A Trump dynasty? Only in sales to suckers
Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale raised eyebrows and invited overall derision when he predicted that the Trump family would turn into a political dynasty that would last for decades.
“I just think they’re a dynasty,” he said at a retreat for California Republicans. “I think they’re all amazing people … with amazing capabilities. I think you see that from Don Jr. I think you see that from Ivanka. You see it from Jared. You see it from all.”
Oh, we can see plenty from all of them, all right. We can see Donald Trump Jr.’s failing businesses. We can see multiple people accusing Ivanka Trump of stealing designs for her clothing line. We can see how Eric Trump blamed “fake news and Democrats” when a new Trump hotel chain failed. We can see how Jared Kushner’s real estate companies had to be bailed out with foreign money from offshore accounts. We can see all of them continually lying, with tongues that have more forks than formal place settings for a White House state dinner.
In making his over-the-top prediction, Parscale demonstrated the quality that Donald Trump and his family of grifters value the most: sucking up to them at all costs. The White House aides who have lasted in the revolving door at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. are those who never stop fawning over Trump and his offspring.
It’s worked out for Parscale, too: By multiple reports, Parscale is profiting handsomely from his post as campaign chair. Red State Data & Digital, his digital data firm that he supposedly is distanced from but which employs his wife, earned $910,000 from a side deal with a Trump super PAC. I guess a little boot-licking over the boss and his family is easy when you can haul in close to an extra million. To sweeten the deal, Parscale hired Eric’s wife, Lara, as a liaison to the Trump campaign. Why not cover all the bases, right?
Amazing? The Trumps are amazing at one thing: pulling a con job.
Since its founding, America has had political families that spanned generations. The saying that “politics is in their blood” refers to success in getting elected or chosen for a political position or what got talked about around the dinner table rather than anything genetic. “The ledgers are filled with successful politicians — the Adamses, Kennedys, Bushes, Gores, Cuomos, Lodges, Udalls, Rockefellers, Daleys, Longs, Talmadges, Tafts, Browns and all the rest,” says a piece from Politico Magazine.
John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, were both U.S. presidents, and a son of John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams Sr., was both a congressman and an ambassador to the United Kingdom. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were both presidents, but the extended Bush-Davis-Walker family had people in public office since 1778. The family has included multiple senators (Julius Rockwell, David Davis, Prescott Bush), a governor (Jeb Bush), two ambassadors (George Herbert Walker III to Hungary and Craig Roberts Stapleton to both the Czech Republic and France under Bush II), and multiple congressmen and state and local officeholders.
The Kennedy family might have started later, but they’ve been just as prolific: The family has had one president (John F. Kennedy), two senators (Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy), a lieutenant governor (Kathleen Kennedy Townsend), two U.S. ambassadors (Joseph Kennedy Sr. to the United Kingdom under FDR; Caroline Kennedy to Japan under Obama), three congressmen (Joseph Kennedy II, Joseph Kennedy III, and Patrick Kennedy), and several more who have served at other state and local levels.
But voters have grown tired of political dynasties and the sense of entitlement that they suggest. Joseph Kennedy III is considering a challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Ed Markey in Massachusetts, but he’s making the case for a generational change rather than a return to the Kennedy clan (Kennedy is 38; Markey is 73).
So how might voters react to the idea of Don Jr., Ivanka, or Eric running for office? After they picked themselves up off the floor from laughing so hard? Let’s hear what some pundits had to say.
A Politico piece, The Dynasty Ends With King Donald, squashes the idea flat.
Inside the family, Donald Jr. and Ivanka are battling one another for their father’s favor in an old-fashioned succession battle. Junior has the political edge, exciting the Trump faithful when he goes on TV or the hustings. But Ivanka, always the favorite child, still rouses the old man, who swoons at the thought of her becoming the first female president. …
If I were making book on the odds, I’d give Barron Trump a better shot at winning the office in 2060 — when he’ll be 54 years old — than any of his kin if only because his father’s taint will have ebbed to the point that we will be able to consider him his own man and not a dynastic heir.
Even Fox News’ Lou Dobbs thinks the idea is ridiculous. “This may be one of the dumbest things a campaign manager for a populist candidate ever said: Trump family building ‘dynasty’ for decades to come,” Dobbs tweeted. (Actually, the idea of referring to Donald Trump as a “populist candidate” is pretty dumb in itself.)
A CNN opinion piece by author Michael D’Antonio points out the obvious: “With the Trump presidency filling in the picture of Trump-style politics, Americans can now associate the family name with an unprecedented level of chaos.”
Chaos, cheating, dishonesty, disloyalty, illegality, laziness, unreliability, and an undeserved sense of entitlement — I’m sure I left out several negative characteristics that the Trumps share. But they’re all bad. After all, a campaign that sells overpriced merchandise like a $15 fine-point marker or a $15 pack of 10 plastic straws “just to own the libs” proved long ago that the family had no shame.
Actually, Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune nailed it. He writes that he knows how the Trump dynasty will last — by continuing to con the true Trumpanistas with “the coming Trump dynasty of aggrievement merchandising.”
That won’t lead the president and his various offspring to become a political dynasty. It’ll just lead to 40% of the population either realizing they got duped or continuing to exist in a perpetual state of aggrievement.
And aggrievement, particularly the white kind, is where the money’s at, giving the Trumps a fine opportunity to forge a dynasty of opportunists leveraging the fear of a changing world, and the fear of ever being proven wrong, for profit. …
They’ll find that “supporting” the Trump dynasty means opening up their pocketbooks. Buying “Trump Was Right!” T-shirts and “Trump Those Libs!” bumper stickers. Staying at new Trump properties aimed at luring lower-end customers and fleecing them with overpriced buffets and gift shops packed with Trump trinkets (made in China) and bias-confirming knickknacks.
Because, as Huppke concludes, “you never drop a con that works.”
Originally posted on Daily Kos on Sept. 15, 2019.