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Debate #1: Trump

September 26, 2016

This page is fiction (every novel should have at least one), as is its opposing page on Hillary. Ahead of the first debate, I want to imagine T and H as characters in a fiction novel, on debate night. Then I’ll have fun seeing how far from nonfiction my fiction was.


Before the debate, my fictive T clarifies his persona, which is his strategy, main theme, and key policy proposal. He is the campaign, the campaign is he. Having established his persona, he need merely be “himself.” In fact, he will lose his voters if he is any other. His reviled opponent will help draw the contrast with herself. She need only stand next to him. Weak.

He puts out the rumor that he is such an amateur, such a glorious outsider, that he isn’t even practicing for the debate; but he has been practicing during his speeches. He has all come together in a major harangue against immigrants, reinforced on that same day by his evangelical: we’re under attack and out of control; the policies and practices of the Democratic administration have destroyed the nation, and only Trump can provide the leadership that can swiftly return it to great—greater than great.

He also declares that he will be nice, and show Hillary the respect that she deserves. But he knows that if he does that, he will lose his voters, because he and his party have convinced them that she deserves nothing but contempt and ridicule (and maybe assassination).

Tonight his opponent is Woman, all that stands in His way of becoming World Leader.

Above all, there is no good in her. She is to be reviled.

And so the show begins:

Blitzkrieg. In the immigration speech he started with an appearance of calm reason, worked himself and his audience into frenzy, then ended with “I love you.” But this is Total War. He moves immediately to annihilate Hillary’s defenses and totally dominate. Muslim Muslim Muslim Everywhere Everywhere Everywhere Allthetime Allthetime Allthetime. He called it!

[Wait. Too predictable? How about, Hillary’s scheme is to secretly join Russia in the war in Syria in order to drive Muslim refugees into Europe and America? He can decide just before he speaks. It might depend on who wins the coin toss. Trust his intuition. (But remember, dear reader, we are witnessing the revenge of the feminine. No one can predict that. Trust the intuition.)]

He deploys his Total Truthlessness. The premise of his persona and campaign is, in itself, a work of fiction: the saturation lying campaign that has been carried out by the Republican party beginning with Nixon’s secret plan for peace with honor. The tactic: lie about everything and claim that it is your opponent who lies about everything. He lights up his target.

In his voters’ viewer-imaginations, his opponent in the ring is already cast as villain, no matter what she says. She is the type. She is The Elitist Threat to America, Corruption Incarnate, Why America Doesn’t Win Anymore. She is Woman, The Unworthy, Out of her Place, Confused, Deluded, Conspiring to Cheat and to Tempt, The Great Satan, and a Clinton.

He sticks to his guns. By being himself, unflinching and relentless, the candidate whom his supporters come out to see, at his worst he delivers victorious rope-a-dope. He bobs and weaves with a tour-de-force of verbiage:

“They’re here. And I’ve been saying. This is going to be like the Trojan horse. We’re letting tens of thousands of people flow into this country and they are bringing in, in many cases, this is cancer from within. This is something that’s going to be so tough and you know they stay together, so nobody really knows who it is, what’s happening. They are plotting. They keep plotting, and this has been going on for so long and everybody knows it and the good law enforcement, we have such great people. That’s the best thing we have going is that we have great law enforcement. They know about it.”

[Right, that’s not fiction—thanks to Josh Marshall at TPM.]

Hillary cannot land a blow.

At his best he is magnificent, triumphant. Regardless, he is ruthless. He puts on an exciting show.

This woman standing here (if she can stay on her feet) beside The Towering Trump, he shows her no respect, no mercy. He snarls his contempt, like a junkyard dog. He is terrifying. It’s all junk anyway. None of this is legit. Only he is Reality. Don’t be played by the media. It’s all rigged. They’re coming. Be prepared. Guard the polls. Great again.

He walks out onto the stage.

[Next day]

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