All They Got Inside is Vacancy
The act is running out of steam . . . Wild money and a roller-skating dive bar . . . A lingering Canseco-dose? . . . The first Toilet President . . . The Madness and the yahoos
"Nixon's entire political career — and in fact his whole life — is a gloomy monument to the notion that not even pure schizophrenia or malignant psychosis can prevent a demented loser from rising to the top of the heap in this strange society we have built for ourselves in the name of 'democracy' and 'free enterprise.'"
-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Limbo: The Scum Also Rises
Jesus H., does anything ever change? It's been 46 years since we got rid of that crook, but we haven't exactly made malignant psychosis disqualifying in American Politics. It's more of a benefit than anything.
Clearly the current president is a dire case himself. It seems to be some sort of defense mechanism against a lifetime of gilded failure, but now it's starting to get seriously Weird. Trump has never inspired much confidence in his executive skill, but even his act of Holding it Together is starting to run out of steam.
It's possible that the reality of what's about to happen to him is beginning to set in. The smart money is on Biden. Only the wild money has Trump winning — and it could happen — but it's exactly the sort of wild that you want to keep your distance of, the kind you find in a roller-skating dive bar at 10:30 in the morning looking for an eye-opener.
There's that. But winning an election in the middle of a national crisis should have been a lot simpler than this. All he had to do is 1) let people know what's happening 2) make it seem like it's being handled 3) tell the country that everything is going to be alright.
That's an easy-win strategy for any normal president, but he couldn't follow through — for what seemed to be personal reasons? Maybe he really is incapable of the most basic functions of the job, or simple humanity, but hell, he could have bullshitted his way through it like he does everything else.
If he wanted the job, that is. Trump is a man with constant Fear oozing out of every crack & fold, but it's taken on a different tint lately. Is it the Covid? Or the lingering Canseco-dose of steroids he got to accompany it? Maybe an extra helping of his usual horse amphetamines to get him through the last campaign push?
It could be a lot of things. It's hard to even explain the look in his eyes during his 60 Minutes hissy-fit. Upon closer inspection, they didn't look remotely human — like he'd been replaced by a semi-sentient Real Doll president. If it was actually Trump in the flesh, then he was definitely gakked to the tits on something far stronger than he's used to.
Whatever it was — human or android — it didn't seem to quite understand why anyone would vote for him either. And those eyes… perhaps it was the dilated pupils, allowing us to see deeper into the vacancy; to behold the Empty, Bottomless Loneliness.
The Fear in him is real. He's spent every moment of his life plotting a blind escape into the next one, but even he can see what lies ahead. To lose the biggest popularity contest in the world would eviscerate the Trump persona, and it may be too much to bear.
But on the other hand, the truth & scope of what's actually going on in the country might be getting through the slop bucket on top of his head, and the way it looks, to even maintain for the next four years is going to take a monumental amount of Actual Work.
And I can tell you, as a Lazy person myself, that we can smell real work like sharks downwind from a sinking Carnival cruise ship. Except we go in the opposite direction, fast.
He's not trying to lose the election, but he's not trying very hard to win it either. Especially if it means giving even an inch on the Personality in Chief act that's been playing out in his head-carnival for the last four years.
It's the classic Lazy technique to get out of responsibility: Pretend to be working hard on something else, and then make it seem like it's somebody else's fault that you can't take it on.
It's what we know he's wanted all along, to turn his gig of watching TV all day and sitting on the toilet, ranting on Twitter into a full-time thing. Which is what he's doing now — our first Toilet President — except he keeps getting interrupted with documents to sign, memos to pretend to read, or briefings to actively ignore. What a drag.
But now, since he can't admit to ever losing, and also at this moment terrified of winning, the circuits are starting to blow.
Things are bound to get uglier between now and Inauguration Day. The unravelling of a psyche as fragile as Trump's is never fun to witness, and he'll whip up as much Madness as he possibly can between now and then.
Will the Madness be enough to keep him in the White House if he loses? That's been the scuttlebutt for a while now, and certainly he'll push it as far as he can. Because the side of him that Never Loses will fight to the death, even while the other side gnaws its own fingers off.
Could there be enough Trump yahoos in the street to overturn an election? Probably not, though those yahoos have been underestimated at least once before. But when military generals call you a jerk-off in public, it's usually not good for your coup d'état success rate.
Yahoos have surely toppled sturdier countries than this one, but something tells me it holds this time, all evidence to the contrary. And if not, well, the ride keeps getting more interesting.
If Biden's Basement Campaign ends up working, the system endures, and Trump is officially confirmed a Loser, the chances of him sticking around to the bitter end are pretty low, in my opinion.
I'm guessing he goes to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas and never comes back to Washington. He might issue a few dozen last minute pardons, because that's the fun shit, but he'll pretty much blow off any presidential duties, ignoring phone calls from cabinet secretaries, pretending not to see any Urgent Bulletins from the Joint Chiefs.
"Just have Pence do it," he'll say to somebody on his way out of town, then Donald Trump will fuck off to Florida with an empty White House behind him, and he will finally set off on that final Toilet Campaign.