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SWAN DIVE OR BELLY FLOP? Is Trump America's future "Il Duce"?

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BELLY FLOP: Jeb, Rubio and other Republicans are annoyed about Trump's entry into the presidential race.
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OKLAHOMA CITY –  Could there be a “President Trump” in our future?

With the eerily accurate predictions of the future on The Simpsons over the years, it doesn’t seem “unpossible,” as Simpsons dunce child Ralph Wiggum might say.

Remember the whole 9/11 thing? And here is a list of 21 things The Simpsons “bizzarely predicted,” as noted on Buzzfeed.

And this week, those Simpsons predictions are gaining attention in the wider media once again. And yes, it involves billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A thread on Reddit.com noted this week that a March 19, 2000 episode of The Simpsons, titled “Bart to the Future,” (Season 11, episode 17), mentions a future “President Trump.”

In this hit-and-miss episode, where Bart (age 10), meets a wise Indian chief at a casino while the family is on vacation, he is shown his Billy Carter-ish future – 30 years later. It is the year 2030 and Bart is an unemployed slacker and playing in an unsuccessful band called the Tequila Mockingbirds (sync Harper Lee in 2015) with aforementioned pal Ralph Wiggum.

Nelson “Ha ha!” Muntz is a Biff Tannen-like character (“make like a tree, and get outta here!”) who owns a beach bar where Bart is paid in popcorn shrimp, as he plays lame, Jimmy Buffett ripoff songs.

Meanwhile, Bart’s 38-year old sister Lisa is “proud to be America’s first, straight female president” (who beat out another presidential candidate, Chastity “Chaz” Bono) who is troubled upon meeting with members of her cabinet, noting that the Simpson administration has “inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.” During the meeting, Secretary of the Treasury Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten glumly tells President Lisa that the country is broke.

Later, during an televised address to the American people, Lisa addresses "my fellow Americans and voting illegal aliens." And this in 2000.

“Bart to the Future” is considered one of the worst episodes of The Simpsons. I’ve certainly seen worse and I find oddly disturbing that a “President Trump” could be in our future, as he rises, like scum in a pond, to the top of the list of GOP presidential candidates.

But even back in early 2000, when Gov. George W. Bush was running against Al Gore, the sorcerers behind The Simpsons operation were definitely on to something with “Bart to the Future.”

BACK TO THE THIRTIES

America, as many people know, is increasingly in a bad economic spot, as is much of the world. There’s no getting around it.

Similar conditions existed in the 1930’s, as the Great Depression continued and totalitarianism and fearmongering was on the march in Europe, and was beginning to rear its ugly head here in America with “bum blockades” and attacks on labor and the working-class. This was just as  right-wing, reactionary, red-baiting “anti-communists” in Congress began to target liberals and Hollywood actors and screenwriters as not being true Americans and blacklists began to silence progressive voices.

Across the pond, Hitler and "Il Duce" Mussolini and Franco were gaining power as those with little say or influence were crushed under the marching jackboots of fascism. Of course, those volunteers from America who went to fight fascists in Spain in the late 1930's were called "premature anti-fascists" by those in the American military when they volunteered after the outbreak of World War II. But that's another story.

It was a dark time, much like we are seeing globally in 2015. Greece. Ukraine. Venezuela, much of Africa, Middle East, South Asia, etc. … this is when demagogues with dark agendas tend to pounce and worm their way into power while pandering to the lowest common denominator.

ENTER TRUMP

It is amidst these choppy political and economic waters when a guy like Donald Trump – an over-the-top, narcissistic, anti-immigrant fascist - can tap into that frustrated portion of America who respond positively to attacking “the other” and blaming whatever scapegoat doesn’t look like them. Trump’s race-baiting, xenophobia and belligerent nationalism, as this powerful Salon article noted this week, is resonating.

Yes, today’s GOP is America’s neo-fascist party. Even on the state level, we have Randian, free-market, Christian supremacists trying to gouge the state constitution, the public and the treasury to get their way, while utterly ignoring Christ’s teachings about helping the poor and sick and imprisoned. Some still defend the Confederate battle flag and most could be easily placed in the hyper-militaristic category.

Trump’s ostentatious visit to the border city of Laredo, Texas last week had the media slavishly scribbling and filming every word out of the man’s mouth as he deplaned from Trump Force One in that heavily Hispanic community wearing a goofy gimme cap reading “Make America Great Again.”

 “I think I’ll win the Hispanic vote,” Trump bellowed in front of reporters. “Over the years, thousands and thousands of Hispanics have worked for me.”

Thud.

And this after he said undocumented Mexican immigrants were rapists and killers.

THE WHITE MALE VOTE

But we doubt Trump is really worried about the Hispanic vote. He is clearly going after the largest demographic of those who show up at the polls – older, white males. And, as we know, white men, as a group, vote Republican because they vote their resentments.

Talking to an OU football fan on a Florida beach recently, he openly praised Trump’s brash, unapologetic style. After the Obama nightmare, the man said, Trump could make America strong again.

For a certain segment of the population, particularly among older, white males, they desire a “strongman.” They would never say “dictator, but for them, Trump fits the bill as a future American Caesar or "Il Duce."

For all of Trump’s bigotry, buffoonery and bellicosity, in our celebrity-drenched culture, his vulgar philistinism and TV-ready antics could propel him into the White House as Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz and other leading candidates fail to generate a lot of interest. (check out the Oliver Stone-helmed 1993 miniseries Wild Palms, which is set in a futuristic 2007, and note the similarities to today).

And from the peanut gallery, Mike Huckabee says you “can’t look like a wimp” in the eyes of the world. America must flex its muscles and increase defense spending. War always gets economies going again, right? And we know chickenhawk Trump has a fetish for men in uniform, while dodging the draft himself.

BUT CAN TRUMP WIN?

Former Nixon hatchet man and paleo-conservative commentator Pat Buchanan received some added attention with his new column over at World Net Daily headlined “Could Trump Win?” noting that Americans are increasingly fed up with the likes of Wall Street yes men and arrogant elites who do not have the best interests of the working-class in mind.

Echoing that prescient 15-year old Simpsons episode, where America is “broke” and in hock to China and Europe, Buchanan notes that Trump and socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont are gaining serious traction because of the “stagnation of workers’ wages as the billionaire boys club admits new members.” Sanders is hitting this issue of economic inequality pretty hard, Trump, not surprisingly, less so.

Buchanan, (sometimes) still stuck in 1972, says the Sanders fans are “$50,000-a-year folks with college degrees (who) call to mind more the followers of George McGovern than (early 20th century populist William) Jennings Bryan.”

Recall how poorly the anti-war dove McGovern fared against the sinister Nixon in the ’72 election (I point you to Hunter S. Thompson’s fantastic Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 for more on that), and this as the Vietnam War was still raging. In fact, after Nixon won that autumn, he proceeded to carpet-bomb Hanoi, Guernica-style, just for the hell of it, arrogantly ignoring protestations from other world leaders at the time.

There’s a lot of Nixon in Trump, a guy whose meteoric rise followed in the wake of Watergate. As WSWS.org noted last week, “Trump personifies the backwardness and decay of the American political system and the American financial aristocracy.”

It’s Trump, Buchanan says, who is connecting with that strata of America who hates liberals, immigrants, gays and a changing and progressive culture. Even Trump’s GOP rivals, including Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, loathe “The Donald.”

“When Trump ridicules his rivals as Lilliputians and mocks the celebrity media, the Republican base cheers and laughs with him,” writes Buchanan.

And it's the base we have to keep an eye on.

Trump, ever the opportunist, has plenty of insider connections on Wall Street and the financial sector. He’s in on those meetings. Back in 2012, Trump was warning Fox News viewers that America is facing ballooning debt and a credit downgrade. “Gotta catapult the propaganda,” as Dubya might say.

“When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re borrowing from the Chinese and others. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt,” Trump said.

And he has a point. And since then, it appears that Trump has been plotting this presidential run, knowing he is hated by the elites and the establishment as self-promoting bozo, he knew those people who know the man behind The Apprentice, who fear the three I’s – immigrants, Iran and ISIS – will give The Donald a second or even third look. Perhaps a pull of the lever for Donald Trump in November 2016?

And with Fox News planning a way-early Republican presidential debate next week, we are likely to see fireworks and more hate speech from Trump – and many viewers in middle America nodding in agreement.

For more on Red Dirt Report's commentary on Donald Trump's presidential aspirations, go to "DUMP TRUMP: Good Americans see through bully billionaire's racist rhetoric."

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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