In The People v. O.J. Simpson, Johnnie Cochran, a member of O.J. Simpson’s dream team legal squad, tells his colleagues, “Evidence doesn’t win the day. Jurors go with the narrative that makes sense.” The show presents DNA analysis as being so new that most jurors could make neither head nor tail of solid evidence presented that tied Simpson directly to the scene of two murders. Simpson’s defence relied on muddying the waters with accusations of systemic racism in the Los Angeles Police Department in order to prevent any conclusions being made beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury was enthralled by show tricks and rhetoric, smoke and mirrors around the fire of what actually happened on the night of the murders for which Simpson stood trial. Such seems to be the state of much political discourse.
Before last year’s presidential election, Donald Trump was solidly the candidate of anger — anger at elites, anger at the media and anger at the yawning gap between the rural and urban Americas. As part of this anger, Trump foretold destruction — draining the swamp and dismantling NATO, all while building a big beautiful wall. He was a “disrupter,” that faddish term economists use to describe upstart startups. Clinton’s message of hope couldn’t withstand Trump’s brand of change. Now Trump and his motley crew have taken over the White House and those who were angry before are no longer quite so.
Hannah Arendt wrote that terror is the foundation of totalitarianism. The regimes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin bound individuals into a single quivering mass through which terror coursed unhindered. Some say money is the root of all evil. I say fear is a more likely bedrock. Fear was an important, primal reaction that helped our ancestors survive – and we are all descended from the same; all races can trace their lineages back to the same primate forebears – in a dangerous world.
Donald Trump, like Mobutu Sese Seko’s illegitimate child, is already showing his nepotistic tendencies. Unprecedented is an understatement. Trump’s transition team reportedly enquired about obtaining security clearances for his children, the very people who would be controlling his “blind trust.” Ivanka Trump sat in on her father’s meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Trump, *ahem*, reportedly closed their meeting by asking his guest if he could help him understand just quite why “the nuclear” is so bad. Jared Kushner, a newspaper proprietor, could bring peace to the Middle East, according to Trump.
Before Tuesday night I had expected the gnashing teeth of a poll-drowned American electorate to soon take my most ugly of muses. The moment when the Trump well would run dry was close at hand. Alas, it was not to be. The Donald shall be enthroned in the seat of power, like a lascivious Jabba the Hutt, for a period of no less than four years (barring impeachment or some act by the “Second Amendment people”). America will replace its first black president with the orange zealot who built his political career on questioning his predecessor’s citizenship.
Don’t get complacent, Democrats. Donald Trump could still play an ace. Polls have tightened. Though many voters in states like North Carolina have already decided between Hillary Clinton and Trump, there remain high numbers of undecided voters in other battleground states, which could intensify Trump’s benefit from James Comey’s Halloween emails treat. Trump has, for once, resisted turning the attention back on himself.
Pauses for breath during this presidential campaign have seen much talk of the Democrats’ chances to retake the Senate. Their prospects appear to be buoyed by a rapidly sinking Donald Trump, who isn’t slinging mud as much as he is wallowing in it. His remarks and behavior have created quite the quandary for vulnerable Republican senators in purple states. Sure, Trump’s bark might be worse than his bite but the real trouble is his base. Yet among all this hopeful chatter Democrats continue to neglect state-level races, as they are wont to do.
Despite a week passing, Donald Trump’s performance at the presidential debate remains seared into my mind. That he consistently failed to meet the absurdly low expectations facing him was astounding. In contrast, Hillary Clinton did what she needed to, working like an assembly line robot to slot pre-rolled phrases together. They were so catchy (“trumped up, trickle down”) that even her stilted, android-esque delivery, with its slightly-too-long pauses and forced smile-grimace couldn’t sink her chances. However, most eyes were on Trump (they certainly stayed glued in his direction thanks to his odd, shifting facial expressions and constant sniffing).
The technical possibilities of tomorrow are just as incredible as those of the 1950s because they are real. Simultaneously everything is within reach and nothing. We use new technologies but few people understand their function. Machines, programs and devices on the horizon, rushing towards us, will be far less widely understood than would those of the 20th century, had they come to pass. It is conceivable that most people, with a modicum of study, could understand the functioning of a color TV or a flying car depicted in a pulp science fiction book.
Donald Trump may have tried to appear more presidential during his recent trip to Mexico but Hillary Clinton’s strategy remains one of painting her opponent as mentally unfit for the presidency. Clinton’s ads have used Trump’s words against him to attack both his temperament and his opinions. One memorable spot saw children gaping at television screens as Trump spewed increasingly offensive lines. Clinton’s team is merely replaying The Donald’s words, a man who once said that he’d date his daughter if only she weren’t his daughter. Portraying Trump as mentally unhinged and needlessly offensive may play well in 30 second digital ads but such a strategy is vulnerable.