This week’s LA Progressive survey asked what America’s political landscape will look like in two years after Hillary Clinton stumbles across the finish line first in next week’s presidential election.
What will Donald Trump be doing, we asked? Where will the Clinton-Kaine administration be heading? Barack and Michelle? The mainstream media? The two main political parties? You and me?
Hillary seemed to be cruising to victory when we launched the survey, in some surveys 10 points ahead of Trump, whose pussy-grabbing ways and bully-boy tactics finally seemed to be costing him support.
But then, as if this election isn’t crazy enough, FBI Director James Comey announced that his G-men are going to once again begin poring through Clinton’s emails found on a computer shared by advisor-in-chief Huma Abadein and her erstwhile husband, Anthony “Small Bulge” Weiner.
Still, for argument’s sake at least, let’s assume that Hillary does manage to appear at enough rallies with Barack and Michelle and Joe and Bernie and any other actually popular Democrat to stagger to victory.
Today, let’s look at directions Donald Trump and his family might find themselves in two years. In coming days we’ll look at the other questions.
Donald Trump Media Network
Most survey respondents thought Trump would have leveraged his 24/7 notoriety into a right-wing media empire to rival Fox Noise (64%) or would be riding a growing wave of populist, white supremacists rage, serving as its spokesman (58%).
These aren’t mutually exclusive possibilities, of course. On the media empire, he’s a 70-year-old man who doesn’t seem so good at actually running businesses as much as running them into the ground. He has surrounded himself with advisors who might well want to challenge Fox News, and his two sons might have ambitions in that direction. Perhaps Trump will serve as figurehead for such an enterprise, though he won’t roll up his sleeves to actually do the work.
But what gets Trump up in the middle of the night these days is his overwhelming compulsion to be the center of attention, topic number one for the talking head crowd with his mug splashed across tabloid front pages. And, starting with his whole born-in-Kenya attacks on President Obama and continuing through his bizarre parody of a presidential campaign, that’s what he has perfected.
As wacho as it may seem, this New York real estate mogul has become the darling of small town and rural whites who are glad that Trump has given them permission to blame “The Blacks,” Mexicans, Muslims, and uppity women for their woes. While this group has always been with us, changes in social norms had put a muzzle on their overt racial and ethnic animus. Now, the Donald’s permission has renewed this group’s determination to “take their country back”. So they aren’t going away. They’ll continue to lap up his racist, sexist bilge for years to come, giving him the audience he craves while unleashing and emboldening the worst America has to offer.
Ignore Him, He’ll Go Away
Another segment of survey respondents thought that the Republican Party will ostracize Trump after his crushing defeat (51%) and the mainstream media will figure out how to ignore him (43%).
For the past nearly eight years, the Republicans have pretty effectively put former president George W. Bush on the shelf, after his disastrous presidency had him slinking back to Houston as the least popular president in memory.
But Donald won’t slink. He’s already blaming Republican leaders for failing to support him, blaming the media for favoring Clinton, blaming the campaign managers he’s fired, blaming… And he’s not going anywhere. He’ll be all over the media, giving interviews, traveling the country, not because he has anything important to say, but because he wants to be seen saying something — anything.
Whether Trump loses in a landslide or by a nose, the Republican Party will need to divorce itself from their presidential candidate while still keeping hold of the largely white voting segment he represents—but also while not branding itself as a whites-only party in an increasingly minority-majority world. That’s an impossible task and they’ll keep their party going only because they’ve gerrymandered their way to control so many state houses and Congressional districts.
Then there’s the media. As one respondent said:
“In a just world he’d go on trial for his frauds, assaults, and a super long list of other transgressions. In a truly just world, he’d just wander around his Trump Tower suite muttering “Rosebud” or something similar.”
But “The Donald” won’t go on trial for anything and the media isn’t going to ignore him. Sure, there will be a certain amount of public navel gazing about the media’s role in foisting such an utterly unqualified candidate on the American voting public. But this is the media that considers Kim Kardashian’s sex life a news story—year after year for years. C’mon, debating Donald’s latest tweet is money in the bank for media outlets, which trumps any pretense to being the inheritors of Edward R. Murrow’s legacy.
Melania, Ivanka, and the Brothers
Smaller portions of our readers thought Melania would head for greener pastures with a truckload of Donald’s cash (27%) or that Ivanka would be running for Congress (10%).
You’re right, there’s probably not much chance of either happening within two years, but the Trump kids have gotten a taste of politics, they’ve seen how their father managed to run a competitive campaign without party support or any in-depth knowledge of the issues but with a ton of his own money and a knack for diddling the media. One of them—maybe Ivanka, maybe not—will take those lessons to run for something down the road.
Then, there is always the possibility that one reader put forth: “He, like Rumplestiltskin, throws a tantrum and rips himself apart!” That’s got my vote.