Well it eventually happened. The voters finally grabbed Donald J Trump by the pussy, delivering with delicious irony his own punchline: “Mr President, your fired!”
Having amassed thousands of political memes over the last few years, you notice these watershed moments. When an event signals the end of a meme’s shelf life.
Trump’s election loss and his eventual political death is the end of an era, or an error – or maybe even a terror. Though I suspect he’ll be around for a few months, his life will become the paparazzi beat for failures, keeping up circulation for the National Inquirer and its ilk.
So, Mr Trump, thanks for all the meme memories. Now seems like an appropriate moment to end this (shit) show and share the collection and legacy with Globe Trotsky followers before we move on.
You really were a legend in your own mind. A populist, a man of the people, a patriot, with famous (sleazy) friends in high places. In reality a racist, a liar, an imbecile, petulant, anti-intellectual, anti-science, faux religious and an adulterer.
Trump was a gift to the satirists and opponents alike.
The Statue of Bigotry
Indeed, a quick scroll through the collection is to visually walk through this clusterfuck of American and global politics, when the grandees of the US Republican Party inflicted the most unsuitable political candidate in a desperate attempt to reclaim the post of leader of the free world. We should never forgive them or forget for this reckless, selfish gamble.
(I refuse to use the term GOP (Grand Old Party) to describe the Republican Party in the same way I prefer to call Boris, Alexander De Pfeffel Johnson. It’s too ‘cuddly and matey’ – when they are both dangerous forces carrying out evil acts.)
The vitriol, the bombast, the straight-out lies, the gaffes, the golf, the dodgy deals, the hiring and firing, impeachment, ignorance, imbecility, the misogyny, the dog whistle racism, the persona and the narcissism: It’s all there reflected in the images throughout this blog along with the tan and the combover hair for caricature.
He has enlivened the world for newspaper cartoonists, commentators, illustrators and viral inventors; meanwhile many looked on at this car-crash presidency. While supporters thought he would grow into the role, the remained looked on in disbelief as this drunk driver of president, careered on down the road smashing into parked vehicles on either side with pedestrians running for their life as we looked on in real time at every news bulletin.
Elect a clown, expect a circus
‘Celebrity’ candidates have happened before with actor Ronald Regan gaining the highest position in US society. A number of military and business leaders have also served in government.
But this guy Trump was inherited wealth: a nobody, a nothing, just a brash, acerbic, reality TV star with a Twitter account. I suspect someone set it up for him.
This was going to be different. He was certainly going to be an assault on both the eyeballs and the eardrums.
To be fair he did tap into a very rotten core at the heart of the American establishment – the political, careerist elite who had watched on insulated as first the banks crashed the global economy and then business took its industry abroad in a bid to maintain profits. Ordinary American workers and communities were the victims.
In any economic crisis the Right always puts the crosshairs on the easiest targets. Illegal immigrants and the welfare dependent: The usual suspects. Trump was no different in this regard. I had to look up MAGA when I first saw the acronym on a baseball cap. ‘Make America Great Again’ was his campaign slogan.
Build that wall, make the Mexicans pay for it and a travel ban on muslims. Dog whistling to the redneck Riviera. And with a global media watching on the rest of the world was exposed to the dark underbelly of US class politics.
I’m no fan of millionaire media as we have the UK and not familiar with how the media operates in the US for individuals. No doubt it has become more partisan and social media has upscaled the potential for fake news and foreign interference.
Again, Trump buffed up his outsider, common-man badge with a full-scale assault on the media. He would brand them fake news, he would refuse to answer or just ignore “bad” questions. Then he would fire his press secretary. He was on his fourth with Kayleigh McEnany.
But being a bruiser only gets you so far. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News recently cut away from his recent rambling allegations of voter fraud.
Was really a man of the people, or just a man of the American people? As American as apple pie they say. Others say pornography and professional wrestling are more appropriate.
The perception and reality of the ‘man-of-the-people’ moniker is important as a media and political construct. Trump is inherited wealth. A bankrupted [checks notes] casino owner. A draft dodger. This isn’t a man of the people, this is a man of the con! A wealthy sex pest, with his catalogue bride… and daughter.
Yet, a man of Christian votes, sorry values; who tear gasses protestors so he can hold up a bible as a callous photo-op and appeal in election year to his demagogic demographic.
Personally, I find it ironic that the Mayflower sailed 400 years ago this year and the same religious fanatics who thought England wasn’t ‘ISIS’ enough for the Reformation and fled to build the Jerusalem in the New World and claimed manifest destiny for their mission.
Their ancestors would recognise their WASP-ish great-grandchildren today by their confederate flags and their continued opposition to progressive causes.
It almost became a standing joke. What has President Dickhead said now? It was usually a gaffe or a lie. During one Independence Day speech he praised the army, which “took over the airports” from the British during the revolutionary war in the late 1700s. We are only scratching the surface here.
Meanwhile there are religious conspiracy theorists who believe this man has been sent from god as some sort of messianic saviour for the
Maybe some of the nuance was lost on us Europeans. I kept searching for the real Donald, the economist, the job creator, the “I’m on solid ground here” guy. All I confirmed was the he is a caricature of himself.
If there was a small dog shit to step in on a wide pavement (sidewalk for US comrades) this guy jumped in with his wellies. KKK White Nazis – good people on both sides, George Floyd – Antifa looters. (Shaking my head in disbelief as I write this) It was barstool politics of the most basic kind.
And the self-belief and narcissism are off the radar. George W Bush was portrayed as stupid but at least could put a sentence together and get the emotion right when the situation demanded it. Trump was locked-ward material; consistently, relentlessly, almost enjoyable until you remember this is reality – not reality TV.
Sure, the ‘Rocketman’ jibes were entertaining. But we end up starting to look beyond the educational and adult/business successes and failures and end up looking at a psychological profile of this man. And my question again, is why would a political tribe put this man up for political office without it being a sick desperate joke?
There exists in the USA – outlined by the bizarre but excellent Grayson Perry – a political and personal neuroses called ‘white extinction anxiety’. It’s the type of alt-Right Nazism expounded by Steve Bannon and his acolytes. While he is right that culture is upstream of politics, this genocidal theory in a country that has barely accepted racial reset of the US civil war is ‘psyop’ of the lowest political order. And just the type of dog whistle politics Trump is most content playing, outside of his 300 rounds on the golf course.
And who wonders what might have happened but for the coronavirus pandemic. Again, while ‘Kung Flu’ was a sniggering racist soundbite for a virus that will just disappear…well if you inject bleach; this man lost the election by a slither.
I’m all for electoral participation. 2020 was the highest ever number to vote and the difference between the candidates is around 1%. Given the sheer comedic value that Donald Trump provided as the 45th President, any functioning democracy (and I include in that political parties, media, industry and working communities in that ) would have had this guy laughed out of contention.
Surely one can only draw the conclusion that it is the economic system of capitalism, that is undermining the forces of democracy, pitting individual against individual in a world of plenty, that is at fault.
Life and existence are too precious for politics to be played by a clown. Often a quote (or a meme sums up so succinctly. Michael Brooks American political commentator, who died suddenly this year, said “be ruthless with systems, be kind to people.”
Capitalism isn’t working. We need a better a system. The 2020 American election are an example of that.
A walk on the child side
So Donnie, as you contest the election, I say a long goobby with a selection of memes collected during your Presidency. A man who was born stupid and has since had a relapse.
Varying the Ayrian
I’m not a great fan of hateful, photographic, personal politics, but I make an exception for narcassists who think they are intellectually and physically better than everyone else, particularly immigrants!
As a German/Scottish immigrant, with that strange tan and the combover, Trump deserves it all.
Donald leads the Nasty Party
For those who remember or read about the rise of Nazism many were appalled that parallels could be drawn to the rise and behaviours of Trumpism. KKK and white supremicitst supporters were just as quick and pleased to hear and adopt the symbols of a war their parents fought against.
Trump’s wailing wall
Early on in 2016 , Trump demanded a wall be built. Immigrants were portrayed as murderers, rapists and drug dealers in his run for the White House, appealing to the baser instincts of poor Americans.
Trump’s foreign policy legacy
Funny enough, Trump was one of the presidents who wanted to stop sending troops abroad. But administration’s foreign policy hasn’t deviated from the broad economic imperialism based on oil and military contracts.
Looking at Lockdown
One of the fascinating elements of Trump’s support is its desire to link any sort of public health advice such as social distancing or a lockdown with socialism. I suppose after 70 years of cold war politics the propaganda has seeped into the American psyche. More disturbing is that having lost men in the war against fascism, many Trump fans were happy to sport Nazi slogans and symbols such as the swastica against any government advice or edits.
Imbleach the President
I watched along with millions as Donald Trump told a news conference that injecting bleach might be a way to combat coronavirus. The internet went haywire on the topic. Even the makers of Domestos were forced to issue a tweet to counter the President’s dangerous advice. Even in jest, why would someone even suggest this.
Lies and Fake News
Though he would later claim without conviction the bleach advice was a press wind up, he was prone to get angry at reporters who either asked – in Trump’s paradigm – awkward questions. He would deny stating things that were public record, refuse to take any responsibility for events or just turn the story, as he did on coronavirus. With deaths increasing he asked reporters why they weren’t writing about his amazing Facebook ratings. It was moronic insensitivity on stilts.
It wasn’t even true, as usual. “Did you know I was number one on Facebook? I just found out I’m number one on Facebook.” (Trump has 29 million followers; Obama has 53 million.)
A modern take on timeless art
Yet there were some moments of genuine comparison. These two takes on classic American paintings made me smile at using using a current situation with timeless art. Grant Wood’s 1930 American Gothic and Edward Hopper’s 1942 Nighthawks; both updated for 2020 covid lockdown.
Black Lives Matter
The death of George Floyd sparked huge worldwide demonstrations, not just among black and minority communities in the USA who have suffered decades of disproportionate levels of police brutality but spontaneously among right-minded people across Europe and Australia.
This Black Lives Matter campaign fed into a wider debate about the symbols of slavery such as statues and flying the confederate flag.
Again Trump was on script, blaming looters and defending white supermicists, with no acknowledgement of the history of slavery or institutional racism.
Using my Religion
Donald Trump has no shred of religious conviction. It’s all a sham. He grabs women by the pussy and pays off porn stars he’s slept with. But the American political system demands you get into bed with the religious right. Even if it’s just for show. Which it is for Trump. Nevertheless, the Oval Office prayer meetings and religious photo-ops play well with his religious voting base. Throw in a bit of flag waving and the military moms will love you as well. It’s more naked than a Stormy Daniels porn movie.
Dumb and Dumber
As both the USA and the UK were ranked in the top two for covid deaths, the ‘special relationship’ was recast with Trump and De Pfeffel as starts of Dumb and Dumber.
In TV parlance there is little doubt the Trump impacted the USA ratings. In a world of 24-hour rolling news, Tweeting Trump, has made the nation a global laughing stock.
Here, the most stupid of people were allowed to vote for the most stupid of candidates. This wasn’t going to end well for a nation built on individualism and straight talking. Not everyone deserves a public platform.
Now all sorts of American stereotypes and behaviours were in play on the meme front – from gun crime to obesity, racism to rednecks lifestyle. There was no mercy from the internet or meme satirists.
The word ‘Murica appears in dictionaries as a pejorative abbreviation of slang way of pronouncing America, stereotyping how white, southern patriots might pronounce the term.
Flaw and Order party
The switch into law and order mode by Trump following the opportunist looting and violence that coincided with BLM protests, also provoked irony from the satirists. For a country formed during a revolution from the British and the welded together from a civil war against slavery. Despite centuries of slavery, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were both assassinated protesting the very same white man with a badge authority who knelt on George Floyd’s neck till he stopped breathing.
If only Trump had read his American history…or any history for that matter. Or even a book before lashing out at the protests. Native Americans also found his anti-immigrant and build that wall policies paradoxical given their treatment.
Trump’s feted meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was a great PR stunt but has done little to disarm the hermit kingdom or improve relations between the two nations. Nevertheless, the internet lit up with all sorts of comedy and parody following their diplomatic get together in 2018.
Star Strangled Banter
I had been due to travel extensively across the USA during 2020 until covid and the international lockdown postponed that trip. I have made a number of friends across the Pond and should point out, as with any country, that a polarising leader does not represent every citizen. And there is no individual responsibility for Trump or his administration. I hope the trip will take place once a vaccine is found.
Many of the them will be delighted with the slender outcome of the 2020 Presidential election which is still disputed as a write. Even in this weary political war of words and ligitation, the meme creators continue to bring a smile to the face of those who, like Globe Trotsky, have followed the lows and real lows of the Trump administration.
When I was 20, I was up all night taking drugs and trying to get a shag, now on election night I’m up all night worried that the suburban housewife vote won’t be strong enough in Pittsburgh.
As Trump clings on and continues to dispute the count, we are chastened to remember that Biden’s victory is razor thin. Some say the race was closer than Donald and Ivanka at a father-daughter dance.
This was no knockout and the Republicans may still hold power in the Senate. Trump may go but his 70 million voters are still out there.
I hope it is the end of Donald Trump politically. In the end he comes across as a man with no books, no friends, no music, no curiosity, no patience, no integrity, no compassion, no empathy, no loyalty, no conscience, no manners, no respect, no honour; not even a pet dog.
I look forward to visiting my friends when America is in a better state of mind and under new management.
As a former journeyman journalist, chapeau to the local press in my native Scotland and Ayrshire, where Trump owns a golf course, who took this peculiarly but accurate local angle to the the global news of the US election result.
And one favourite combining the iconic design for Obama and a peculiarly scottish term for the scrotum.
For anyone looking to understand more about the USA beyond the apple pie histories, can I recommend a few books?
And feel free to add you own suggestions in the comments.
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