That awful man.
Racist! Women hater! He´s another Hitler! Stop him! God damn it -- STOP HIM!!
This blog is being bombarded with requests -- make that, demands -- how to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president.
We political consultants are accustomed to hearing all sorts of self-righteous effusions and clamors of moral indignation. One candidate I knew actually proposed tithing his supporters. If you are Jesus, it makes perfect sense.
It also makes sense that you would work for Jesus free of charge ... which is of course exactly what the candidate wanted.
To those readers whose cries for purity and decency are covers for squalid hole and corner financial scams, I recommend you stop reading here. To those readers who are absolutely convinced of the sacredness of the Dump Trump movement, I repeat our longstanding policy:
This blog does not give advice; it offers opinion. The line between them is not always clear. Please keep in mind three considerations:
"An opinion may consist of advice which is (i) deliberately offered too late to be actionable; (ii) knowingly impossible to implement due to circumstances prevailing at the moment; and/or (iii) offered with the foreknowledge that the simple fact of its publication will render its practical value null and void."
There was a way to knock out Trump. Once the punch was thrown, he would have gone down for the count. Good night, sweet prince: nothing could have saved him. Nothing would have been left to the judges scorecards; nothing to buy or manipulate. Please observe that all verbs are in the past tense; we will explain why in a moment.
Talk about public knowledge ... the knockout punch is in books and posts all over the Internet. To see it, Google search this topic: "Donald Trump and the mafia."
A plethora of articles will appear. For one of the more credible discussions, click here. Among other things, you will see that Trump paid mafia kingpin Salvatore Testa far above the market value for the land on which Trump built Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. "Little Nicky" Scarfo and "Crazy Phil" Leonetti owned construction and concrete companies that participated in the Plaza project.
Various Trump buildings in New York were constructed of concrete from S&A Concrete. The company was owned by mafia kingpins "Big Paul" Paul Castellano and "Fat" Tony Salerno.
The mainstream media have been lite n´ lively about the subject of Trump/mafia ties, but not entirely absent. For a CNN article, click here.
What makes our opinion an opinion and not advice is, first of all, it falls under item (i) of our policy. It is too late to throw the knockout punch.
If any of the Republican primary contenders and their silly-priced consultants had the remotest understanding of fundamental laws of campaigning, the day after Trump announced for president he would have faced a full-court press on his relations with the mafia. Everywhere Trump went, he would have encountered the same questions, the same doubts, the same fears. His winning margin today would be non-existent; in fact, he would likely be out of the ring altogether, wailing Marlon Brando´s lament ... would-a/could-a/should-a been a contender.
We have said before that to be effective, negative information about an opponent must come out early, not late, in a campaign. The classic example occurred in the 2000 presidential race. In the closing days, information mysteriously surfaced about George W. Bush´s arrest for drunken driving in 1976. What happened next is what always happens in such cases: the juicy tidbit was dismissed by the voters as a last-minute mud ball.
I am sure desperate Republican candidates right now are toying with the idea of bringing up Trump and the mafia. Sorry, lady and gentlemen: it is too late.
The presentation of Trump/mafia ties could still work if it were powerfully delivered, convincing, creative. Unfortunately for you Trump haters out there, it is Reality Therapy Time: none of the current Republican candidates is capable of making such a presentation. Had they been able to do it, they would have already done it.
And that is what makes this post on the knockout punch doubly an opinion piece and not advice, viz., (ii) what we are saying is knowingly impossible to implement.
Wait a second! What about the Democrat presidential candidates?
They are maintaining a deafening silence about possible Trump/mafia ties. Why?
(1) The Democrats eagerly want Trump to be the Republican nominee. They are saving the Trump/mafia knockout punch for the late rounds, in September-October, during the general election.
If Hypothesis (1) is correct, the Democrats are inviting the very dilemma confronting Republican primary candidates right now:
(i) The general election will be too late for Trump/mafia allegations to gain traction. Unless -- I repeat our caveat -- the presentation is exceptionally well prepared and masterfully delivered.
Now, the fact of the matter is
(ii) as with the Republicans, none of the Democrat candidates has displayed anything approaching the ability to make the required presentation.
True, all things are possible. However, not all things are probable.
(2) Our second hypothesis why the Democrat candidates are keeping quiet about Trump/mafia connections:
They, too, are mobbed up.
What makes Hypothesis (2) anyway credible is that Hillary Clinton is an ex-senator from New York. Possible candidate Joe Biden is an ex-senator from Delaware; if you think that state is relatively free of organized crime, think again. At the pinnacle of the Democrat Party, President Barack Obama is an ex-senator from Chicago. Go, figure.
If Hypothesis (2) is correct, no charges of mafia ties will be forthcoming from Democrats. The media will continue to focus on Trump´s hair, on Michelle Obama´s toned arms. Ssshhh -- all quiet on the western front. The eastern front, too. The Trump/mafia question will be moot everywhere except among you, the voters.
There is one thing that can upset our analysis.
Trump may prove to be as inept in handling charges of mafia connections as Hillary is of her emails. You hear and see day in day out how powerless you are; however, no man lacks the power to defeat himself. Including Donald Trump.
Trump walked out of a BBC interview when ties with the mob were mentioned, which suggests he may yet KO himself.
There exist psychological techniques for igniting unconscious archetypes that generate self-sabotage. Unfortunately for Trump haters, none of the Republican or Democrat candidates or their consultants are aware of how to set that dynamic in motion. If they knew how to do it, they would have done it by now.
* * *
Trump´s strategy and tactics are well known. Among other analysts, Judd Legum identified them in an article posted September 14.
Trump is employing what French intellectual Roland Barthes identified as the dramaturgy of our era: professional wrestling. Barthes´ chef d´oeuvre essay is in Mythologies, published in 1957 and available on-line.
We discussed in depth Barthes´ analysis in our post of May 12, 2015, "Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ambivalence)." Our post and Legum´s article explain how other presidential candidates and the mass media, in attempting to tear Trump down, are building him up. By the same token, a clumsy and naive presentation of Trump/mafia ties will strengthen Trump, not weaken him. That is a fact, not advice.
The same year Barthes´ book appeared, what he observed took cinematographic form in "A Face in The Crowd." My father served as a consultant to writer Budd Schulberg and director Elia Kazan on the psychological development of the main character played by Andy Griffith. I have never seen "Face" on TV; 15 minutes will tell you why -- it foretold numerous developments when you could say certain things and not be censored. I recently discovered that "Face" is on youtube. If you want to see it, you´d better hurry.
To bewitched media men, bothered candidates and bewildered campaign advisers who would throw caution to the wind and say a tie-in with the mafia can only hurt Trump, I have a two-word response: Frank Sinatra. Curiously, two days after this post appeared, the BBC took a look at mafia glamour. For a psychological and anthropological analysis of the relationship between dirty and saintly, see our two 2010 posts "The Source of bin Laden´s Charisma."
In conclusion, for me Trump serves as a quick and easy political litmus test for all presidential candidates. To wit:
If you cannot knock out Donald Trump, I don´t want you within 100 miles of the White House. I don´t want you talking to Putin, Assad, China and Iran in my name. Ever.