They’ve seen the light. Or at least some of them are beginning to. Like repentant cultists emerging from years spent cloistered in the wilderness of a messianic wannabe, they stand before us seeking absolution. They stand blinking, yearning for forgiveness, enduring the disapproval of our steely gaze. We were, wrong. You were right, they admit with lowered lashes. Just a con man, after all. A cheap trick.
During the course of the 2016 election campaign, President Donald Trump promised his supporters the sun, moon, and stars.
With considerable reluctance and no small modicum of humility, he offered on behalf of the people to recuse himself from a life of golf, condiment-soaked cuts of beef and leaky hookers. To be their humble servant, their champion.
Dare we say, messiah?
Sure, why the fuck not. Because he had come down from up high and if he had yet to provide any actual proof of his divinity well, that was only because secular institutions demanded that he wait until that ‘other’ lord and savior’s birthday for the coronation to take place.
The wait must have been brutal.
After eight years of having to endure former President Barack Obama. Having had to clench teeth at the sight of him declaring himself a feminist. Watching him bond with the LGBTQ people of America. Having to seethe in silent agony as job reports came in positive.
How it must have burned to see America do so well under a president who was so unashamedly not White.
Still, Obama’s time was up despite prior claims from the alt-right that he would refuse to relinquish power.
The nightmare was over and as Trump eased himself into the presidential office with all the equanimity and grace of a monkey with a cattle prod jammed up its ass they settled back and waited.
Waited for a miracle.
Miracle On 56th Street
It must have felt like Christmas to them. Which present to open first?
Perhaps Father Trump would get rid of the Muslims for them?
He’d promised to do so after all.
As they rushed towards the biggest, gaudiest present under the tree, their fingers must have tingled with anticipation. They tore at the wrapping paper almost peeing with joy as they saw the words ‘Muslim Ban’ could be seen written on the packaging beneath in a large racist looking font. With tears of joy the box was ripped asunder, the packing material scattered to the winds like pollutants under Trump’s new EPA regime.
Until they looked into an emptiness blacker than the coal-tar laced water they had drunk with lunch.
Oh yeah. ‘No religious test.’
Still, there was so much more that he had promised and it was hardly his fault that he hadn’t anticipated that constitutional checks might apply to the policy turds he came up with the night before he announced them.
There was the wall that Mexico was going to pay for of course. Sure, the fact that it might actually be more of a fence burned a little and yes, that it was estimated to cost almost twice what Trump had claimed was sub-optimal but that was Mexico’s problem, right?
Well, sadly no. They weren’t going to be paying for it after all.
But it was OK because Trump had promised to drain the swamp and nobody could deny that he’d done that.
Out went all the lobbyists who had for decades represented the interests of the so-called captains of industry at the expense of the ordinary, hard-working American. In their place, Trump ensconced the people the lobbyists had been working for.
Oh, they were still representing their own interest and fully intended to fuck over the little guy in a variety of novel, subtle and not so subtle ways. But they would do so without the need for all that shameful dicking about with middlemen.
After all, if you’re going to get fucked by white billionaires, why bother with the prophylactic of lobbyists? Trump was going to see that you were done over the old fashioned way, 1950’s style.
Actually, that really does suck.
Two months in and it was getting harder to see which — if any — of the 102 or so promises Trump made that he intended to keep. The disconnect between rhetoric and action was getting harder to swallow than a Taco Bell breakfast Quesadilla, despite the fact that most of his claims were less substantial than an amoeba fart in a hurricane.
His supporters needed a win. They needed a talking point, something to cling to, anything that could justify their faith in the man. Surely, there must be something he could get right?
Oh yeah. He was going to fix Obamacare.
The Couldn’t Care Less Act
His line on health care was fairly succinct. He promised universal health care that was going to be:
“Much less expensive and much better.”
Who could be against that? Oh right. The entire GOP.
The Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act seems to be cut from a very different cloth to the one Trump championed in 2016. Far from being universal, the plan actually increases the number of people who are uninsured by around 24 million. Far from being less expensive, it also increases costs by almost $5,000 per enrollee.
Far from being much better it utterly sucks.
The land filled with sunshine and lollipops that formed the cornerstone of Trump’s entire message turned out to be one of fiscal responsibility, good old fashioned conservative ‘go fuck yourself’ societal niceties and lies heaped upon lies mixed in with a healthy serving of bullshit.
This ‘much more expensive and much worse,’ act was not what his supporters voted for. And it might be the beginning of an awakening.
Opine Of The Masses
Take Craig Moss for example.
He was a ubiquitous sight at Trump rallies in 2016; he attended no fewer than 45 of them.
The reason for such zeal is easy to empathize with.
Having lost his 24-year-old son Rob on Jan. 16, 2014 from a heroin/fentanyl overdose, he was looking for something to help make sense of it all. Trump’s promises to tackle the epidemic of opioid abuse sweeping the country, and his promise to:
“…Stop the inflow of opioids into the US,” resonated with Moss. At last, somebody seemed willing to do something.
and for once, Trump’s message was in fact backed by policy commitment. Speaking to a town hall in Columbus, Ohio, in August he said:
“It’s very hard to get out of the addiction of heroin. We’re going to work with them, we’re going to spend the money, we’re going to get that habit broken.”
Alas, Trump’s uncharacteristic grasp of a solution to a real problem proved to be as whisper thin as the fine hairs gorilla-glued to his scalp.
“I’ve lost my heart … I’m not on the Trump trail anymore. I believed everything he said. Now I don’t believe he was true in his word when he was speaking. I think he was looking for votes, to be honest with you.”
Fool Me Once
As tinged with tragedy as Moss’s story is, there are elements of hope to be found within it.
Trump promised too much, and although we are still only a few months into his administration, some of his former admirers are starting to wake up to the reality.
No sun, no moon.
And the only star they are likely to see is the one that Trump admires above all else.