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Why Does Trump Survive Scandals? Because Scandals Are Part of His Appeal

Monday, September 12, 2016 By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
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Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. (Damon Winter / The New York Times)Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. (Damon Winter / The New York Times)

Don't believe a word Donald Trump says about getting money out of politics -- he's part of the problem, and his apparent bribe of Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi highlights it.

Although this scandal has been overshadowed by all the drama surrounding Hillary Clinton having the flu, her emails, the Clinton Foundation, etc. -- it's actually a really big deal.

Here's the gist of what happened: Back in 2013, Bondi was thinking of joining a massive lawsuit against Trump University, which was accused of ripping off thousands of students.

Shortly after receiving a $25,000 campaign check from the Donald J. Trump foundation, however, Bondi decided not to join that lawsuit.

Bondi, of course, denies any wrongdoing, but no one in Florida is buying her excuses.

All three major Sunshine State newspapers -- the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times -- have now called for a federal investigation into an incident that certainly looks like a classic case of quid-pro-quo corruption.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

The Tampa Bay Times was especially tough in its call for a federal probe, arguing that since "The appearance of something more than a coincidence is too serious -- and the unresolved questions are too numerous -- to accept blanket denials by Bondi and Trump without more digging and an independent review."

Now, under normal circumstances, a scandal of this magnitude would be all over the news.

If Clinton, for example, were involved in anything like this, we'd never hear the end of it.

But because it's Trump, the whole story has slipped down the memory hole.

And that's despite the fact that the campaign donation that set off this scandal was itself illegal and worthy of a $2,500 fine for Trump breaking the law!

So what's going on here?

How is Trump able to weather a pay-to-play scandal that would probably doom another candidate?

The answer is simpler than you might think: Trump can survive this kind of scandal because being involved in this kind of scandal is a huge part of his appeal.

You see, unlike Bernie Sanders, who approached money in politics as an outside reformer, Trump approaches the issue as an insider, as someone who actively participates in the kind of wheel-greasing that's turned our republic into the best democracy money can buy.

He's even gone so far as to crack jokes about how much he loves bribing people.

This is a weird strategy, but it makes sense from a certain point of view.

By admitting his own corruption, Trump makes himself out to be the only honest guy in the room.

He's trying to point our that the emperor has no clothes by taking off all his clothes himself.

This is why the Bondi story hasn't hurt Trump as much as it would hurt another candidate -- it just proves his point that the system is corrupt.

But can someone like Trump actually FIX our broken political system?

That's the real question, and the answer is no, he can't.

Trump might be "honest" in his own grotesque sort of way about pay-to-play politics in the US, but that kind of honesty doesn't translate into good governance.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Trump is someone who's made billions by hustles and bribes, and he's not going to suddenly change once he becomes president.

He'll still be the same privileged bully he's always been.

If he brings his corrupt deal-making skills to the White House, expect him and his buddies to get rich and US workers to get the shaft.

That's the way it's always been with Trump the businessman; it's the way it'll be with Trump the politician.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.
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Why Does Trump Survive Scandals? Because Scandals Are Part of His Appeal

Monday, September 12, 2016 By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. (Damon Winter / The New York Times)Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president on the final night of the Republican National Convention, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. (Damon Winter / The New York Times)

Don't believe a word Donald Trump says about getting money out of politics -- he's part of the problem, and his apparent bribe of Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi highlights it.

Although this scandal has been overshadowed by all the drama surrounding Hillary Clinton having the flu, her emails, the Clinton Foundation, etc. -- it's actually a really big deal.

Here's the gist of what happened: Back in 2013, Bondi was thinking of joining a massive lawsuit against Trump University, which was accused of ripping off thousands of students.

Shortly after receiving a $25,000 campaign check from the Donald J. Trump foundation, however, Bondi decided not to join that lawsuit.

Bondi, of course, denies any wrongdoing, but no one in Florida is buying her excuses.

All three major Sunshine State newspapers -- the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times -- have now called for a federal investigation into an incident that certainly looks like a classic case of quid-pro-quo corruption.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

The Tampa Bay Times was especially tough in its call for a federal probe, arguing that since "The appearance of something more than a coincidence is too serious -- and the unresolved questions are too numerous -- to accept blanket denials by Bondi and Trump without more digging and an independent review."

Now, under normal circumstances, a scandal of this magnitude would be all over the news.

If Clinton, for example, were involved in anything like this, we'd never hear the end of it.

But because it's Trump, the whole story has slipped down the memory hole.

And that's despite the fact that the campaign donation that set off this scandal was itself illegal and worthy of a $2,500 fine for Trump breaking the law!

So what's going on here?

How is Trump able to weather a pay-to-play scandal that would probably doom another candidate?

The answer is simpler than you might think: Trump can survive this kind of scandal because being involved in this kind of scandal is a huge part of his appeal.

You see, unlike Bernie Sanders, who approached money in politics as an outside reformer, Trump approaches the issue as an insider, as someone who actively participates in the kind of wheel-greasing that's turned our republic into the best democracy money can buy.

He's even gone so far as to crack jokes about how much he loves bribing people.

This is a weird strategy, but it makes sense from a certain point of view.

By admitting his own corruption, Trump makes himself out to be the only honest guy in the room.

He's trying to point our that the emperor has no clothes by taking off all his clothes himself.

This is why the Bondi story hasn't hurt Trump as much as it would hurt another candidate -- it just proves his point that the system is corrupt.

But can someone like Trump actually FIX our broken political system?

That's the real question, and the answer is no, he can't.

Trump might be "honest" in his own grotesque sort of way about pay-to-play politics in the US, but that kind of honesty doesn't translate into good governance.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Trump is someone who's made billions by hustles and bribes, and he's not going to suddenly change once he becomes president.

He'll still be the same privileged bully he's always been.

If he brings his corrupt deal-making skills to the White House, expect him and his buddies to get rich and US workers to get the shaft.

That's the way it's always been with Trump the businessman; it's the way it'll be with Trump the politician.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.