David Levi Strauss / Dispatch / The Race

Dispatch 23: Why Trump Can’t Lose


THE current contest to choose the next President of the United States might very well be the first contest that Donald Trump has ever been involved in where someone other than himself will decide who wins. It is the first game he’s ever played in which someone else is keeping score, and this has him terrified.

Think about it. He was born into wealth and privilege, where from birth he enjoyed the glorious protection from competition that those things bring. He never had to work for someone else. He never took orders in the military. His losses in business were initially covered by his father, and later by bankruptcy protections written into law by lawyers and lawmakers bought and paid for by big business interests. If the deal works, you keep the profits; if it doesn’t, the public absorbs the losses. You can’t lose. Risk is for the suckers who come to your casinos, and the poor slobs who work for you.

“Winning,” in Trump’s terms, means figuring out how not to play. If you can’t make it as a real-estate developer, create an image and a persona of success, and license that. Sell that. Sell the sweet smell of success. Every one of us, at some point in our lives, is susceptible to this sales pitch. We want to believe that we can get something for nothing, and that the only thing keeping us from the good life is our attitude, and other people.

If Michael Moore is right, Donald Trump never really wanted to be President, and he doesn’t want it now. In a piece published on Alternet, Moore says he knows for a fact that Trump only ran in the primaries in order to boost his brand and wheedle a better contract from NBC for “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.” But then some Americans took his campaign seriously, and began to vigorously support him. He stumbled upon a whole new audience for his pitch. It felt good, at first. It felt like winning.

But then, problems arose. The principal problem, for Trump, is democracy. At least so far, the United States is still a semi-functioning representative democracy, wherein the president is chosen by voters in an election (or by a 5 to 4 vote of a partisan Supreme Court). At this point, it looks as though Trump would lose in such an election, bigly. He cannot let that happen.

Moore’s hypothesis is that Trump is currently sabotaging his own campaign as part of “his new strategy to get the hell out of a race he never intended to see through to its end anyway . . . so that he’ll have to bow out or blame ‘others’ for forcing him out.” The system, as Trump keeps telling us, is rigged.

If Moore is right, and Trump never wanted to be President, he is now actively looking for a way out, especially one that is advantageous to a new rightwing global media platform built by Trump, Bannon, and Ailes.

The only thing Trump cannot do is lose.

David Levi Strauss
Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 6 pm

[Photography: Jon Winet. Podium Steps.  July 18, 2016.  Quicken Loans Arena. Republican National Convention. Cleveland, Ohio.  Click on image to see an enlargement.]

LINK to all David Levi Strauss Power 2016 Dispatches

One thought on “Dispatch 23: Why Trump Can’t Lose

  1. Ken Landauer provided the commentary below.

    Donald Trump is intimate with you and me, whether we like it or not. Each time he enters your thoughts or your private conversations, each time you see him, hear, or read about him, each time he offends you or agrees with you, each time his racism, sexism or nationalism crosses lines of decency and tact, each time you read one of his tweets, each time he speaks directly of you and me, about your safety, family, wealth, or home, each time he promises to take care of you, or states that he knows something privately, each time he holds his plans in confidence and confidently assumes your confidence in him, each ounce of passion he ignites or fear he stirs up, each time your attention inflates his ego and feeds his narcissism, he moves a little closer to you and me. Now we know his family too. In many ways, he is offering to father us all. Donald Trump is the most intimate candidate we have ever seen.

    Intimacy tends to produce trust and dependency, even when one’s actions merit the opposite. This helps Trump to gain the support and confidence of many of us who he consistently exploits.

    Of course, our intimacy with Donald is fundamentally mediated. It is veritual intimacy. The veritual is the seeming truth and validation we create virtually. It makes facts, documents, or stories from otherwise fleeting experiences. It is most apparent in social media. Unlike true, lived intimacy, our intimacy with Donald can disappear.

    We should not let the Donald disappear, however. Deepak Chopra wrote* that he represents a Jungian shadow which will never win, even if he is elected. To some degree, though, he has already won, even if he loses the election. His celebrity has increased dramatically, and he has liberated some real, repressed anger and hatred. He represents a cultural id fed by some valid but dangerously misguided anger. If the Donald disappears, the anger will erupt elsewhere. To redirect this force, the Donald in us all must be confronted, confined, and sublimated.

    Ken Landauer.

    * America’s Shadow: The Real Secret of Donald J. Trump
    Jun 06, 2016
    by Deepak Chopra

    Ken Landauer is a sculptor who leads the crews of Wood 1a, building radical green homes in and around upstate New York, where he lives.


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