Alan Zendell, October 18, 2020
I’ve written that despite his bluster, lies, and exaggerations, if you listen carefully, you can always discern the truth behind Donald Trump’s words. There were two such examples last week in his raucous super-spreader campaign events.
Campaigning in Pennsylvania, amid a typical barrage of hate-filled rhetoric and crazy conspiracy theories, Trump got real for a minute looking out at the crowd, half of which appeared to be suburban white women. Although the women at the rally adored him enough to put their lives at risk to hear him speak, he must have had an epiphany, realizing how much of that demographic, which he won handily in 2016, has turned against him. He put on a face like a spoiled little boy and whined, “Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhoods, ok?”
He reminded me of Dennis the Menace, the blonde tow-haired ten-year-old boy who was always getting into trouble and then pouting when he was punished. For five years, Trump has been setting exactly the wrong example for suburban women who try to instill values and morality in their children. He has increased the stress level of almost every American family, and unlike young Dennis, his mischief isn’t based on misguided good intentions.
On the other hand, like Dennis, master manipulator and con man Donald Trump thought putting on his saccharine sweet expression and virtually begging for their support would change those mothers’ minds. But they know the difference between a sweet little boy who can’t help getting into trouble and a hateful, narcissistic adult who cares more about himself than the millions of Americans he swore to protect. Hollow as his plea was, it may have been the only sincere words thing uttered at that rally.
His principal base of support is shrinking, but in a population of 330 million, it’s not difficult to round up a few thousand people to attend his rallies and cheer for him. He desperately needs their adulation, a reveal that anyone can see. As his niece, psychologist Mary Trump explained, her uncle Donald has never felt loved, and it’s left to all of us to ease his pain. Poor Donald.
He feels persecuted by everyone that refuses to kneel at his feet and pledge fealty to him. To be sure, a lot of people are out to get him to hold him accountable for his actions. No doubt, he feels hounds nipping at his heels but he is not an innocent victim. They represent the people he has hurt.
Friday, in Florida, he was more manic than usual, which some doctors attribute to the steroids he takes to shield him against the effects of COVID-19. The polls continued to predict a dire outcome for him on Election Day, and every passing day, with millions of Americans already voting, there were fewer voters left to convince. The only things Trump hates more than losing are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and it was sinking in, as his Department of Justice was not producing new scandals for him to tout, that he was probably going to lose.
When he addressed that possibility to a group of Florida seniors, whose votes he desperately needs, he said, “If I lose, I might have to leave the country.” A good friend, a very smart guy who often sees the world differently from me, interpreted that as clever and witty, an ironic response to Americans who wring their hands and say they’ll move to Canada if Trump wins again. There may actually have been an element of that – it would be a mistake to view Trump’s thought process as simple and one-dimensional.
I believe there was literal truth in Trump’s words. He is incapable of controlling the impulse to talk about things that upset him. When he said he might have to leave the country he told us a couple of things. One is that despite his bravado, he knows that he is despised by three out of every five Americans. There will be no more lucrative network television contracts for him if he loses, and those were the only things keeping his financial empire above water.
More importantly, he knows that the moment he leaves office he will be hounded by his creditors and state and local prosecutors who believe he is guilty of fraud and racketeering. He also knows that while Joe Biden will undoubtedly shield him from federal prosecution because his primary goal is to heal the divisions in the country, Biden cannot shield him from indictment by State Attorneys General and local prosecutors. He knows he may face financial ruin and years of defending himself in court if he stays here.
I’ll bet you a dollar Rudy Guiliani is preparing a list of countries that do not have extradition treaties with the United States.