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Trump’s Enigmatic Legacy

Unsurprisingly, there are those here in Australia who are mourning the departure of this enigma of American politics. Why?

Trump was neither a leader or a politician. At best, he was an enigmatic cult figure. All this very weird defense for a president who not only failed in every aspect of his own expectations, he also failed his country in ways that history is yet to chronicle.

His inability to grasp the most basic of protocols, his unbelievable capacity to lie, to believe his own rhetoric concocted from his own narcissistic stupidity, will be his legacy.

He personally had no impact on America’s economic ups and downs of his first two years, despite Fox News’ attempts to convince people otherwise. That was all generated by the residual effects of the GFC. The third year was nothing more than bluff and bluster as he strutted the world stage seemingly unaware that his contemporaries were laughing behind his back.

The final year was governed by the devastating impacts of Covid-19, the importance of which he failed to grasp. He will forever be inextricably linked to his own failures in leadership on that issue. Overall, he did nothing to advance the living standards of average Americans.

Whoever disputes this, has been duped, as have so many by this clown. He, however, was just a pawn in a much broader and darker plan by the religious right, to take control of the US. They are far from finished. I suspect they already have their sights on their next stooge. My tip is Mike Pence.

Perhaps Trump’s most damaging legacy is that he opened the door to a section of America that will now pursue their racist agenda with even greater passion, now that he is gone. They saw him as the second coming of Christ. The religious right will delight in fanning their flames with glee while keeping a safe distance.

Thus, the great American divide will continue until they destroy themselves, as did Rome, Napoleon, the Ottomans, the Third Reich, the USSR. History doesn’t lie. The statistics that can be produced to show gains and losses during Trump’s time in office (and they are many), are trivial in the long term. It is the social, cultural and religious differences to which he has given oxygen, that will determine its future. And they are huge.

They will only get worse.

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  1. OnceWasALiberal

    Not only were the religious right (and predominantly the happy clapper variety) preying on the Trump administration as a route to power and control over others, but they are also preying on a current Australian administration as they wait for an even more stringent oppression of the rights of non believers than the two failed attempts Morrison has so far made to appease their hunger for control and dominance over the population.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Well I’m glad that bit’s over and done with. After living in American time since the election it feels like I have jet lag now that I’m back in Melbourne time.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Australia, September 2018

    “This is a crucial time right now … In the next six months it’s time for the body of Christ [the Christian church] to put its differences aside … and come together and agree that Jesus is the Messiah and start praying together and calling it in and praying for our prime minister right now, and for our government.

    “I really see that the body of Christ is going to have influence in the arena of – the political arena of this nation.

    “[But] if the prime minister right now doesn’t get elected in this next election there’s going to be darkness coming. And I’m not being negative. The laws are going to change where darkness is going to come and there will be persecution on the church.”

    “The Lord is saying he wants us to rise up and pray, rather than come into persecution where we’ll have no choice.”

    The persecution these whackos were warning against was euthanasia and abortion laws. They don’t want to protect their right to choose – they want to take away yours.

  4. Lawrence Roberts

    tRUMP was the very epitome of a confidence trickster. Probably the best one who has ever been found out.
    It’s an American thing rather like their foreign policy and Ponzi economic management.

  5. Fiona Reynolds

    I agree with you regarding Trump as a confidence trickster. However, I don’t know that it’s exclusively an American trait. Remember the Dreyfus Affaire.

  6. Matters Not


    just a pawn in a much broader and darker plan by the religious right ..

    Perhaps. But maybe not. While Trump and the religious right sang from the same song sheet at various times, it’s possibly over-reach to say Trump was a mere pawn. Indeed, he may have been the successful ‘user’ – with the religious being the actual pawns.

    The ultimate prize for the religious right (at the level of the foot soldiers on the frontline at least) was the overturning of Roe versus Wade. And despite any number of strategic appointments to the judicial branch of government generally, and the Supreme Court in particular, (now with a potential 6/3 conservative majority) the Roe versus Wade decision that legalised abortion still stands. It’s still in force. Simply, Trump did not deliver. But the religious right certainly delivered the votes – upwards of 90% in some studies.

    A distinction is drawn between ‘foot soldiers’ and the religious leaders because the religious right leaders are very much into the dollars. (Witness the number of ‘religious’ financial scandals.) And in that financial domain, Trump delivered mightily. The rich are now significantly richer. And that includes religious leaders. But the abortion landscape remains much the same.

    Seems to me that it’s intellectually sustainable to argue that it was the religious right which became the pawns and Trump is best described as the skillful user. Simply, Trump wanted their votes and he received them. They, the religious followers, wanted paradigmatic legal changes and they missed out. Who were the pawns?

  7. wam

    A significant point for me was the absence of the gun lobby. Indeed it appeared anti-gunners outspent the NRA. Someone will challenge the NRA on an election campaign to prohibit the sale of weapons of war. Trump, like most bullies, has no guts for being honest to himself. He has always been able to employ sycophants and any dissenters are ‘fired’, This makes informed decision making rare. Presidents need advisers to bring perspective to decisions. I am unaware of any informed decisions made by trump over his entire 4 tears.
    He is not a leader and may be used for a short while but I consider him finished.
    His followers will splutter but leaderless they will fold.
    Biden started well and will flourish erasing the last 4 years.

  8. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting, but one needs to keep in mind that Trump was a symptom too, of the same deep pocketed oligarchs funding think tanks, political PACs/groups and mobs that trashed Capitol Hill e.g. GOP Reps in the Freedom Caucus and also the Council for National Policy; Koch Network behind both.

    On the evangelical ‘Christians’, as explained by Jane Mayer in ‘Dark Money’ and subsequent interviews, the radical right libertarian ideology is unpalatable to most, hence, would expect only maximum 5% of the vote. However, create a noisy coalition of anti-abortionists, Confederates, segregationists, conservatives, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, white nationalists, alt right, libertarians and many conspiracy theorists, with much free media support (and voter suppression/inertia) thanks to Trump; got the GOP over the line four years ago to enact ‘draft bills’ for libertarian policies e.g. tax cuts.

    Chris Hedges, Presbyterian minister, journalist and author is more direct in his opinions and analysis regarding the motley crew of ‘Christians’ supporitng the GOP, describing them as either ‘Christian fascists’ or ‘white Christian nationalists’…..

    The good news is that although slow, more diverse younger generations in the US are following first world secular liberal democracies in becoming more aethiest, or at least less pious and god bothering….. includes many young Evangelicals who are disgusted by Trump and the GOP….

  9. terence mills

    The Americans have a very distinctive term for the likes of Trump, one that is not used elsewhere in the English speaking world :

    Grifter : A grifter is a con artist, someone who obtains money by swindling or tricking others. In politics, the word refers to people who use the political process as a way to enrich themselves. Grifters are also known as chiselers, defrauders, gougers, scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Selling a bridge and starting a Ponzi scheme are things a grifter might do.

    Seems most appropriate !

  10. New England Cocky

    An excellent comprehensive analysis demonstrating that all political cult figures are eventually replaced. The Australian voters have it in their power to bring about the demise of Scummo at the 2021 Federal elections. VOTE ANYONE BUT NAT$!!

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