Out of 350 million people, the best we can do is this parody of a man, a caricature crafted to amuse, horrify, and threaten in the same sound bite. They are talking about him in the cafés, bars, and kitchens of the American Riviera. He’s spoken of as if he is an actual human being and one who can fix a broken nation. He’ll be “interesting.” They can’t “buy him.” He “tells it like it is.” “I love uneducated voters,” he says. “Liars,” for him, abound; many people are, simply, “stupid.” He almost seems partially palatable as the rest of the Republican carnival act decants on and off the bloodied dais.
To whom do we compare this preposterous martinet? Well, we have Ted Cruz — the Joseph McCarthy doppelganger specter — roaming the dark side of the American political psyche, or Marco Rubio, naïve, venal, ambitious, and dazzled by a God who was, for him, first Mormon and now Roman Catholic. Jeb Bush was in one family compound or another knocking, listlessly, the dust from dynastic debris and the ruin he never saw coming. Chris Christie was blustering somewhere — a fat, tough guy who seemed intent on annoying everyone in New Jersey or wherever he took his schoolyard bully act. Kasich just moans, strangely, about “women coming out of the kitchen” and the great and inherent hardship faced by a boyhood with a father who was “just a mailman.” Or Carson, Jindal, Huckabee, Santorum, and Perry — these hapless mediocrities or borderline loonies make Trump stand out in bold relief as being forthright, incorruptible and bold. No matter that he has no policy, political experience or shame. How bad can it be? He might not be “intelligent,” but he’s “smart.”
We need not give him any more ink by naming him. The Europeans will look at us like the stereotypes we will have evidently become: reckless cowboys itching to carpet bomb, round up nonwhites and Muslims, and generally be loud, overbearing, insensitive, and annoying. We are, perhaps, about to trade in the controlled elegance, class, and circumspection of President Obama for an admitted huckster with very bad taste and a creepy compulsion to put his name everywhere and on everything he can. It’s just the sort of compulsion of which the Founding Fathers were so wary. It’s why there are three branches of the federal government.
This wall, its construction and funding for provided by, of course, the Mexican government, will be “a beautiful, beautiful wall.” We won’t let any Muslims in some door through which we will be escorting 12 million “illegals — rapists and drug dealers” south of the Rio Grande.
And when, in the second year after taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it all hits the fan, we will have seen far too much of the scrawny wizard behind his golden curtain and will need to abandon the Gipper’s “Shining City on the Hill” and technicolor Oz, too — with its flying monkeys and dancing midgets — for the dustbowl gloom of a wind-beaten, black-and-white Kansas. We’re going to be refugees at home.
We’ll spend the evening hours searching the night sky for some omen, some assurance that there is an exit from Gotham. The Penguin is in the Oval Office, and we will look all about us for the Batman we will so desperately need.
But me, I think I’ll move to Canada again, rent a small efficiency studio in Ottawa, and wait for the other oversized clown shoe to drop. I’ll eat at Applebee’s every evening and hum dirges for my bruised homeland into the wee hours of the alien night.