What happens when that goombah from Palookaville becomes President?
Anyone raised in a small town like I was probably recognizes who Trump is. He’s the ballsy guy who recognized in 2nd grade that the rules are BS and are meant to be broken. He’s the white guy who drives his Camaro 80 MPH because he has an FOP sticker on his back window.
He’s the guy whose business secured the sweetheart contract with the county department that just happens to be run by his old HS football buddy. And everyone knows what he’s doing, but he knows no one will call him on it. Because he’s a guy you don’t want to cross.
He’s the mediocre guy from HS who stole algebra tests from the teacher’s desk, and then when he got caught had his rich dad make it go away with some new bleachers for the football field. His kids now brag about having the family name on those bleachers.
He’s the guy that looks down on all of the straight arrow lawyers, doctors, & business people in town; and hangs out with all of the lawyers, doctors, and business people who have a good side hustle going on…a little insurance fraud here, a little tax evasion there. They drink in the bar owned by the guy that’s known to serve underage drinkers and under report his sales…cause, you know, the Liquor Control Board and the tax collector are a bunch of loser bureaucrats who can’t get a real job. Do they get comped in Vegas like us? Hell no.
None of it ever goes so far as to ever really be worth the time of the authorities. Everyone knows it’s happening, but these are the country club civic boosters that run the town and outside authorities have more important things to do. It’s not like anyone’s getting killed…it’s just a mediocre guy making an undeservedly good living by knowing how to push every rule just up to (but not past) the breaking point. Need to figure out how to game the city inspectors so you can skimp on insulation? He’s your guy.
Meanwhile, most other people are following the rules, working harder, and making less money…and a good number of those people are envious of Trump-guy’s hustle and would totally do it if they were him because rules are for suckers. Those are the working class MAGA people.
Then there are the people who see right thru Trump-guy & resent the hell out of him for being so empty, yet so full of himself. Those are the people who secretly wish to open the paper one morning to discover he’s been busted by the feds for the crap everyone knows he’s pulled.
With Weisselberg and Cohen now flipping, Trump’s cover has been blown. His years of money laundering, of philandering and paying people to be quiet, of cheating subcontractors and tax collectors is all going to come out.
Had he laid low he probably would have skated, like he has for the past 50 years…by hiring aggressive, amoral fixers like Roy Cohn and Michael Cohen, by paying off politicians, by settling out of court, and by threatening to sue anyone who messes with him. But now the accrual of years of low-key but lucrative criminality, the boundary pushing that enabled a mediocre businessman to make whatever profits he did, can’t be hidden anymore because he’s the President and the world is watching. Crying “fake news” only goes so far.
It’s a testament to either Trump’s hubris or his stupidity (or both) that he thought he could run for President & not have all of this shady stuff come out. Some reporters claimed Trump never REALLY wanted to be President. Perhaps this was a brand-building lark gone too far. Regardless, we’ve all known all along that he’s a rule breaker. The MAGA crowd knows and admires his moxie. The non-MAGA crowd awaits the moment when their half-witted bully is finally held accountable.
Whatever revelations await us in the coming weeks, none of it will be the least bit surprising. Some details may perhaps be news, but the general picture has been known all along. Even the “Russia stuff,” should it exist, will not come as a surprise. The MAGA crew will shrug and say “come on, politics is the dirtiest game in town, you’re telling me Hillary wouldn’t have done that?” And the rest of us will think “of course he would do that.”
The Founders were obsessed with “virtue.” They thought a republic could only survive if its leaders showed self-restraint and voluntarily put the public interest before their private interests. Parchment rules alone were not sufficient to constrain a President’s power. We’ve had plenty of bad presidents in US History, but Trump is, by far, the least virtuous. If he was just some goombah from Palookaville, then the damage he could cause would be localized. But he’s the President of the most powerful country in the world.
My greatest worry is that he’d rather burn the whole place down than be held to account for the misdeeds that he and everyone else knows he did. At this point, it’s hard for me to see an exit strategy either for him, or for us. Gonna be an interesting fall.