Donald Trump, Florida’s Wild Hogs, and Capitalism’s Final Triumph

Left: the non-native wild hog that inhabits Florida’s remaining brush. Right: a Trump-Pence campaign sign in Pasco County, Florida. Trump is also a species of fauna that is non-native to the Sunshine State.

The hogs seemed terrified that night. A few days after Christmas 2016, I decided to take an evening walk in the balmy December air that, for a few weeks a year, makes the state of Florida a bearable place to inhabit. The problem is that Wesley Chapel, the Pasco County census-designated place (CDP) where my in-laws live, isn’t especially hospitable to the notion of pedestrian traffic. There are some sidewalks, but not enough of them, and most of the time you’d be hard-pressed to see them populated by anything but the odd Acura RL piloted by one of the state’s billions of confused retirees.

Nevertheless, there’s a long stretch of sidewalk snaking alongside Wesley Chapel Blvd., the multi-lane thoroughfare that connects the town’s residents with their sacred auto dealerships, buffet chains, and a Wal-Mart Supercenter the size of Estonia. I decided to make use of this sidewalk for a bit of evening exercise. With my iPod blaring the synthwave sound of 80s retro-future act Gunship, I ambled along as the gas-guzzlers blew past until I arrived at a bridge that separated the marshy natural bushland from the seemingly endless sea of new pavement and big boxes. Suddenly, along the roadside where cement gave way to scrub grass and treeline, two wild hogs — a common wildlife sight in Florida and throughout the South — scurried from the roadside brush and disappeared back into the trees.

Those hogs were as lost, scared, and confused as America was in 2016.

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Trumpism and a Certain Kind of Masculinity

The majority of Trump supporters are old, white, male, and pissed off about stuff.

The majority of Trump supporters are old, white, male, and pissed off about stuff.

If you were masochistic enough to watch the third presidential debate of 2016 between Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican nominee the pissed-off Great Pumpkin, one line in particular ought to have stood out amidst what was otherwise the rhetorical equivalent of scraping the floor of a dive bar with an old bottle cap. “Such a nasty woman,” the Trumpkin muttered in the debate’s closing moments. He was, of course, referring to the first major-party female presidential candidate in American history, and the line quickly became an internet feminist rallying cry; an embodiment of the typhoon of chauvinistic misogyny that has characterized the Trump phenomenon from the moment its spray-tanned gargoyle of a leader announced his pursuit for the nation’s heretofore most respected office.

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Ross Perot Couldn’t Finish, but Donald Trump Just Might

In 1992, Independent candidate H. Ross Perot positioned himself as a straight-talking businessman who was tough on bad trade deals.

In 1992, independent candidate Ross Perot positioned himself as a straight-talking businessman who would be tough on bad trade deals.

Be honest. Did you ever really believe that the foul-mouthed, swirly-coiffed, animate bottle of Tropicana Pure Premium that announced his presidential run by marking the guys who mill about Home Depot parking lots as the greatest threat to Western Civilization since the Barbarians sacked Rome would eventually run neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in a race for the White House?

Depending on where you stand politically, the 2016 race is shaping up to be either the election of your sweetest dreams or most abominable nightmares. Following the thinly-veiled Klan rally that was the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, erstwhile reality TV pimp-turned-trucker-hat-sporting Grand Dragon Donald Trump sunk in the polls like a snitch in the Hudson River. Heck, for a few halcyon summer weeks, it seemed like America might emerge from its collective fever swamp and realize that, while by no means perfect or even necessarily desirable, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the far more stable option over which to hand control of the nuclear arsenals.

Alas, this is America we’re talking about.

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What in the Heck Does it Mean to be a Democrat?

The 2016 Democratic PArty ticket. I guess it's better than the End of the World.

The 2016 Democratic Party ticket. I guess it’s better than the End of the World.

On Halloween night, 1936, incumbent Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a riveting speech at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The United States was in the eighth year of the Great Depression, and FDR was fixin’ to tout his smorgasbord of government programs known collectively as the New Deal.

FDR acknowledged that Americans “wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.” To offer this piece of mind, he promised to protect currency, ensure fair wages, reduce working hours, end child labor, and crush financial speculation. Moreover, The president directly addressed the business and financial interests and their Republican allies who opposed his administration: “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” Democrats used to talk like that. They ought to again.

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Trump’s Candidacy Reveals the Sham of American Exceptionalism

Donald Trump bends othe epublican PArty over and makkes it cry "Uncle" in Cleveland.

Donald Trump bends the Republican Party over and makes it cry “Uncle” in Cleveland.

Something smells foul in Cleveland, and for once, it isn’t Lake Erie fish die-offs, the polluted Cuyahoga River, or the Indians’ post-All-Star Break performance. Nope, the stench wafting above the city’s majestic brown and gray skyline came from the Quicken Loans Arena, where the Republican Party officially coronated its own version of a mid-20th century authoritarian Strongman on July 21, 2016.

Historically, America’s conservative party has been no stranger to political scare-tactics, but in his speech to officially accept the Republican presidential nomination, Donald J. Trump — he of the bombastic ego and even more bombastic roadkill coiffurelaid out an apocalyptic vision of America that was beholden less to Ronald Reagan that it was to Immortan Joe.

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Did Donald Trump Destroy the Religious Right?

Ronald Reagan meets with the Rev. Jerry Falwell in the Oval Office, March 1983. They discussed whether or not Jellie Bellies were a "gay candy."

Ronald Reagan meets with the Rev. Jerry Falwell in the Oval Office, March 1983 to discuss whether or not Jelly Bellies were a “gay candy.”

There was a time in America, not so long ago, when thumping your dog-eared King James, warning about the threat posed by the queer-o-sexuals, and arguing that life began at the moment you noticed that glint in your girlfriend’s eye while watching Beach Blanket Bingo at the Podunkville Drive-In theater could transform you into a political kingmaker. From at least the late 1960s until the mid 2000s, presidents ranging from Richard Nixon, to Jimmy Carter, to Ronald Reagan, to George Dubya Bush ceremoniously kissed the totally not gay rings of Evangelical Grand Poobahs whose political clout ensured that so-called “Values Voters” would turn up at the polls to reclaim America for one VERY specific God.

But in the year 2016, America has a new God. His will is capricious. His hair is supernatural. And His wealth is so yooooge it would make King Solomon blush. This God is Donald J. Trump, and he appears to have rendered the once mighty Religious Right as impotent as a crew-cut Samson.

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Why the Triumph of Trump is Historic…and Totally Expected

Donald Trump is going to be the GOP nominee for President. But please finish reading this before you move to Canada.

Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee for President. But please finish reading this before you move to Canada.

Well, Republican America, you asked for it, and now you’ve got it. The Trumpocalypse is officially upon us. A certain Oompa-Loompa-toned, tumbleweed-domed, opulently pecunious, braggadocious real-estate developer, reality TV star, and one-time professional wrestling promoter will officially be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in the 2016 general election.    

When Donald Trump crushed last-remaining GOP lizard man Ted Cruz in the Indiana primary, he breezed well past the required 1,237 delegates needed to clinch his party’s nomination. In the aftermath, every pundit in America who dismissed the Trump Train as the biggest political carni act in a generation that was doomed to fail worse than New Coke instead issued their confused mea culpas. The list of talking severed heads now stuffed into The Donald’s money bag includes New York Times statistics dweeb Nate Silver, University of Virginia political Nostradamus Larry Sabato, and pretty much everyone else who pays attention to the trillion-dollar sh*itstorm that is American politics.  

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Why Liberalism Matters in the 2016 Election and Beyond

Bernie Sanders yells at those damn kids to get off his lawn, while Hillary Clinton smiles thinking about her next check from Wall Street.

Bernie Sanders yells at those damn kids to get off his lawn, while Hillary Clinton smiles thinking about her next check from Wall Street.

Hey, you, the person reading this. Do you know what it means to be a liberal? Depending on your own political persuasion, being liberal might make you a firm believer in liberty, equal opportunity, and the right to pursue an economic system that distributes the benefits of capitalism more broadly across the citizenry. Or, being a liberal might make you a Stalinist, Marxist, atheist, pantheist, freedom-hating, abortion-craving, tree-fondling, Chick-fil-A scorning, queer-o-sexual menace to Jesus and the Constitution that He wrote.

Either way, liberalism inspires passionate opinions in American society.

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So Many Victories! The Anatomy of a Trump Speech

Trump in Dallas, Texas. This speech was freakin' yoooooooooge.

Trump in Dallas, Texas. This speech was freakin’ yoooooooooge.

Sigh. Donald Trump. The erstwhile joke campaign of America’s favorite, squirrel-bouffanted, braggadocious billionaire has heretofore beat the Washington punditocracy’s expectations and not only survived the first presidential primary summer, but also thrived.

Need proof? The Donald’s poll numbers are through the roof. He’s racked up approvals from two-thirds of Republican primary voters, and he’s crushing more traditional GOP nutballs like Ted Cruz and Jeb “Son of Poppy, Brother of Dubya” Bush. Former neurosurgeon — and current bedlamite — Dr. Ben Carson has enjoyed some movement in the polls, but his numbers haven’t been YOOOOOGE like Trump’s. But if you want some REAL data on why Trump has more and more Republican voters basking in the glow of his combed-over Collossalness, just take a look at the September 14 speech he yawped out in Dallas, Texas.

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Hillary, Bernie, and the Democrats’ Conservative Shadow

Hillary and Bernie: Who's the real Democrat here? It's a perennial question regardless of who's runnnig for the donkeys.

Hillary and Bernie: Who’s the real Democrat here? It’s a perennial question regardless of who’s running for the donkeys.

It’s tough being a Democrat. Every election cycle, donkey club members must go through the excruciating process of endless spinal implementation surgeries just to muster enough backbone to mouth the liberal platitudes that ostensibly constitute the foundations of America’s only major “progressive” political party. But let’s be honest: it’s hard being a liberal when the foamy-mouthed wingnuts are nipping at your tucked-back tail and the empathy-starved financial sector is flooding your coffers with Federal Reserve chicken feed.

The perpetual question-asking about what it means to be a liberal is once again in full swing amidst of the early primary campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The major issue at hand is just how much punishment the next potential Democratic president ought to reign down — Sodom and Gomorrah-like — on that craven nest of Sherif of Nottinghams known as the American Financial Sector.

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