Opening Trump’s mail

Here in Alabama, a state red enough to have a senator on the Donald Trump VP short-list, neither Democrats nor Republicans will waste their precious franking budget on us. This means we will not be getting much in the way of mail from either Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Fortunately, I have connections in Ohio — the swingingest swing state of them all — and one of those connections was so kind as to send along some campaign literature from the aforementioned presumptive GOP nominee. Here’s what Ohio voters are pulling out of their mailboxes…

“Trump Make America Great Again” rolls right off the tongue.

The envelope is fairly understated by Trumpian standards. In place of the return address is a widely-kerned “D O N A L D__ J .__T R U M P.” It’s not metered; an American flag postage stamp has been affixed, presumably by hand. It was mailed from zip code 22701 (Culpepper, Va., a small town located roughly in between Richmond and the D.C. Metroplex).

On the front of the envelope, midway down and to the right, is printed “Personal.” (It’s underlined.)

On the back, on the envelope flap: “Trump Make America Great Again Committee.” TMAGAC, if you prefer. If you had any doubt that Donald Trump himself was the person in charge of naming this thing, you can stop doubting. The last two major party nominees had relatively simple titles for their joint fundraising committees: Obama For America (OFA) and Romney Victory Fund (RVF). Trump Make America Great Again sounds less like an actual fundraising committee and more like something to which the Incredible Hulk would donate. TRUMP MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. TRUMP SMASH!

A joint fundraising committee is one of those political necessities that parties and their presumptive nominees create in order to split fundraising expenses and guarantee cash for the nominee AND for candidates in down-ballot races. Trump, who has made it known that he doesn’t particularly care for any other Republican who may be running for office, certainly was cajoled into creating this joint committee and, as a consequence, was damn sure his name and his dopey slogan would be included. And that’s how you get TMAGAC.

Inside, there’s a four-page letter addressed to “Dear Fellow American.” Let’s face it, four pages is a lot of reading for the average Trump voter — sadly for the average American, in general. Also of note, in lieu of a date in the top right corner, it says simply “Tuesday evening.”

The letter starts out with whatever Reince Priebus faxed over to TMAGAC headquarters.

“It’s time to unify the Republican Party so we can stop Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and their Left-Wing special interest allies from taking total control of Washington, D.C.”

You could have pulled the same sentence out of any GOP fundraising letter from 1993 until the present-day. Moving on…

“That’s why I have created the Trump Make America Great Again Committee…a joint effort led by the Donald J. Trump for President campaign and the Republican National Committee to make sure our GOP ticket has the funds needed to win this November.”

Reince again.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democrats’ single-minded goal is to lock-in the Obama agenda permanently and to expand it even further.”

OK, get to the part that Reince didn’t write. You know, the part Trump added right before this went to press?

“They won’t rest until every illegal immigrant is given complete amnesty and the right to vote as a hardened, life-long Democrat.”

Getting warmer.

Also, note that this sentence represents exactly the opposite thinking of the Grand Old Party, circa 2012. In the famed post-election post-mortem, party leadership wrote:

“It is imperative that the RNC changes how it engages with Hispanic communities to welcome in new members of our Party. If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.”

Anyway, moving on…

“My friend, I promise you we’re going to Make America Great Again.”

Here we go!

“I’m a successful businessman because I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Let’s pause it right here. A successful businessman? Here’s the dope on his four bankruptcies. Did you know that he does not own most of the buildings that bear the “Trump” name…he’s simply purchased the naming rights? And what there is of his empire is due in large part to the vast sums of money and influence he inherited from his father, Fred. Oh, and here are 12 Trump business ventures that have failed in the past three decades (nine of them in the past 10 years or less). One of those 12, Trump University…well, geez, that’s a story unto itself.

More often than not, especially in the case of the four bankruptcies and the 12 shuttered companies, Trump seems less like a “roll-up-my-sleeves” kinda guy and more like a “turn-tail-and-run” kinda guy. But I digress.

“We’re going to build a wall on our southern border to stop illegal immigration.”

The border between the United States and Mexico is 1,969 miles long. According to the Government Accountability Office (the official number crunchers in D.C.), it costs between $2.8 million and $3.9 million to build one mile of fencing on the border (that report was dated 2009). So, conservatively, you’re looking at between $5.5 billion and $7.7 billion in Trump Wall construction costs. In the meantime, we are in desperate need of $3 trillion to $4 trillion in emergency revenue to bring our critically weak infrastructure up to speed. You know, things like roads, bridges, water mains, gas lines, subway systems, power grids…stuff that affects your minute-to-minute life.

“And we’re going to get Mexico to pay for it, because deep down, Mexico knows they are better off with us happy.”

About that

“We will use our leverage to get them to pay for this wall.”

My understanding from Donald J. Trump is that Mexico is winning all the time on trade, on accumulating new American businesses…hell, they even beat Trump — literally — at his own game by stealing his PGA golf tournament. Either Mexico is beating us, or we have enough leverage to convince them to let us wall them off and pay us billions for the privilege. It can’t be both.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is creating jobs. I know firsthand, there’s nothing like helping people by getting them great jobs.”

Of course, not all of his employees were grateful for his largesse. Take Lucy Messerschmidt, for example, one of a group of employees who filed suit against Trump National Golf Club in 2008. She alleges, among several complaints, that she was denied breaks and meals. She also alleges that her schedule was adjusted so that she wouldn’t be working when Trump was present at the club. This was allegedly because the 45-year-old Messerschmidt was too old for Mr. Trump’s tastes. Messerschmidt is one of hundreds of Team Trump employees who have filed suit against the big boss, alleging everything from pay discrimination, to age discrimination, to anti-unionization bullying.

Oh, and there’s Louise Sunshine’s story…exerpted below from The Washington Post:

After she joined Donald Trump’s real estate business, Louise Sunshine struggled to maintain a steady weight while managing her new career alongside the busy schedules of three young children. Trump must have noticed, Sun­shine said. She recalled that he kept an unflattering photograph of her in a drawer — a “fat picture,” as she called it — that he would pull out when she did something he didn’t like. It was “a reminder that I wasn’t perfect,” said Sunshine, who worked with Trump for 15 years starting in the mid-1970s when he set about remaking Manhattan’s skyline. “He just is that way.”

So, to recap, Donald Trump knows firsthand that there’s nothing like helping people by getting them great jobs.

“When it comes to trade, we’re going to start winning again. Right now we’re losing…this will stop.”

Oh, but the most Republican organization in the country — other than the NRA, of course — thinks otherwise. Here’s an excerpt from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s take-down of their own party’s presumptive nominee:

“The U.S. recession would set in within the first year under Trump’s proposed trade policies, which include a 35 percent tariff on imports from Mexico and a 45 percent tax on goods coming in from China. Over the next three years, the U.S. economy would shrink by 4.6 percent and the unemployment rate would nearly double to 9.5 percent.”

Moving on…

“We’re going to Make America Great Again by making our military so big, so strong and so powerful, nobody will mess with us.”

Here’s a chart that is relevant to your interests.

Yep. We are currently spending more on our military than the combined total of the next SEVEN biggest spenders. So, it stands to reason that we need to make it bigger, right? Because the country that has the biggest, strongest, most powerful military always wins the fight. Right? Just look at history…

USA vs. British Empire, 1775–1783. (OK, bad example.)

First Indochina War, France vs. Viet Minh, 1946–1954 (…another bad example.)

Vietnam War, USA vs. Viet Cong, 1955–1975 (Next.)

USSR vs. Afghanistan, 1979–1989 (Uh…)

ISIS vs. Everyone, 2014-present (*sigh*)

See? YUUGE military = instant victory. Because there are no facts anymore, just ideologies. Moving on…

“We will get rid of ISIS — FAST!”

Good idea. I can’t believe no one’s tried it yet. What a mind! He has the best words, you know.

“We will have great relations with many, many foreign countries, as long as they understand it is a two-way street.”

Well, probably not with Canada. Or Germany. Not with the UK. France…no. Australia? Afraid not. Check out this recently published Pew Research survey.

Greece has no confidence in our government? That hurts.

As you can see, there’s not a lot of faith that Donald Trump can hold his own on the world scene. And, of course, our most reliable ally recently debated banning him from ever entering their country. That could be a problem.

“This is the first letter I’ve sent during this campaign asking for financial help. But it isn’t just for me; I’m asking you to give your financial support to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee.”

And we’re back to Priebus.

“I hope you will include a generous campaign contribution of $35, $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 to help our Party win back the White House and elect Republicans up and down the ticket this November.”

Priebus, again.

Oh, and the next part is all underlined:

“It is so very important for the Republican Party to unify today, so I am personally asking you to send back your Pledge of Support.”

Maximum Priebus.

“Our theme is very simple: Make America Great Again. We will Make America Great Again. We will start winning again. You will be so proud of how we turn around this country so very, very soon”

And pivot back to Trump. I know he wrote that because it evokes every Nigerian spam email you’ve ever taken the time to read.

In all, “Make America Great Again” appears no less than ten times in that four page letter…which is probably fewer mentions than I would have anticipated.

Also, included in the letter is a “Pledge of Support.” More than just a donation card, this is an actual pledge of allegiance to Donald J. Trump:

“I know the thing Hillary Clinton and the Democrats fear the most is a united Republican Party. Voters are hungry for change after eight long years of the Obama era. It is time to Make America Great Again and I’m with you 100%.”

Note the AP Stylebook violation…using the percent symbol instead of spelling out the word. YUUUGE pet peeve of mine. Continuing on…

“Because the Trump Make America Great Again Committee is dedicated to conducting voter registration, volunteer training, and Get-Out-The-Vote programs AND providing direct financial assistance to you and Republican candidates from the bottom to the very top of the ticket, I pledge my support to do everything I can to help our Party prevail this November.”

Then you sign it and date it.

Finally, enclosed is a Business Reply Mail envelope — stamped “FIRST CLASS” not once, but twice — with a plea to please use a “FIRST-CLASS” stamp of your own to help “Trump Make America Great Again” save on postage costs.

You don’t become a $10-billionaire by paying for other people’s postage.

So, there you go. That’s a man allegedly worth $10 billion dollars — who once famously claimed that he didn’t need to fundraise — asking you for $35, an oath of allegiance and a postage stamp.

The end.