When Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, famously created the television sensation of the late 1980s Seinfeld, they hyped it as the show about nothing. The resulting enigma of laughter about nothing resulted in some famous flashes of comedic brilliance known as, Seinfeld moments. Well, the Republican National Committee announced its’ party platform Monday night, and it too was a show about nothing. This is not my personal snark, the GOP released a statement stating, [it] “did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement” and would instead simply “continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” Borrowing from another piece of iconic entertainment, the GOP is declaring ‘whatever Donald wants, Donald gets.’
This has to be the greatest moment Donald Trump has ever experienced; like the devil in the musical Damn Yankees, Trump’s Joe Hardy(s) are under his complete control.
It seems appropriate that I use entertainment as a metaphor, not only for Donald Trump but for the entirety of the Republican Party. Seinfeld featured a good-hearted, eclectic neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, festooned with a weird hairdo, and a bit scatterbrained. George Costanza, insecure, loud-mouthed, and consistently wrong. Annoying irritants like Newman and a later mainstay, the Soup Trump—eh Nazi. Unlike the steady Jerry Seinfeld, who corralled all the insanity around him, Mr. Trump feeds, adapts, adopts, and welcomes disparate borderline personalities. As a matter of fact, he is a one-man Seinfeld show. Weird hair, insecure, scatterbrained but the divergence comes when peril replaces laughter.
One of the most famous episodes of Seinfeld aired in November of 1992, entitled The Contest. Without ever explicitly using the term, the sitcom episode introduced the phrase “master of my domain” as a metaphor for self-gratification. Watching the torture and misery of their friends to the point of breaking, to win a holdout contest, was the point of this self-cruelty. Another highly rated and remembered episode is The Chinese Restaurant, which aired in 1991. The storyline is based on a lie, sex, and greed, sound familiar?
Seinfeld was iconic because it took all the absurd things we hate about ourselves and made them tolerable through humor. Donald Trump takes absurdity and makes it loathsome. We are caressed by lies and drenched in greed, but with no happy ending in sight. It would be easy to take another entry into the American lexicon, thanks to Seinfeld, and just say “yadda—yadda—yadda,” its politics. The future of America is too important to continue to laugh at a group of Trump’s assembled misfits. Today Post Master General Louis DeJoy (hello Newman) appeared before a House Oversight Committee, denying everything. He knew nothing about overtime restrictions although he is the boss. He knew nothing about the removal of high capacity mail sorting machines, although he is the boss. The removal of the corner blue boxes, he knew nothing about, although he is the boss. Topping it off, when Rep. Katie Porter (D- CA.) asked him about postal rates, DeJoy begged off, admitting in two exchanges he knew little about the rates his agency charges:
- Porter: “Just wanted to check. What about to mail a postcard?”
- DeJoy: “I don’t know, ma’am.”
- Porter: “And what is the starting rate for USPS Priority Mail?”
- DeJoy: “Starting weight, 14 ounces.”
- Porter: “No, the rate, the price.”
- DeJoy: “I don’t know.”
- Goodbye, Newman…
Vote in 2020 for Change.