Drawing of Trump on brick wall with word balloon saying "Word Vomit"

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Ain't No Love In The Heart is back for some election commentary, because you can take the boy out of the swing state... This piece was written before the DNC. We'll get to Hil-dawg next month.

One of the less reported features of Millennials is that we've basically accepted the apocalypse.    It's a large part climate change, but also the End of History, peak oil, the financial crisis, a neverending War on Terror and all those zombie movies. Boomers on talk radio are right in this regard; we do have a mentality problem. I don't have the poll numbers, but I'm pretty sure that a majority of us sincerely believe we will see the end of the world in our lifetimes, and that it will probably be America's fault. Would that the universe would make it so easy. Instead, we have Trump.

A key feature in the postmodern neoliberal all-extracting all-subsuming simulacrum of life that we call America is that anything genuine must be sanctified in order for it to be destroyed. Reverse Jesus. To Donald Trump's credit, for all his bluster, he has not actually internalized the concept of American exceptionalism; I had no idea all these rugged individuals were such pushovers. I will not give America the credit of saying that it is absurd that I have had multiple conversations about whether or not Trump is actually capable of dissolving Congress or launching a coup. Of course it could happen here. That's the whole point. Part of Trump's shock appeal is that he is willing to admit America's fragility.

My going line on the subject is that Trump is not a real fascist, he just plays one on TV, but that may be all you need. At any rate, he can't take America in a direction it wasn't already willing to go. Donald Trump may be thoroughly post-modern, but he's also a bit of a throwback. Social media ain't runnin' shit yet. D Trump knows how to work the media better than anyone since Martin Luther King. And on television, a little dose of reality goes a long way, and even that can be made up.

So I do remember first feeling that now patent Trumpian mixture of confusion, dread and fascination when I first saw him say something that, if said by a darker-skinned leader on a different continent, would prompt calls fromNew York Times columnists for regime change. It was a break from election monotony, to be sure, but it was not the feeling of being alive, more that disappointing feeling when the world becomes smaller, when your enemy has officially started running out of ideas. The feeling of "oh, so we're doing this now?"

But even the avatar and id of capitalism must be broken down, cut with fillers, processed, pasteurized and packaged. America has a very specific brand of chaos it unleashes on the world, and though Trump is not a threat to it, he still must be brought to heel. He's already walked back his more concentration-camp sounding proposals, brought in a central-casting Republican, and has channeled his inner Nixon as the "law and order candidate." One dose of Trump chaos may have been all the Clinton machine needed, but there's no reliable source, and it's started to wear off. We are already returning to Politics As Usual.

And this, I think, is the real lesson of Trump. The apocalypse doesn't give you the luxury of announcing itself. Whatever apocalypse might be coming is already here in the form of Western Civilization. We have already seen the worst of what we could possibly do to each other. We arethe frog who has turned up the temperature on itself to see what would happen, but we'll never actually let the water boil. Instead, the situation gets worse, the frog gets sicker, but it won't die, and the fact that it still lives is proof that this is the greatest pot in the history of the world. I mean, look at all those other pots that have boiled over. They all wish they could be living the Parboiled Frog Dream.

It's voyeuristic narcissism. We're all watching ourselves to see if we can really do it. Of course we can. We gave Reagan 49 states. Actually Doing It is something America is known for. At this point we should know that Doing It always disappoints. What I'm worried about is how we would top it.

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