Master of Media Mayhem Self-destructs
Early on, DJ Trump perceived his talents more suited to play the truculent Lord of Misrule than plausible presidential prospect. Or competent campaigner. Or rational leader. Or trustworthy man. From Birtherism on, Trump gleefully stalked the opposition as a calculated agent of disorder. That’s why today’s scorched earth, “everything is rigged” demolition derby presents nothing new. De-legitimizing rivals, polls, the media, and his own disloyal party, even trustworthy national vote counting, replicates his opening bad faith gambit. Does he now think more fact-free recklessness, let alone again seeding criminal, post-election violence, attracts undecided voters?
But while hardly smart politics, that’s exactly what any nervy Lord of Misrule does: drop incendiary bombs on authority and convention without concern for short or long-term damage. Even winning. Trump’s con, advanced but not created by nasty sex scandals, is clearer than ever. To qualify as Lord of Misrule, Trump must trivialize everything “normal” while repeating his deranged leap of faith: “I alone will fix all problems.” That justifies his wild sound and fury — that reality sucks, criminals rule, government stinks, and the system is rigged beyond repair. Otherwise, this paragon of virtue wins going away.
Awarded full leeway by the spitting-mad, alt-right primary gang, Trump’s sustained Lord of Misrule must lie, distort, falsify, demonize, invent bizarre conspiracies — and then blame everything bad on everyone else. Think juvenile, bullying 4th-grade lord of misrule. If Trump (in effect now conceding a bad loss) didn’t scream “everything is rigged” against him, he’d flunk out of Trump U.’s Dept. of Misrule.
And yet one “fix” is in for the overdone lord of misrule: a strict end point to his status, usually no more than a month. Unsurprisingly, never knowing when enough is enough, the tin-ear Trump is way past his public pull date, thus now invites a kind of retribution for violating agreements. Consider: had Trump made a splash but lost the GOP primary, his national reputation as gadfly would have survived today’s ongoing, grinding wipe-out. Normally, the Lord of Misrule is immune from penalty (to encourage “unshackled” directness) but not when abusively defying mandatory time limits.
Romney, Right for Once
Mitt Romney, of all people, pinpointed Trump’s phony political persona, blasting his own party nominee as fraud and con man. No politician would feverishly — and for months — play up his every disqualifying character, judgment and resume flaws. A Lord of Misrule, however, is tapped to ridicule the reality of the established order, good, bad or indifferent. Trump simply amped up the arrogance quotient, with a long shot bet that full media vetting would not inevitably expose his scam. That turned out well. Really, in the last weeks have we learned anything new — or have reluctant millions simply been forced to see what was there from Day One: a twisted, vile parody of our presidential prospects?
In its innocent form, the Lord of Misrule traditionally plays the King of Fools, the master of games and holiday revelry (awash with carousing, delinquency and drinking). Such approved rule-breakers mock the entrenched order, without concern for reason, evidence, or good faith. Indeed, bad faith is what sets these figures opposite established leaders (thus their noblesse oblige for the ritual): a week or two of idiotic folly helps reconnect the populace to topdown leaders otherwise viewed as neither wise nor good.
The Lord of Misrule holds little sacred, gleefully taking liberties, pinching bottoms or tweaking breasts, even of royalty. One darker, Roman ritual nominated a disrupter, after a month of high-jinks, was sacrificed as scapegoat to offset communal crimes and misdemeanors. For the darker Trump misrule, crudeness is all, malice is all, zero compassion is all. Bingo, whenever Trump comes to a fork between nasty buffoonery or electoral prudence, he jumps the shark, going full, unPC rogue.
Today’s final days dramatically confirm Trump is no amusing master of revels but vicious, systemic destroyer, demonizing whatever voters, custom, or legal processes won’t crown him king. Better to be the cruel King of Fools, the malicious master of mayhem, than seriously contend for office his campaign negligence forfeited. Thus this Lord of Misrule now grimly maximizes his negative impact, doubtful real power is within his grasp but seemingly oblivious that time (and majority rule) will cement permanent family infamy.
Penalty for Trump?
Unclear still what personal price Trump will pay for overplaying his hand, especially stupidly doing the same schtick and expecting different results. Unfortunately, money could protect Trump from penalties: he didn’t spend his millions while getting pulverized. Perhaps sufficient humiliation will impede the expected play for a Trump media/cable empire. So far, neither his skill-set nor acumen are good enough to transform trollish bad faith to perpetual “burn down the house” cable jeremiads. The future will certainly devastate his indefensible absurdity that a centrist, wary Clinton administration dooms America and the world, if not civilization.
Ultimately, hard times, polarity, and refusal to be a serious candidate informed Trump as Lord of Misrule. These aspects feed on each other. Unexpected primary success did not educate Trump but, au contraire, cranked up abusive misbehavior, shifting from untenable lies to outlandish conspiracies that redefine political malpractice. Devastating the GOP and its primary was not enough: this angry malcontent had to decimate a national election, if not the legitimacy of national elections far too multi-faceted to be “rigged.”
Extremism Indicts Itself?
Thus, by Trump’s crazed concoctions, Hillary must not just be corrupt and criminal but lack stamina and competence. That excess ends up making Hillary more appealing — if only as the UnDonald. In fact, there are arguable benefits to Trump’s performance: he not only amplifies internal GOP contradictions but looks to whack Tea Party extremism. The great, looming irony is that if Trump tanks, losing red states like GA or AZ, then centrist liberalism returns to power, perhaps for a generation. That retrenchment (even the reversal of Reaganism) owes Trump’s overblown, tin-ear Lord of Misrule no small thanks.
The best, larger result — a crystal-clear electoral rejection of the insular, racist, misogynistic, ignorant GOP base — could immunize America from the darker angels of our national character for a while at least. A sound-enough defeat might even teach future Republicans how to dispatch another round of Trumpism. Of course, if any dimwitted GOP primary prospect had enough smarts to vet Trump fully during the primary, thus exposing a sexual predator, Hillary would not look like our presumptive first woman president.