WHO DO YOU LOVE?

Why Trump Will Likely Defeat Biden In 2024

Donald is America in Human Form

Thomas Greene
6 min readJan 19, 2024

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The Yankee-Doodle-ist Of Them All (Bill Gold, public domain)

End-stage Trumpism has always been our fate. No society competes with America for cultural soil so fertile, and yet so toxic, that it could create, out of nothing but sheer noise, a dearly-beloved freak like “President Trump.”

It was so easy. A mere decade before his White House campaign, Donald began playing the role of self-made billionaire on The Apprentice, enjoying a swift promotion to national status from his original post as a local media parasite hammering loudly on the firmly locked gates of New York society. He debuted alongside Paris Hilton and the Kardashians. Like them, he grew larger than life in a puffed-wheat kind of way.

Nothing here should surprise us; Donald is the natural American leader, the organic choice. Can’t you just hear Seventy-Six Trombones playing him on and off the stage? He points us toward what H. L. Menken called “the American lust for the hideous, the delight in ugliness for its own sake.”

Donald, more than most, is willing to appear grotesque in order to remain popular. That is his superpower. Earlier avatars have plagued us for two centuries. He’s the Music Man; he’s the Yankee Doodle boy. But he’s also strenuously mediocre, like Mark Twain’s Duke and Dauphin, and that is what makes him so uniquely, no, deliciously, American.

Just add bots and stir
How did we underestimate his appeal? Technology played a part. There has been a leap in data mining bandwidth and AI competence and pervasiveness by several orders of magnitude in the past decade. Almost every particle of information you encounter on every device you use, and every app you run, is filtered and curated by marketing AIs whose mission is to draw eyeballs to ads.

Political beliefs often coincide with patterns of consumption, so when online AIs categorize and connect people according to their interests in goods, services, information, and entertainment, they reinforce political biases as a side effect. We are segregated in virtual consumer districts — information ghettos — that serve as echo chambers indulging every manner of belief and desire, however peculiar or unhealthy, while censoring contradictory voices, including truthful ones.

Donald’s admirers experience a comprehensive program of pro-Trump propaganda in the information ghettos toward which they are herded by marketing AIs aiming to sell fishing tackle, gold certificates, and reverse mortgages. The professional class have little cause to visit such sites, and are instead directed toward posh, virtual cul-de-sacs by AIs keen to sell organic tea, wild salmon, and space-age baby strollers.

That’s why educated people were blindsided by Donald’s 2016 victory. They never saw it coming because the bots curating their daily online experiences filtered out realistic portrayals of the MAGA movement. Whenever they encountered clips of Trump’s rallies with audiences deliriously cheering his signature torrent of self-serving fatuities, they dismissed it all as a freak show, the appeal of which would be limited, surely, to a handful of Ku Kluxers, misogynists, and gun nuts in remote quarters. They couldn’t (and still can’t) imagine that their neighbors a few blocks over thought “President Trump” was worth a shot, because, really, their health security, housing security, and conditions of employment can’t get much worse. We are all heading swiftly toward the day when “middle class” will mean still having a car to sleep in. And Donald is selling the snake oil that passes for an actual remedy.

Trump is a faithful reflection of America. We couldn’t have resisted electing him. His fraudulence is spectacular and he exhibits it shamelessly: merrily dry-humping an American flag on stage in front of thousands; boasting of immunity to Covid while getting pumped full of exogenous antibodies, availing of health care funded by taxes that he doesn’t condescend to pay. The plasti-dip tan, the troll-doll hair, the lazy, limp-wristed “power fists,” the phallic necktie — all of it loudly hooting, “Of course I’m a broke-ass punk with no game pretending to be a billionaire-statesman. That’s why you adore me: I am the American nightmare made flesh.”

Every social media marketing algorithm is tuned to seek something like him, then amplify, multiply, and interconnect. A train wreck, a bridge collapse, a kid choking on a lungful of ground cinnamon: it’s all the same to marketing AIs, which have no taste and no conscience. Thus Donald draws eyeballs “big league”.

The prole whisperer
Educated people imagine that Trump has disgraced himself with his first-term follies and subsequent sore-loser crimes and antics enough for Joe Biden to win a second term. Just look at the results of his previous tour of duty, plus the denialist aftermath, and the error of electing him is self evident, they’re thinking. No way will voters make that mistake again.

They’re wrong. Biden’s principal virtue is his mediocrity. No one loves him; no one is enthusiastic. The most charitable thing I can say is that Trump would likely be worse, although that’s not certain: Donald is profoundly lazy and comically inept, so he might be 15 percent more evil than Biden, and 60 percent less effective. Which might make him the better choice.

Biden is losing votes, which is to say, he’s helping Trump, by sponsoring the Israeli genocide in Gaza. Not all Democratic voters are willing to protect him from himself. His ‘brand’ is becoming toxic: Just as Nixon will always be known as “Tricky Dick,” and Clinton as “Slick Willie,” so will Biden be known forever as “Genocide Joe.”

Moreover, Biden’s Gaza fiasco is doing permanent damage to America’s reputation and status in the world. And yes, so would Trump if he were in office, but that’s like preferring Ted Bundy to Jeffrey Dahmer because Bundy was more stylish, educated, and amiable, and he didn’t actually eat any of his victims. Regardless of which candidate wins, the residents of Gaza will be exterminated, and the Israelis will get away with it. Trump benefits from this because many of his voters are enthusiastic supporters of the Gaza Holocaust and won’t withhold their votes over this issue. That’s not the case for Biden.

Domestically, once again, Trump has strengths that the Democrats lack. Biden’s instinct for virtue signalling remains as sharp as ever, but he’s done little to impede the national plutocracy’s apparent quest to take possession of all the world’s resources and wealth. Children in Baltimore and Newark lack health care and decent nutrition because Bezos, Musk, Gates, Schmidt, Zuck, Cook, et al. simply haven’t got enough yet. Biden doesn’t care about poverty wages; he doesn’t care about the pain and resentment that inspired half of America’s voters to put Trump in the Oval Office despite the risk, and might do again. He merely pretends to care. Amanda Gorman’s Straight Outta Harvard flow at the inauguration did not fix anything. Loan forgiveness for the middle class is scant cause for celebration when you put in 60-hour weeks delivering Amazon parcels and can’t afford a single article of clothing or accessory suggesting that you work for a living.

Biden will not do a thing to remedy the national malaise of which Donald Trump is the most noticeable and memorable symptom. America’s triumph over the working class is complete: Capital has got Labor on its knees while Government fastens the zip ties. Trump speaks to the invisible, wounded members of both parties. He knows instinctively that working-poor Democrats share more in common with working-poor Republicans than they do with educated centrists, a fact understood and used to advantage by earlier populists like Boss Tweed, Huey Long, and James Michael Curley — all of them true Americans. Donald harnesses popular resentments that span party divisions. But he’s not unique. Take him away and America will find someone else to enliven our swift descent into political Grand-Guignol.

I won’t be surprised if he wins a second term, but whatever happens on election day, one fact is indisputable: we will never be rid of Donald. He’s too entertaining and unpredictable, too inclined to trend. He’s the president America has been waiting for.

If he loses to Biden, or ends up disqualified, or in prison, he’ll expand his own media outfit and generate a relentless deluge of clips and quotes adequate to support his next number as “President in Exile,” his inanities forever buoyed by marketing AIs — those invisible electronic hustlers and swindlers that govern the vast ocean of hogwash through which we all swim.

And I can think of nothing more American than that.

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