BALTIMORE — We owe Donald Trump a hearty and sincere “thank you.”
Not only did he save us a lot of money (see below)… but he also helped us better understand how government actually works.
What “The Donald” understood better than the professional politicians was that democratic politics is basically a form of entertainment.
It’s a sordid part of show biz — all hocus pocus… suspension of disbelief… and performance art — closer to nude mud wrestling than The Crown.
The press still doesn’t get it.
In an article that appeared in The Washington Post on Tuesday, reporters had tallied 1,950 “false or misleading claims” the president made last year.
We were surprised; we thought he had made more than that. And why not?
No one expects a standup comic to tell the truth. No one checks Beyonce’s lyrics for factual errors. And who worries about accuracy while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Another article tells us that Trump is “mocked on social media for bragging” about his nuclear button.
Of course, that’s not what President Eisenhower would have done. But these are not Ike voters. And this is not Ike’s Old Republic.
Today’s voters have lost faith in the system, with its solemn deceit and its counterfeit dignity. And they’re happy to hear someone speaking in a language they understand — the lowbrow media patois of Howard Stern, the Kardashians, and “The Big Dog” himself, WWE champ Roman Reigns.
Trump, a lifelong celebrity, sensed that the role of president has little to do with geopolitical facts, mastery of the federal budget, or knowledge of history.
It’s more like a reality TV show or a WWE wrestling match — with put downs… posturing… and fake fights.
In other words, it was right up his alley.
Deal of a Lifetime
Mr. Trump understood, too, that the real task of government — bossing people around and ripping them off — is done by the Deep State, the cronies, the elite, and the lifers in D.C.
He knew he couldn’t beat them. All he could do was make the deal of his lifetime — allowing him to pretend to be the Champion of the Common Man of Flyover America…
…while not rocking the insiders’ boat.
A year later, the boondoggles continue at home. The phony wars continue overseas. And it’s all still funded by a fake-money system.
Another thing Mr. Trump understood was that the “fans” — the voters — were fed up.
He guessed they would flock to a candidate who seemed to talk straight… pledged to stop losing wars… and promised protection from foreigners with walls, torture, and trade barriers.
The pros — too circumspect and timid to stoop to this kind of rabble rousing — no longer got them excited.
They wanted someone to “tell it like it is”… They wanted a brazen liar who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth: that the system was rigged against them… and that the riggers filled the Capitol, the government bureaucracies, Wall Street, the media, and big business, too.
Trump was right on all counts.
The president probably still doesn’t understand how it is rigged. But he has the knack of a showman… an instinct for mob psychology… and a well-developed skill at crowd manipulation.
Big Guy President
Posing as a friend of the little guy, Mr. Trump proved to be the perfect big guy president — cutting taxes for the big guys on Wall Street… increasing spending for the big boys in the Pentagon and its industry cronies… helping to stifle real reform of runaway entitlements… teaming up with Pelosi and Schumer to keep the debt ceiling going up with no limit on deficits.
What a show!
And everybody has a part to play. Even the liberal media has a role: guardian of democracy’s faux virtue.
The press pretends to be after the president for plotting with the Russians to defeat Hillary.
Every day, it bangs the drum of “Russiagate,” knowing full well there is nothing there worth investigating.
The feds spend $75 billion a year keeping track of “enemies” and “dissidents.” If there were any fire in the Trump camp, and the insiders really wanted to be rid of the blond bombshell, the smoke would be stinging our eyes by now.
But never was feigned outrage so profitable. The media never had it so good. People tune in every day just to hear what dumb, outlandish, absurd, or pathetic thing the president will do next. The media love him; they know he’s always had good ratings.
The Deep State loves him; they know his mock combat is protecting their scam.
The rich love him; he’s continuing to shovel money in their direction.
The poor love him; they like the way he talks… and they lack the necessary cynicism to understand what is really going on.
The insiders — at least those who understand the game — love him; he keeps the fake money flowing their way.
And the outsiders love him, too; they think he’s on their team!
And most of all… we love him. Here at the Diary, that is. Over the holidays, we got a note from our chief financial officer. He calculated that the GOP tax cuts would shave our tax bill by 22%.
So we are grateful to The Donald for the money, but also for making 2017 an entertaining and instructive year.
More than any candidate before him, he showed us what a greasy and disgraceful business government really is.
And for all his glaring faults and shortcomings… Mr. Trump is still right: The system is rigged.
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.