The Trump Era Sucks and Needs to Be Over – People looking for guides to understanding Trump shouldn’t look to histories of totalitarianism, Matt Taibbi argues. They should instead look to sales training.

The words we see slapped on him most often, like “fascist” and “authoritarian,” nowhere near describe what he really is, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. It’s been proven across four years that Trump lacks the attention span or ambition required to implement a true dictatorial regime. He might not have a moral problem with the idea, but two minutes into the plan he’d leave the room, phone in hand, to throw on a robe and watch himself on Fox and Friends over a cheeseburger. …

The elite misread of Trump is egregious because he’s an easily familiar type to the rest of America. We’re a sales culture and Trump is a salesman. Moreover he’s not just any salesman; he might be the greatest salesman ever, considering the quality of the product, i.e. himself. He’s up to his eyes in balls, and the parts of the brain that hold most people back from selling schlock online degrees or tchotchkes door-to-door are absent. He has no shame, will say anything, and experiences morality the way the rest of us deal with indigestion….

The question, “What is Trump thinking?” is the wrong one. He’s not thinking, he’s selling. What’s he selling? Whatever pops into his head. The beauty of politics from his point of view, compared to every other damn thing he’s sold in his life — steaks, ties, pillows, college degrees, chandeliers, hotels, condominiums, wine, eyeglasses, deodorant, perfume (SUCCESS by Trump!), mattresses, etc. — is that there’s no product. The pitch is the product, and you can give different pitches to different people and they all buy.

In 2016 Trump reeled in the nativist loons and rage cases with his opening rants about walls and mass deportations, then slowly clawed his numbers up with the rest of the party with his “softening” routine. Each demographic probably came away convinced he was lying to the other, while the truth was probably more that he was lying to all of them. …

In this sense the Republican Party’s 2020 platform is genius: there isn’t one, just a commitment to “enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda,” meaning whatever Trump says at any given moment.

Trump is a snake oil salesman. Or, for a more modern comparison: An infomercial host.

Taibbi sees the Democrats and Trump’s other opponents as not much better than Trump, offering people no platform other than opposing Trump. He’s wrong there, but that’s certainly how the Democrats are often perceived.

And both the Democratic and Republican leadership in DC suffer from the same illness: They’re beholden to billionaires, not the American people. And they don’t live in the same society we do and therefore don’t suffer the consequences of their malfeasance. That’s true in big ways — they get great, publicly funded healthcare, and the police and criminal justice system works for them. And it’s true in relatively small ways — they don’t have to hassle through airport security.

Taibbi concludes: Everything is about Trump, all the time, and we can all use a break.

Life under Trump has been like an endless Twitter war: infuriating, depressing, filling us all with self-loathing, but also addictive. He is selling an experience that everyone is buying, even the people who think they oppose him the most.

Trump is crazy and he makes other people crazy. Taibbi notes that Trump did not, at first, tout hydroxychloroquine as miracle cure for coronavirus, instead saying it has “tremendous promise” and adding “Maybe not” and “What do I know? I’m not a doctor.” But journalists jumped all over him and Trump being Trump he doubled down and found a lunatic doctor to back him up. Still, hydroxychloroquinine did show promising results in early trials.

Likewise, not mentioned by Taibbi, in Trump’s famous “good people on both sides” statement, he specifically excluded Nazis and white supremacists from the “good people.”

Yes, Trump is a hateful, racist lunatic, but we don’t have to make things up – or make ourselves hateful or lunatics – to prove that.

Biden offers voters an opportunity to take a break from being outraged all the time. It seems like a winning strategy, which could sweep the Democrats to control of the White House and both houses of Congress. But when they win, they need to enact massive, sweeping reforms, on the scale of the New Deal. If it’s back to pre-2016 business as usual, the Democrats will lose the 2022 midterms, the 2024 election and the cycle will continue until an autocrat with a work ethic takes the White House and/or the US just collapses, seemingly in a matter of days, like the USSR did in 1991.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner