Swamped as we are with ear-splitting humbuggery, who’d think a pugnacious, misinformed lightweight like Donald Trump would stand out? Not that it didn’t take decades for his infantile celebrity schtick (being rich = being great at everything) to corral collective suckers. How can Trumpettes “think” he’s a “straight-shooter who tells the truth”? Obviously, neither Trump nor his rally noise-makers, know the appalling legacy of America Firstism, this weekend’s Know-nothing foreign policy default.
That Trump, whose singular “greatness” is being our greatest public liar, recklessly slams all “enemies” as “the worst liars” imaginable — that feat explodes irony with the same force by which the Donald nukes the truth. Are there no ready cures for this steroidal Pinocchio? In fact, Trump is a demonstrably inept, gratuitous liar and self-defeating loudmouth: having captured all the backward males, his misogynistic litany offends women by the millions without electoral offset. Did he not lose far more than he gained by needlessly denying McCain’s heroism? Or demonizing all foreigners as criminals?
The way to defeat Trump, and his empty, reality-denying statements beyond disproof, is pulverize his primitive magical show, a fake storyline in which reason gasps for breath. You can’t argue directly with sneaky non-statements, nor win by throwing mud at an expert slime slinger. Instead, let’s deconstruct the groundless Trump worldview, then cement the consistent lies to the unholy source and his ultimate bottom-line: remorseless self-promotion.
Trump doesn’t really target real-world opponents, just uses them all to disdain reality. He finds plausible openings (like gross campaign funding), then reduces the entire exchange to bribery (pleading guilty as charged) as if all politicians are rote, knee-jerk puppets. Politicians in fact take money from players with contrary needs and objectives; while money buys access, what donor figures he’s buying every specific vote of every recipient?
Disproving Trumpism is not that different from disproving historic, global delusions, like an earth-centered solar system, disease caused by four humors (thus bloodletting works), that human evolution is not about Nature, that what our naked eyes see is all that exists, or that religious metaphors (like Eden, Original Sin, salvation) are literally true. Such mental shifts begin by pinpointing self-contradictions, non sequiturs and logical fallacies, let alone with Trump indefensible, marginal lying.
Undermine Mindset, Implode Narrative
The assault must focus on source (the con man), context (infinitely complex presidency) and motivation (perpetual narcissism owing to Trump’s Attention/Love Deficit Disorder). You can’t readily dispel with logic a storyline that comes without evidence (Jeb is low energy, immigrants are rapists, the country is going off the edge). But showing these are biased fables is a first step. One counters Trump’s hustling lies with adult storylines that answer to complexity PLUS exposing his character flaws, especially the manipulation of outrage to divide and conquer, spouting racism, violence, misogyny, and the totality Paul Krugman calls “invincible ignorance.” Personal attacks (his divorces, bankruptcies, money-grubbing practices) won’t work because Trump will then muddy the water with a flood of fudging.
Trump doesn’t simply misrepresent reality (as if assuming something confirmable is “out there”) but pathologically invents phony storylines, wrapped with plausible beginnings, middles and ends. That’s what makes him a better story-teller/entertainer than imperious opponents like Ted Cruz, or heroic reformers like Bernie Sanders (too many gnomic declarations, not enough informed stories). Trump’s con first spotlights the self-evident (terrorists can bomb anywhere or immigrants begin as foreigners), then inserts infantile play logic (let’s just bomb or wall off all bad guys), then caps perversity with impossible promises (ban all Muslim travelers; build physical barriers, make American great by indicting interlopers). This sequence from a crackpot who rails about porous borders, then bizarrely assumes skilled terrorists wouldn’t laugh at border agents holding Stop signs.
Importantly, magical stories “make sense” of induced befuddlement that boggles dim neighbors. The low-information and terrified Tea Partier clings to magical thinking — that bedside guns make you safe; that terrorists envy our freedom, not hate us for brutality; that Obama’s an illegitimate, America-hating tyrant; that slavery was a good thing; even that braggart billionaires are blue-collar buddies. Are Trump’s outpouring of whoppers any less plausible for this gang?
While fact-oriented lies are disprovable, magic thinking is more corrosive, reinforcing closed worlds and capped with goofy leaps of faith, religious, cultural and economic. What drives every Trump fairly tale is delusion about the Donald’s godlike eminence: because he’s rich and famous, he can fix anything. Even return greatness in one fell swoop to a cliff-hanging realm teeming with losers.
There Oughta Be a Law
Fraud is laid open to exposure when the absurdity of the entire sequence is revealed, pinpointing when the hustler makes his pivotal move (“you are special; you deserve something for nothing”). Similarly, slimy internal illogic must be outed: thus, a non-denial denial (“what, I didn’t know Cruz had affairs”) must be unpacked and its manipulative sub-test unearthed (“true or not, see Cruz isn’t so pure; his lying hypocrisy offsets lies about my flaws.”). The Big Lie succeeds by constant repetition but so does the Big Truth when verbal malpractice is brought to light.
Whereas good fictions expand consciousness, Trump’s bad fictions, and phony magic wands, simply pitch a pig in a poke, synthetic pork with or without lipstick. Trump is already in full-time deal-making mode, hornswoggling rightwing gulls who think him immune from normal standards, like logic or evidence. Suckered, reality-show fans are so psychologically needy, they bow down to Trump’s folly as they do to Birtherism, that neocon wars are winnable, or that low fat cat taxes lift all boats.
One battles evil stories (read propaganda) as one defeats defiant evil-doers (fascists, plantation slaveholders, criminal billionaires, or dirty tricksters) by imploding their worldview, then proving how self-interest (or self-promotion) are their real gods. One defeats master deceivers by exposing core motivations and measurable payoffs, then displacing propaganda with verifiable narratives.
Of course, nearly all politicians have malleable “principles” but Trump’s dominance obsession trivializes principles as fluff: his dog-eat-dog world (some Christian!) demands all the world be framed as pro wrestling matches in which rules don’t matter and the end justifies all means. He’s as bad a conservative Republican as he was a dubious liberal. Trump isn’t exploding only GOP politics, but remaking the convention that politicians must present a political philosophy. Trump is the ultimate director/actor (disguised as negotiator), playing both ends against the middle because he has no middle, no moral principles other than wealth and branding the Trump rump roast.
It’s the Magic Show, Stupid!
Thus the ultimate bunker buster against Trumpism is to demolish his fraudulent magic show, not let him flee when his incompetence is scrutinized. Trump exemplifies the “triumph of the will” school in which he’s the special, self-appointed strongman destined to save the world by ruling it. His great vulnerability is his empty, amoral magic shell game has neither hidden bean, nor relevance to the world outside his insularity.
The only ways to banish Big Lies are to insist on telling Bigger Truths. The Dump Trump brigade should be renamed the “anti-fake magic, pro-reality” movement. The finale is proving con artists make very bad leaders, just as they make bad spouses, business partners, team mates, school mates, and friends.
Satan, the “father of lies” for Christians, is metaphor yet Trump is his extant spawn, confirmed by Politifact as the most lyingest politician. Thus, let’s have all media voices, small and large, trumpet Trump’s anti-thought storylines, with corrective documentation. That stages a public trial with independent testimony and eventual media conviction. Non-stop repetition answers Big Lies (in story and fact) with Big Truths, in this case Trump is a ruthless, though careless pathological liar. Muslims in NJ cheering after 9/11?
Pathology gets ugly when stripped of its seeming glamor, then dragged naked, kicking and screaming into the sunlight. The overall task of such enlightenment — to use Trump to demolish the most corrupt, rightwing magic shows — is the first, best way to advance the Bernie Sanders’ revolution.