A 1964 novel by Irving Wallace that speculatively explores the socio-political consequences in US society when a Black man becomes President of the United States.
The Irving Wallace novel came to mind this morning reading the latest outburst from Robert De Niro who claims that Donald J. is a “lunatic” who "doesn't care how many people die" in the US from the coronavirus, which currently stands close to 90,000.
Harsh words indeed but a sentiment that many I am sure share both at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (Although they may not openly admit it) and across the US as well as around the world.
So where are the parallels between Wallace’s fictional Douglass Dilman, the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, who succeeds to the presidency through a series of unforeseeable events, thereby becoming both the first African-American president and the first wholly unelected one and Donald J.?
On September 30, 2017, ABC News published an article “10 most common words Americans use to describe Trump”. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/incompetent-strong-egotistical-words-people-describe-trump/story?id=50178088
The second and last sentence of the opening paragraph reads “Hard measures of favorability and job approval reveal a polarizing president who elicits intense emotions and reactions from Americans across the political spectrum”.
Overall, the most frequent response to the question of what word best describes your impression of Trump – "incompetent" (4 percent).
The most common words that respondents gave were: "incompetent," "arrogant," "idiot," "egotistical," "ignorant," and "narcissistic."
Much in the way that the fictional President Dilman is conceived early in Wallace’s novel. However the end of the novel, Dilman has shown himself to be The Man the American people required at that moment.
The same can’t thus far be said about Donald J.
We saw last week a vague hint from Jared Kushner, Donald J’s son-in-law, and a White House advisor that the November presidential election could be postponed due to the coronavirus. https://news.yahoo.com/jared-kushner-says-cant-sure-003430808.html
As reported in the article, “it is not possible for the White House to unilaterally postpone an election — although Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has worried it is something that President Donald Trump might well try.” We’ve already seen Trump “publicly undermine the legitimacy of the vote”.
Now, I am no doctor, I have no medical degree or medical experience, but form all that I have read in the US/UK press over the last few years, Donald J. it would seem has an inferiority complex (is this fake news spread by the media to undermine the president?).
Reading an opinion piece last week about the US president and his mistrust of the media, the “infamy, infamy” line uttered by Kenneth Williams in the movie Carry on Cloe came to mind: “infamy, infamy they've all got it in for me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5kvm1HyeE0
Another example is Donald J.’s attack on former US present Barack Obama. It’s an accepted rule of thumb that former presents do not comment or offer criticism of their successors. That Obama did, although without mentioning Trump’s name may be a red-line. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/17/donald-trump-barack-obama-coronavirus-criticism
There appears to be no love lost between Obama and Trump, from the same article Trump says “Look, he was an incompetent president, that’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.” Another red-line crossed?
This past weekend which saw the death rate in the US from corona edge towards 90,000 (is this fake news?), the most noticeable comment from Donald J. was “So I think we had a great weekend. We did a lot of terrific meetings. Tremendous progress is being made on many fronts, including coming up with a cure for this horrible plague that has beset our country. It was a working weekend, it was a good weekend. A lot of very good things have happened.”
It’s a given that Trump panders to the lowest common demonstrator with his use of gutter speech, the question, however, must be asked, is the president able to string together a number of meaningful, coherent sentences in English that demonstrate his knowledge of the language and his supposedly excellent education?
Last week in the UK Guardian newspaper, US basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned (or had penned) a proposed speech for Trump. The newspaper headline read “If I were Donald Trump's speechwriter, this is the team talk I would suggest” https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/may/12/kareem-abdul-jabbar-covid-19-donald-trump
This suggested Call-to-Arms by the “coach” is a must-read, demonstrating as it does just how important a rallying cry is. Just maybe it's our Gettysburg Address?
In writing about Donald J. I am always reminded of the harsh words spoken by John Bolton to Kay Burley of SKY News a couple of years ago regarding her impelled criticism of the US president.
This came to mind again when reading an article first published in the UK medical journal The Lancet urging Americans to vote Trump out of office during to his handling of the corona crises: “The Lancet urges Americans to vote out Trump over coronavirus handling. The White House has repeatedly undermined leading US authorities on infectious diseases, the journal states” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/15/medical-journal-lancet-urges-americans-vote-trump-coronavirus/
You have to feel sympathy for the American people, I do. Here they are with a general election six months away and their choice appears right now to be mumbling, bumbling 77-year-old Joe Biden or 73-year-old Donald J. Trump, a man by all accounts grossly unfit for national office but hailed by many as a “king”.
The February 10, 2020 headline from The Boston Globe appears still to be relevant four months on: “Senators hail their emperor, but Trump’s no shoo-in for a second term” - https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/02/10/opinion/senators-hail-their-emperor-trumps-no-shoo-in-second-term/
And if you need more confusion, an article this morning from the UK Guardian newspaper is mind-boggling, read it to understand how the US general election works: “Could 'rogue electors' tilt the balance of the US election?” - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/17/us-election-2020-rogue-electors-supreme-court
If it all was not so serious, it would actually be funny.
That said, it could make a wonderful comedy movie plot.