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And now, breaking news from our 2030 correspondent: Trump is here to stay

February 15, 2018

I’ve just spent a few minutes digesting the transcript of an interview in slate.com with a CNN analyst, in which the sage tells us that things are looking up for Donald Trump in the one area that seems to matter more to the president than any other: his popularity.

I won’t go into the details of why. The whole thing is rather nerdy, especially to someone like me whose prime motive for taking an interest in the United States these days is down to the fact that the oligarchs running the country are capable of ending my life as well as that of everyone else on the planet. And more likely to than ever before.

It seems that the hopes of the anti-Trump forces are focused on this year’s mid-term elections. If the Democrats can take the Senate or the House of Representatives, they have a good chance of stymying his legislative programme (to the extent that such exists), just as the Republicans frustrated Obama.

If they can take both, then the prospect that they can impeach the rogue moves from unlikely to possible – though still not very likely, unless we learn more about Trump’s misdeeds in the interim.

Now I’m a simple person, and it seems blindingly obvious to me that the Democrats can caterwaul all they like about healthcare, immigration, inequality and the fact that the leader of the free world likes to grab pussies and romp with porn stars, but none of this righteous outrage will make a blind bit of difference to Trump’s prospects unless the Democrats can come up with an anti-Trump.

Someone with charisma, impeccable personal values, free from the taint of corruption, preferably youngish as a contrast to Trump’s senile malevolence. Someone with his own hair, because we know how much these things matter to Americans. Unfortunately such a person will probably have to be a he, because the Democrats aren’t likely to take a chance with a woman until the misogynistic old pussy-grabbers die off, which will take at least a couple of general election cycles.

The candidate will need to be sufficiently mainstream not to frighten the financial horses. He’ll probably be mealy-mouthed about guns, Israel and the religious right. Above all, he’ll need to inspire faith, enthusiasm and optimism. And here’s the important bit: he can’t be boring.

Almost certainly, if he exists, he’s unlikely to emerge before the mid-term elections, which means that the Republicans are highly likely to retain a modicum of control of Congress.

All of this is important, because in 2020, the election will not be about the economy. It will be about personality, and the credibility of that personality. In normal times you would expect the incumbent President to win, unless, like Jimmy Carter, he’s seen as a bit of a disaster.

But Trump is different. Even if he manages to wriggle out of his Russia difficulties, the chances of his putting his foot back in his mouth and choking himself over the next two years and ten months have to be pretty high.

Should he do so, then the opponent who is least like him surely has a great chance to win.

The election will be about personality because Trump has successfully elevated personality over politics, and image over ability. Which explains why the Democrats, desperately clutching at straws, touted Oprah Winfrey as potential candidate after her speech at the Golden Globes. An inspiring person, yes, but could you imagine her with a finger poised on the nuclear button, or giving Putin a piece of her mind? (Actually, the answer to the Putin question is likely to be yes, because she’s unlikely to be in his thrall.)

The same probably goes for other celebs tipped for political careers: Tom Hanks, George Clooney and so forth.

So the Democrats, and all of us non-Americans who hope for a speedy termination of Trump’s presidency, are left with who? The old warhorses – Biden or Sanders? Perhaps. After all it would be unlikely that a 74-year-old Trump would be able to accuse them of being past it. Or maybe they’ll be tempted to skip a generation and go for a young wannabe like Joe Kennedy, who delivered the response for the Democrats to the president’s State of the Union speech.

It’s possible that the 2020 primaries will throw up some hidden gem of a candidate, as they did in 2008 with Obama. But if so, that person is leaving it rather late to raise their profile. So it seems that the Democrats’ only chance will come if Trump self-destructs.

But perhaps all this is academic.

I read a news story this morning, admittedly from an esoteric source, about a guy who claims to be a time-traveller from 2030. He states definitively that Trump will be re-elected in 2020. He makes other predictions that suggest that the world will not be in cinders in twelve years’ time, which is a bit of a relief. He also says that time travel exists today, but that it’s only used by “top secret organisations” – reptiles controlling the CIA, I would imagine. Apparently, his claims have been verified as “not lies” by a polygraph machine. So what is not untrue in the perception of the person being tested must be true, right? Very Trumpian.

The mind boggles. Perhaps the Democrats could borrow Abe Lincoln for a few years before sending him back for his rendezvous with the assassin’s bullet. Except that Abe was a Republican, so he wouldn’t get a look in against The Donald.

If the top secret organisations are indeed using time travel, I’m surprised they haven’t lifted The Saviour out of Nazareth on an assignment to bring forth the End of Days. That would certainly appeal to Mike Pence. However, I suspect that JC would be so horrified by his gun-toting, immigrant-hating, camels-passing-through-the-eye-of-a needle American disciples that he’d make a quick getaway back to Gethsemane.

Should time travel already have been invented, you can certainly bet on Trump controlling it rather than the Democrats. So if there appears to be no successor nasty or amoral enough to take on his legacy in 2024, he could always bring PT Barnum over for a sabbatical from his circus business.

On the other hand, by that time The Donald may have succeeded in suspending the constitution and installing himself as President for Life, assuming the viagra doesn’t get him first.

Even if we can’t do anything about it, we really need to have the opportunity to prepare for such an unpleasant possibility. So I would suggest that our time traveller needs to undergo a slightly more rigorous interrogation than he has experienced thus far. If he keeps going on about paradoxes preventing him from revealing all, a spot of waterboarding would surely do the trick.

This is madness, of course. But hardly less mad than the current state of politics in America. Whatever happens between now and 2020, the dominant theme will be “It’s the personality, stupid”.

The more outlandish the better, no doubt. Lord help us all.

From → Politics, USA

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