Donald Trump’s milli vanilli moment

A generation ago, a record producer cobbled together a rap album by hiring various session musicians to handle the vocals. Then he hired a pair of male models to go out and pretend to be the rappers on the album, complete with lip synced concerts. The ruse lasted long enough for Milli Vanilli to win the Grammy award for best new artist, at which point the resulting spotlight caused the entire thing to unravel. So what does this have to do with Donald Trump?

As a kid, I distinctly remember Milli Vanilli winning that Grammy. When the two models were walking to the stage, one of them looked like he’d just seen a ghost. Later, he admitted in an interview that he knew in that moment that it was all over, because the attention was going to bring down the entire house of cards. Interestingly, at the time Milli Vanilli imploded, its second album was about to be released. You can find the aborted lead single on YouTube. It’s a dud. The second album would have tanked, and the group would have faded away quietly, perhaps without anyone having ever figured out that it was all a fraud. That brings us to Donald Trump.

Trump ran for President in what was surely a promotional stunt or cash grab. He couldn’t have expected to win. He was narcissistic enough to eagerly accept help from the Kremlin, but perhaps only because he was afraid of losing by such a large margin that his ego wouldn’t have been able to take it. Instead he ended up with a job he clearly hates doing. He tried to mail it in for three years, until this pandemic came along and exposed just how inept, stupid, and fraudulent of an idiot he is. He’s on track to lose the 2020 election, and if he does, he and multiple members of his family will likely end up in prison – even as his name is removed from every last one of his buildings.

But imagine where Trump would be right now if he hadn’t accidentally become President. He’d be running some con right now, perhaps as a right wing cable news pundit, even as he carried out his lifelong shell game of shifting money around to try to cover up just how inept he is at real estate. His crimes, and his kids’ crimes, might never have been uncovered or prosecuted. He’d have been remembered by history as the grouch from the Apprentice. Instead he’ll be remembered as the monster who murdered an untold number of Americans and then died penniless in solitary confinement.

Milli Vanilli could have been remembered as a one-album wonder, if it hadn’t accidentally won a Grammy and seen its con game get exposed in the process. Instead it’s remembered as one of the ugliest debacles in the history of the music industry. Donald Trump could have faded away as well, if only he’d stayed in his lane instead of running for a public office he didn’t want to hold to begin with. Trump did it to himself.

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