If Trump was ever sincere, his election has proven that one person simply cannot fight this corrupt system, this horrid swamp. Trump the reformer, the unlikeliest of knights in shining armor, is gone. The renegade billionaire striking fear into the heart of the establishment lasted a brief shining moment, like Camelot. — Donald Jeffries
These are the concluding words of an article listing Donald Trump’s sellouts since January 20, 2017. There have been a lot of them.
I think he is correct about his association of Trump with Camelot. Trump is a lot more like Camelot then Jeffries imagines.
JFK AS KING ARTHUR
We associate Jack Kennedy’s presidency with the 1960 musical that was totally mythical: Camelot.
Why do we do this? What possible connection does the presidency of John F. Kennedy have to King Arthur?
We do it because Jackie Kennedy was one of the great PR masters of the 20th century. Shortly after the assassination, she saw an advantage like only one other in American political history: the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln became mythic in retrospect. It was fake news at its most implausible, but it worked.
She literally designed the whole campaign to connect her husband’s presidency with a mythical King Arthur, taking advantage of the enormous popularity of the musical.
It took 50 years for this story to become public. It still is not well known, but here are some mainstream media articles that tell the story:
The posthumous legend of JFK was entirely mythical. It was tacked on top of a musical that was entirely mythical. The musical was tacked on top of a book that was entirely mythical. The book that was entirely mythical was based on one of the most popular literary myths in English literature. Virtually nothing is known of Arthur.
It was myth layered upon myth that would lead anybody to believe that JFK was anything more than a superficial, verbally gifted, speed reading, James Bond loving, serial adulterer. He got us into Vietnam, and he is to blame for having done so. He led Lyndon Johnson into the big muddy, from which Johnson never emerged. Neither did Nixon.
DONALD TRUMP AS KING ARTHUR
Trump gave a good inaugural address, a lot better than most. But he began to retreat from that address within days of having delivered it.
Trump’s candidacy was fake news. He coined the phrase, and it truly applied to everything he promised. It was all fake from day one. The man is a deal-doer. Deal-doers have no principles. They just do deals. They compromise. They lie. They over-promise. They deceive. They profit by putting lipstick on pigs. They do whatever it takes to get the deal done. He campaigned as a deal-doer. I believed him. That’s why I did not vote for him. I voted for Gary Johnson. I did not want to be sullied retroactively in my own mind by the sellouts that were inevitable.
The problem we are facing is this: Trump always got out of bad deals by declaring bankruptcy of the corporation in which he was the driving force. He raised money by means of his name, but when the deal went south, he bailed out. Here is the problem: you can’t declare bankruptcy on a presidency easily. Richard Nixon did, but Trump does not want to be remembered the way Nixon is remembered.
He is not going to declare bankruptcy on his presidency. I realize there are people who predict this, but I think it’s ridiculous. His presidency is not a corporation. He is, in the language of business, the sole proprietor. He is going to attempt to cobble together his presidential legacy by a series of deals. That’s why he keeps talking about renegotiating all the things that, during the campaign, he promised were nonnegotiable. For a deal-doer, nothing is nonnegotiable.
I really do think that there has been a Camelot element to Trump’s presidency. This element, like the original, was entirely mythical. His campaign was a series of deceptions in order to seal the deal. His inaugural address was his parting shot, not his opening salvo. His inaugural address was indeed a Camelot moment. It was his version of a Broadway play. He was the star of the play. He understood this.
The play has closed. It did not have a long run. He is now starring in its sequel: Merlin. King Arthur has died. Merlin has been declared king. It is a show about hope. It is about faith in magic. The star himself is a magician. He has always been a lot more like Merlin than King Arthur. He is a master of illusion.
The play is still sold out. It will be sold out for another 3 1/2 years. It may be sold out for another 7 1/2 years. That is because Donald Trump is not simply the star of the show, he is in charge of marketing. There has not been a marketer as successful at this level since Franklin Roosevelt.