I first posted this on trueblueliberal.org on August 17, 2016 when Donald Trump's chances of a first term still seemed remote (terrifying, but remote). With four days until the election that could give him a second term -- and after all the intervening years with all the new crimes, lies, and misdemeanors from Trump and the #TrumpCrimeFamily -- I still think it's the most important thing that has appeared on this blog about that man. This post explains why vague insinuations about "Hillary Clinton's Emails!" in 2016 or "Hunter Biden's Laptop!" in 2020 can get more media coverage than Trump's sexual assaults and payoffs to porn stars, or his missing tax returns, or the fact that he kowtows to authoritarians like Putin and Erdogan and Kim, or that the First Couple of Nepotism are making millions while working in the White House, or that his last three campaign managers have been arrested, or that he calls Nazis "very fine people," or his impeachment less than a year ago, or..., well, you get the picture. There are too many scandals for any one person to keep up with, which turns out to be his best defense.
So here's the 2016 post again, without further changes.
At this point, about two thirds through Trollope's The Way We Live Now, shadowy London financier August Melmotte is making his first foray into the political world, running for Parliament and finding out that one of his recent shady real-estate transactions might be exposed publicly right after he had hosted a dinner in his home for the Emperor of China attended by the great men of England and Europe.
|My current pleasure reading takes a political turn.|
...I think he took some pride in his own confidence as to his own courage, as he stood there turning it all over in his mind. Very much might be suspected. Something might be found out. But the task of unravelling it all would not be easy. It is the small vermin and the little birds that are trapped at once. But wolves and vultures can fight hard before they are caught. With the means which would still be at his command, let the worst come to the worst, he could make a strong fight. When a man's frauds have been enormous there is a certain safety in their very diversity and proportions. Might it not be that the fact that these great ones of the earth had been his guests should speak in his favour? A man who had in very truth had the real Brother of the Sun dining at his table could hardly be sent into the dock and then sent out of it like a common felon. (page 472 of Penguin Classics paperback)
With legal cases about Trump's so-called "University" still pending, his complicated tax returns still unreleased, a history of bankruptcies, thousands of "minor" lawsuits, and more, the "diversity and proportion" of Trump's financial shenanigans put August Melmotte's to shame (though Melmotte did it from nothing without being given a head start by his father). If we do see any of Donald Trump's tax returns before November 8 (unlikely at this point as he continues to thumb his nose at the voters and the media), the chances are that, unless he gave nothing to charity or paid no taxes, the rule-bending in those thousands of pages would be so financially arcane that it would take teams of forensic accountants to root it out and another team to try to reduce it to layman's terms. It's only "the small vermin and little birds that are trapped at once."
If I entertained any notion that Donald Trump might have the attention span to tackle it, I might think that he had modeled parts of his life on The Way We Live Now.