When Donald Trump first announced that he was hijacking the annual Fourth of July celebration in Washington DC and turning it into an authoritarian celebration of himself, the doomsday prognosticators insisted that Trump would cunningly use the event to crown himself de facto dictator. Palmer Report said the whole thing would be a steaming pile of crap that wouldn’t increase his power in any way, and would make him look foolish.
Naturally, we were right. While the doomsday prognosticators always manage to find an audience for their hyperbole during dark times like this, the reality is that Donald Trump could never have pulled any such thing off even if he’d wanted to. He’s far too unpopular to benefit from such a superficial showing; such things only work when a leader is popular to begin with. He and his people are far too inept to pull off an attempted show of force anyway.
Sure enough, Trump was standing there like a buffoon, tepidly reading a prepared speech like a fifth grader reading a book report aloud that his mother had written for him. His “military parade” consisted of a few tanks parked out of sight. The only thing anyone remembers about the evening is that Trump screwed up and said there were airports during the time of the Founding Fathers. And this crapfest from the king of crap was somehow going to boost his power?
As Palmer Report has been pointing out for a long time, Donald Trump and regime have done real harm in a lot of big ways – but they tend to do it while no one is looking. Trump almost never follows through on any of his public threats, such as war with North Korea or Iran; those tweets exist almost entirely to distract us from the evil things that he’s quietly doing in secret, such as those precious first few months where he was locking immigrants in cages and no one knew it was going on yet.
The real upshot here is that Donald Trump either has to find a way to become far more popular so he can win reelection, or he’s going to prison after he loses the election. Not only is he backed into a corner, he’s spending his limited remaining political capital on sheer nonsense like his fake parade, making clear that he has no idea how to get out of this. Trump is settling for delusional pats on the back, even as he’s marched closer to an inevitable prison cell by the day. The doomsday prognosticators insist he’s going to magically get away with it all. They’re the same people who insisted he was going to use his fake parade to magically become dictator for life.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report