Sadly, an Air Force buddy I served with over 20 years ago is a huge Donald Trump fan today. He’s the complete package, down to the stupid red hat and wacky conspiracy theories. His immigrant attacks must have made things particularly awkward with his lovely wife, who immigrated from Mexico. (I actually don’t think they are together any longer.) He pays me the respect of rarely acknowledging my Facebook rants against his Cheeto Jesus, and I, in turn, largely ignore his rants in favor of. Yet every once in awhile, I’m obligated to post proof—like this—that his stories are fake news.
On the occasions that I do this, he almost always tries to circle back to the big reason he loves Trump: He feels that he is the only one addressing the immigrant “invasion.” (The recent argument sparked a fun, lively exchange where I mocked Fox News for playing dress-up at the border.) Long story short, this led to a fight where he said I was incapable of giving Trump credit for doing anything great—though exactly what those “great” things are, I’m still not sure. He responded: “(Trump) could cure cancer, and you would never call me up and say “Trump did good.”
So you know what? I’m game. I asked him to go first: Admit one nice thing Barack Obama did. I even provided a helpful list for him to choose from. (I’m still waiting for mine on Trump.) In turn, I’d say something that I love about Donald Trump. He ignored my list and gave me this: Obama gifted the conservatives “focus,” since the GOP was completely united against him. Under Trump, they actually have to govern, and he—without admitting it—essentially implied that his party has been flailing without a foil to blame.
OK … so that’s how we’re playing this? That was a pretty lame copout, but still … I can play that game, too.
I told him, like always, I’ll go bigger. I came up with a list of eight things that I can honestly say I absolutely love about Donald J. Trump. I put some time into it, so I decided to share my list with you good people.
Let me know if you agree/disagree in comments.
Here. We. Go.
1. Trump created a new generation of Democratic Socialists. Young stars like my girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would likely never have had a shot against her entrenched, corporate incumbent without Donnie. I can guarantee that under Hillary Clinton, we wouldn’t be discussing a Green World War II-level mobilization strategy to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. Democratic Socialism is surging in the Trump era, and its finally pulling the Democratic party to the left. The happiest nations on earth are Democratic Socialist nations—like Germany, and the Nordic countries. (Think Denmark, not Venezuela—which is more an unstable dictatorship.)
College is free in these nations, but it’s an investment that the government gets back, at about seven dollars for every dollar spent. Healthcare is a right which means no one goes into bankruptcy for seeking medical attention. I didn’t think I’d ever see Medicare for All or a $15 minimum wage guarantee in our platform, but these are our issues now. Democrats are realizing that all of the popular social programs in the last century, from Medicare to Social Security, aren’t just popular—they are just the beginning.
The ridiculous argument that this represents horrible government intrusion always seems to come from right-wing politicians who, in the same breath, argue that the government should literally regulate women’s bodies. The evilness of the Trump administration has given a kick to this tech-savvy, socially conscious youth who reject cult-like conservatism for leftist ideals. They are more politically engaged than ever, and every year they become a larger voting bloc.
2. The Democrats finally kicked their obsession with perfection. Again, thank you, Donnie. You know, we don’t have to overlook EVERYTHING like the GOP does—molesting children, a la Roy Moore, should always be a dealbreaker. Yet until 2016, a lot of Democrats wouldn’t bother to show up if they felt the candidate wasn’t “pure” enough. Too “centrist.” Too “beholden to Wall Street.” The GOP knows our sensitivities, and will always dig up dirt to hurt our candidates. Yes, Beto O’Rourke wrote a stupid story as a teenager. Cory Booker took (gasp) Wall Street money. SO. FREAKING. WHAT? None of them will ever put brown kids in cages. Which brings me to a side rant on Joe Biden.
Yes, Biden was inexcusably inappropriate, but you know what else? He also wrote the Violence Against Women Act. Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, walked in on naked teenagers, and then also put an attempted rapist on the Supreme Court. Imagine what he’ll do with no re-election to worry about. We are in an f-ing war. There are no saints, but there sure as hell are a lot of demons. We had better buck up and do everything possible to keep the monsters out of power.
3. Trump destroyed the careers of people I hate. The people I most feared when Trump came to power have, one by one, been taken out. Not by us, mind you, but by the petulant man-child they worshiped. The man changes staff more often than he changes his socks: Steve Bannon was as close as you could get to pure evil, yet Trump fired him in the most humiliating way possible. Jeff Sessions was a racist lunatic who made it his mission to hurt immigrants. He didn’t care if Democrats hated him, but he is utterly destroyed that his reputation is in tatters within GOP circles. Reince Preibus and Sean Spicer are jokes. Trump’s smarmy lawyer, Michael Cohen, is now singing like a canary.
Even losers who are still working have nowhere to go. Sarah Huckabee Sanders can’t get a job. Ivanka Trump, as you may recall, was the most liked member of the Trump clan and had a high favorability rating as late as 2017. She’s reportedly ”dead inside” now that her reputation is in utter shambles. Rudy Giuliani went from hero to clown. Sean Hannity, once a stalwart for conservatism, has repudiated all of his supposed principles to be Trump’s lackey, which will pose a serious issue when Trump leaves office.
4. At long last, Trump killed the evangelical influence on our politics. Godless men, like Jerry Falwell, saw Christians as susceptible to manipulation into right-wing politics, and kept them in line with hatred, xenophobia, and fear. Suddenly, right-wing virtues were filtered into evangelical faith: Helping the rich was brought in under the guise of the phony “prosperity gospel.” Being good stewards for the environment was called “nature-worship,” so it was now a Christian duty to promote Big Oil and other polluters. Racism and misogyny replaced “love thy neighbor.”
It was always a terrible, cynical movement, but thankfully, it also has been on the decline for decades. No one has done more damage to this once powerful political coalition than the man the evangelicals put on their highest pedestal. The man they went all-in for has repeatedly committed every single one of the seven deadly sins. For 2016, they had a plethora of Bible-thumping candidates to choose from, and rejected all of them for the charity-swindling, poor-bashing, disabled-mocking, woman-assaulting, daughter-lusting, foul-mouthed serial adulterer. At last, evangelical Republicans have had their hypocrisy completely exposed.
For Trump and his minions, there was nothing that Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell, Jr. couldn’t justify. Nothing. Not even attempted rape, not even molesting children. The powerful evangelical coalition that their fathers built has now been dismantled as this new generation utterly rejects them.
Never again will we need to listen to their high-horse platitudes. Any phony lecture on virtue can now be legitimately met with, “Didn’t you worship Satan?” It’s over.
5. That one legacy that Trump entirely destroyed. OK, here is something that I have to admit I honestly love that Trump did: He destroyed the Bush family legacy forever, and killed their dynasty once and for all. Recall that Jeb! was the clear favorite to continue the Bush disaster—and now he’s a humiliated loser. When Jeb was still a “thing,” the arrogant Bushes were already talking about his stupid son, George P. Bush, being the next generation to saddle us with. Oh, how they’ve fallen. After Trump’s many insults led to Jeb’s defeat, his twerp of a son sold him out and publicly backed Trump. The Trumps repaid George P. by humiliating him: They pulled out of a fundraiser for his race for Texas Land Commissioner at the last minute, and forced him to grovel over his dad’s behavior, which he gladly did. (Not quite on the same level of submissive humiliation suffered by Ted Cruz or Lindsay Graham, but still delicious.)
It’s true that Trump makes George W. look better, but everyone is forgetting just how horrible the Bushes were. Their legacy is the reason someone like Trump was able to come to power in the first place, and America suffered greatly under their tutelage. Iraq’s oil fields were divvied up by oil firms long before any invasion, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths from the Iraq War were a direct result of this war crime. The GOP long defended the Bush/Cheney war, but now that the GOP is a subsidiary of the Trump Corporation, that’s ended. Trump called it what it was, and few people—certainly no one in the rightwing media—defends the Bushes anymore. They are finished.
Obama’s legacy is growing brighter by the day. If Malia or Sasha ever wanted to run for something, they could and would win. What the hell is a Bush ever going to win? Good. F-ing. Riddance. On the flip side, BTW, there will never be a such thing as a “Trump dynasty.” His kids are even bigger morons than he is.
Unfortunately, Poppy and Barbara were alive just long enough to see their legacy gutted and their offspring consistently attacked and humiliated by their own party. Welp, cry me a river.
6. Trump shattered our complacency. The day after the election was a dark day, but it was desperately needed. Formerly apathetic people finally became voters, and voters finally became activists. Here in pre-Trump Seminole County, Florida, I had less than a dozen people attend our local monthly meeting. Our Congressman was the awful John Mica. Today, two years into the Trump presidency, the meetings remain standing-room-only. Donations have poured in, and our new representative is a young, Vietnamese immigrant named Stephanie Murphy.
The Women’s March on Washington held the day after Trump’s inauguration was the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history. In 2018, we had the highest midterm turnout in over a century. We saw our institutions, which we thought were untouchable … so we stepped up. Trump’s attack on the free press led to legitimate newspapers seeing their subscriptions skyrocket. News organizations re-learned how to be journalists, and started calling out lies, instead of trying to placate both sides. Satirists under authoritarian attack stopped getting uncomfortable when tackling issues like racism and politics, and now enjoy a thriving industry. Speaking of racism, notice that no one is saying that we live in a “post-racial” world after Obama anymore—not with Trump’s embrace of Nazism.
Movements don’t start when times are good. It’s a silver lining to this nightmare, that will pay dividends for decades.
7. Democrats learned how to fight. Hard. When the Democrats were in total power after 2008, we had a ton of missed opportunities. Nothing was done as far as gun violence—the NRA was too untouchable. Harry Reid and Obama insisted on watering down healthcare reform in an attempt to get the GOP on board. Nancy Pelosi was pretty milquetoast.
What a difference a decade makes. Pelosi is cutthroat as hell, and has beaten Trump every time. Democrats are openly talking about stacking the court—as they should. Mitch McConnell stole a seat, so of course we should add a Justice to undo the injustice. Like I said, this is a war. Through gerrymandering, cheating, and dismantling our strongholds, like organized labor, the GOP has managed to manipulate every election. Playing nice wasn’t working.
The Democrats are now fighting to expand voting rights as hard as the GOP fights to suppress them. The Democrats are keen on requiring early voting in all states, abolishing gerrymandering nationwide by requiring independent commissions, and finally making Election Day a federal holiday. After Trump abandoned Puerto Rico, Democrats are now making statehood a top issue—along with D.C. This should have been done years ago, but it wasn’t until the Trump era that the Democrats took action.
Bottom line: Eventually, when we get our trifecta, you can bet that we won’t see the same missed opportunities back in 2009. It took a long time for our leaders to wake the hell up, but at least they did.
8. The GOP is now the party of Trump, and it’s going down with him. Trump is the most unpopular president in U.S. history. His days as president are numbered. Yet his biggest accomplishment and his largest contribution to our nation is to succeed where all of us have failed—the destruction of the GOP as a viable party.
Ronna McDaniel dissolved the RNC into Trump’s campaign wing, which is a bit problematic for candidates trying to distance themselves from Trump’s sinking ship. Two decades from now, I predict we’ll be discussing what happened to the once powerful GOP. Their base will be mostly gone, and an angry crop of new voters and activists will make sure that fascists will never again get so close to overturning democracy as they have in the past two years.
There will be a reckoning within the GOP after Trump, and it won’t be pretty. It will be a fracture, or a dissolution, but the fragile coalition won’t hold. Whatever emerges will have all of the relevance of the modern Whig party. When that happens, then maybe—just maybe—this whole Trump experiment will have proved to not be a completely bad thing after all.
I would certainly call my friend and admit that he won the argument. “You know what, you were right. Trump did cure cancer.”
“Trump did good. He did real good.”