024 presidential campaign.

Chances of regaining presidency

He will win again because of two things: Trump poisoned the minds not only of his base but many Americans that the system of justice is impaired. Trust in the blindfolded lady justice has waned as she has taken a peek and pronounced that this was a witch hunt all along and Trump is being persecuted — the mantra of MAGA. Accordingly, from the very beginning, the American elite and the "deep state" have decided to go after the Donald, the leader of America's great unwashed — the basket of deplorables — who for so long have been shortchanged by the American system. Trump burst into the scene upending the Republican Party, whipping up the right-wing base, offering them "red meat" by successfully demonizing the Democrats, led by Hillary, who personified the liberal sectors, women's rights groups, immigrants who cost them jobs, Blacks, and even policies of globalization, deregulation and military intervention abroad, and focusing on regaining a "lost America."

Tim Alberta may be correct that "...Trump evoked a lost America, an America of steady jobs, white picket fences and 1950's social attitudes. Crucially, it hinted at a much whiter America."

If Trump succeeds in feeding into this bizarre nostalgia and dredging up the simmering and dormant racism of white America, he will assume the 47th presidency in 2025.

To be continued

 

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Read 136 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 July 2024 05:29
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