Saturday Night Live had its season finale last night, and for its opening sketch, it brought out the big guns like Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro. Trump’s poll numbers are in the toilet, he’s about to be impeached, he has almost no shot in 2020 if he does make it that far, and Robert Mueller is about to testify about him on live national television – so in Trump’s darkest and frailest hour, this sketch was going to be good. Except, wait, no, what in the name of hell was that?
The entire sketch consisted of Donald Trump and his underlings singing and dancing jubilantly about how they’ve won, and how he’s on track for near-automatic reelection. Wait, this had to be sarcasm, right? There had to be another shoe about to drop. Because in the real world, every poll clearly shows that Trump is on track to get blown out in 2020. His approval rating is laughably bad. He’s in the process of losing every court battle over the evidence that’ll not only take him down, but imprison him once he’s out of office. The only thing that’s “improving” for Trump are his pro-impeachment numbers, which have risen to include almost half the country over the past couple weeks. This week we learned that Michael Flynn turned over hard evidence against Trump. On Saturday afternoon, a House Republican signed onto Trump’s impeachment. It’s that blindingly obvious that Trump is going down.
Except in this SNL sketch, none of those things apparently exist. Even when De Niro’s Robert Mueller character finally showed up, it was just so Donald Trump could gleefully announce that Mueller wasn’t going to be allowed to testify. In addition to being unfunny and not even making an attempt at being funny, this sketch was one of the most politically illiterate in the history of SNL. It was written by people who have absolutely no idea what’s going on in politics right now, or what any of it means – and that’s a sign of the larger problem here.
The SNL writers’ room clearly threw up its collective hands and said “Oh crap, Trump is winning and he’s unstoppable now, there’s no way to make that funny, so let’s just do a song and dance number about it.” They’d have to have literally zero understanding of anything that’s playing out right now to come to that conclusion. Yet the SNL writers obviously follow politics more than the average person does, based on the kinds of sketches they usually churn out. This tells us that they’re just as confused and spun around about what’s actually going on right now as everyone else.
Donald Trump is now by far in the weakest, most crippled, and most vulnerable position he’s been in since he took office. He’s playing defense on every front, and all he has to do is lose on any one of them for his presidency – and probably his life – to be over. Yet, even as Trump acts out in increasingly jittery fashion because even he knows it’s all going to complete shit for him, the general public has somehow paradoxically become convinced that Trump is magically winning. That’s total fiction – and not even the “rings true” kind of fiction that SNL is usually known for. Right now, blatant and obvious overwhelming facts and evidence be damned, almost no one can see that Trump getting destroyed by the hour. The only person who seems to know he’s doomed is Trump himself. And that’s just weird.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report