Citizen Trump: calling Orson Welles!
Last night during the second Presidential debate, Donald J. Trump did something no one thought he’d do. He actually, for real, told his opponent off exactly as it once happened in a movie. And not just any movie. Trump imitated one of the greatest movies of all time, according to the American Film Institute: Citizen Kane.
The particulars of Citizen Kane
The motion picture Citizen Kane passed into the public domain this year. Anyone who knows anything about American film, remembers Citizen Kane. Producer, director and star Orson Welles sought to portray (in)famous yellow journalist William Randolph Hearst. So the character Welles created, Charles Foster Kane, ran for Governor of New York as a reformer. Kane ran a hard and bitter campaign against an opponent in control of a political machine. The opponent, in the end, derailed the Kane campaign on a public morals charge. Kane, in frustration, charged voter fraud.
I made no “campaign promises,” because until recently, I had no hope of being elected. But now I have somewhat more than a hope – and Boss Jim Gettys has somewhat less than a chance. Every canvass, every independent poll, says that I will become your next Governor! So now I have a reason to make campaign promises, except I’m awfully busy planning to keep them.
But I will make one promise tonight, and Boss Jim Gettys knows I’ll keep it. As your next Governor, my first official act will be to instruct the Attorney General to convene a grand jury to seek a true bill of indictment against James W. Gettys!
Everyone who knows film, remembers that speech. Then they remember this headline, the day before the election:
Candidate Kane Caught in Love Nest with “Singer”
And at last this headline in the New York Daily Inquirer:
Fraud at polls!
Citizen Kane v. Citizen Trump
How similar are the fictitious Citizen Kane and the real-life Citizen Trump? Kane ran as a reformer; so did Trump. Kane had a thoroughly corrupt opponent; so does Trump. Two days before the second Presidential debate, NBC News released an audiotape they’d had for eleven years. On it, Trump talks smack, even trash, about women in general and married women in particular. The words he used do not bear printing, nor repetition in mixed company. (Or they didn’t in the era before television shows like The Sopranos.) But that NBC News sat on this tape for eleven years, then released it as an “October Surprise,” does bear mention. That release gives Donald Trump his “Susan Alexander” moment.
Consider also the difference between independent polls and media polls. Perhaps that distinction always made a difference, despite the impression Arthur L. Ochs tried to give. The distinction certainly makes a difference today. Everyone who cares to know, knows the Mainstream Media have made themselves a campaign arm of the Democratic Party. Or rather of the Clinton Foundation, which is to say, the Hillary Rodham Clinton political machine.
Fraud at polls?
And Donald J. Trump has already charged fraud at the polls. He has good reason. Item: a man enters a warehouse in Ohio and finds tens of thousands of absentee ballots with Hillary Clinton’s name on them. Furthermore, who can forget Representative Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland, urging the prosecution of activists seeking to insure against such fraud? For this reason, Donald Trump supporters urge one another to wear red to the polls. By doing this, they can raise suspicion against anyone trying to falsify the vote totals after the polls close.
Then came the debate. At it, Trump boldly declared that his first official act would be to ask his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton. Clinton then said how glad she was that Trump wasn’t in charge. Trump drove the point home: “because then you would be in jail.” He might as well have said, “Hillary! I’m going to send you to Leavenworth! Leavvv-ennn-worrrrrth!”
…and the differences
Here the similarities end. A world of difference exists between an audiotape a corrupt media organ sits on for seven years, and photographs of an actual illicit love interest. This difference is more than academic, because Donald Trump does not have a real Susan Alexander in his life. Instead, Bill Clinton, Hillary’s husband, has. And not only one, but several. Worse, some of those Susan Alexanders still have the bruises and scars to prove it! No one—ever—accused Charles Foster Kane of rape.
Nor has the church vote turned away from Trump on the strength of that tape. Donald Trump never pretended to set a moral example. But not only did Bill Clinton commit rape against at least two women, but also – and more to the point – Hillary Clinton has demanded Americans abandon their religion.
And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to…change.
You never heard Charles Foster Kane say anything like that!
Furthermore, Donald J. Trump has made campaign promises all along. Among them: he will repeal the Johnson Amendment, that stops church pastors from preaching to, and for whom to, vote. He knows, as do we, that the Internal Revenue Service have always selectively enforced that rule. They literally have selectively enforced it since Lyndon Johnson wrote it into law. Now he will do away with it. We see here another reason the church vote will not turn away from Trump.
The biggest difference
What is the biggest difference between Charles Foster Kane and Donald John Trump? Charles Foster Kane lost. In contrast, Donald John Trump will win. He will win because voters care about reform, more than they did in Kane’s day. He also has shown, again unlike Kane, that he means it about reform. Trump says what he means, and means what he says. So we can revise that speech by Kane:
Of course I made campaign promises all along, even when the Mainstream Media gave me no hope of election. But now, even they must admit that I have somewhat more than a hope—and Hillary Clinton has somewhat less than a chance. I speak to capacity crowds and have to turn people away. Hillary Clinton books smaller venues and still ends up speaking to empty seats! That beats any poll out there, whether it calls itself independent or not. And that’s how I know I will be your next President.
So as many promises as you’ve heard me make, bank on this: I am already planning to keep them. And here’s one promise I will make now, and Boss Hillary Clinton knows I’ll keep it. As my first official act as your President, I will instruct my Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to gather evidence to present to a grand jury, to seek a true bill of indictment against Hillary Rodham Clinton!