Commentary: Fairy tales being told at ‘failing’ Trump rallies?

I have heard a lot of “Failing CNN” and “Failing New York Times” and “Failing [everything else]” from our President Donald Trump over the last couple of years. I have observed parts of videos of a few Trump rallies, read quotes from some rallies, and read the entire transcript of Trump’s recent Dallas rally. I have read a lot about the reactions to these rallies by other people.

Nonpartisan fact-checkers easily find many lies and misrepresentations in what Trump says. It thus seems like Trump rallies are more like sports or entertainment events than presentations of rational ideology or objective reality. Trump acts a lot like Bart Simpson.

The Wikipedia entry for Bart Simpson describes him as mischievous, rebellious and disrespectful of authority. Bingo. Do Trump supporters like Trump because they consider Trump’s vulgar language, cussing, name-calling and other insensitive and abrasive remarks as personality characteristics more important than qualities such as truthfulness, politeness, kindness, and fairness?

Another thing about Trump rallies is that they are just “Jerry Springer Show” knockoffs. These shows were popular for a long time. Wikipedia called them “tabloid talk shows.” Other website essays referred to them as “trash TV.” In these shows confrontations, brawls, on-stage violence, and fist fights were encouraged and audiences loved it. At moments of peak audience excitement in these shows the audience would chant “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.”

In a Trump rally you get chants like “Lock her up, lock her up,….”, etc. The only difference between a Trump show and “The Jerry Springer Show” is that Springer was the host and the guests did the fighting but in the one-man Trump show, the target victims are elsewhere and unable to defend themselves from Trump’s “shooting-fish-in-a-barrel” performance.

But not everyone thought the Bart Simpson personality and the Jerry Springer themes, values and role models were acceptable. In the Wikipedia entry for Springer is a quote from the book “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” It said Springer was “…capitalizing on disadvantages of guests and stupidity of his audience.” Parental groups complained about the role models on the Springer show, too. Still others complained that it was dysfunctional and voyeuristic to watch other people’s miseries, struggles with addictions, vulnerabilities and other issues in their private lives.

Trump’s big push recently has been about three things: first, him making America great again (even though it has always been great as well as number one in the world for many decades and never was less than great); second, keeping America great (by remembering to vote for him next year); and, third, don’t forget that he is — by his own proclamations — the greatest president ever, complete with halo, angel wings and omnipotence. Let’s think a little more about all those three things.

His most recent rally in Dallas lasted an hour and a half. Reports indicate that his rallies are all about the same: saying how great he is and how terrible Democrats, Hillary and Obama are, and anybody else that disagrees with him.

I spent an hour and a half doing internet searches on the following “Trump + search” terms: failures, mistakes, legal troubles, business failures, lawsuit win-to-lose ratios, crimes, and investigations (one internet reference said Trump is presently involved as a target in 30 investigations). I found a very large number of references and a variety of sources giving a pretty dubious picture of Trump. In one case, the Institute for Policy Integrity (, a nonpartisan think tank, found that Trump lost 90% of lawsuits against his deregulation efforts (53 losses, five wins). It looks like Trump is telling mostly fairy tales at his rallies.

In a search on “world popularity” Trump comes up as almost the most disliked and unpopular current leader in the world. How is that going to help this country keep its past admiration and respect by most countries in the world? Instead of building and maintaining “bridges” to the rest of the world, he insults leaders, damages relationships with our allies, withdraws from treaties and agreements and negotiates by putting a “tariff gun” to the heads of our trade partners.

There will be a lot of long-lasting bad feelings over this. His response to victims of natural disasters is more like that from a cheapskate Scrooge. And, what happened to “repeal and replace”? Where is the “replace”? In terms of his oath to uphold the law, he is ignoring and obstructing the law by his non-cooperation in investigations. What is he hiding? If he had nothing to hide he could say “Go ahead, look all you want” and the investigations would evaporate overnight. Or is his refusal to cooperate with investigations an attempt to “normalize” his behavior which is otherwise more like that of a medieval king rather than a U.S. president?

Lastly, the polls have shown zero change in his low approval (40-42%) to high disapproval (52-54%) ratio in over a year. If Trump were really making America great again, then his approval rating would be constantly increasing. This sure looks more like a failing administration than a winning administration.

If “The Jerry Springer Show” is “tabloid TV,” then maybe what we have is really a tabloid president, one whose tax cuts preferentially benefit the rich and big corporations. Instead of making the American economy great, the nearly minimal increase in wages for most of the 99% and the big increase in national debt from the tax cut, which falls back on the 99% as future tax liability, and the Trump tariffs canceling out any benefit from the tax cut, means we are really on an economic treadmill running faster but going nowhere.

Arthur E. Sowers is a resident of Harbeson.

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