Makes one heaping serving for billionaires who don’t share nicely; a taste is probably more than enough for everyone else.
Prep time: 20 years
Cook time: 2 years
Note: Broiling the campaign at the end is optional. The dish is very flammable, and could lead to unforeseen consequences. Pairs nicely with the fruit salad of their life.
1. Preheat your campaign for eight years on a medium-low rage. Persuade people eager to be convinced that the president is a foreigner. When people mock you for this, assure them that they will one day regret it. Say, “I think it made me very popular ... I do think I know what I'm doing.”
2. Announce you think you might run for president a fourth time. Descend from the sky and promise that you will be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
3. Throw out the primary cookbook. All that prep work and handshaking at Iowa diners is just inefficient, not to mention unsanitary. Instead, start searching for the biggest, most beautiful rooms in the country — but make sure they’re still snug enough to make your ego look outsized. Find airplane hangars, where chants of “USA! USA!” will reverberate. Find convention centers that can fit thousands of people. When those aren’t big enough, take over entire football stadiums. The rest of the presidential candidates think that being personable — zigzagging their way from coffee shop to coffee shop, winning voters one by one — is the way to win a primary. (Isn’t that why we let teeny-tiny Iowa and New Hampshire go first? Maybe.) But creating a traveling biodome that reinforces the preexisting opinions of angry voters — and tells them it is righteous to be so infuriated — seems to have its merits.
Sparingly sprinkle with speeches in high school auditoriums and feral chomps of pork chops on a stick, to remind people that you are familiar with the silly customs of a presidential campaign. But continue to arrive in a private helicopter, so people never forget that you are Donald Trump.
4. Talk policy. Not too much. Mostly adjectives. Mention only things that make your supporters say that “you tell it like it is” — by which they mean, “you say exactly what we’ve been thinking, when no one else has.” (No one has been saying exactly what your supporters were thinking because those things are often racist or just plain misinformed, but this is irrelevant, because it works.) Talk about building a wall that will keep out Mexican rapists. Start small, by your standards, when talking about policy ideas, so that by the end of your campaign, the wall will be twice as high and half as expensive. Float the idea of building another, invisible wall to keep out Muslims. Stir the pot frequently. If five minutes pass without you mentioning the great deals you will make, add in a few. Have your staffers print out Michael Bay plot summaries, sub in the villains for “ISIS,” and make it your foreign policy. You’ll know it’s ready when your supporters start wonderingly referencing your “big nuts” and “balls the size of watermelons.”
5. Don’t despair when protesters show up and your supporters start kicking them. That’s supposed to happen. Trump supporters were already suspicious that the rest of America was determined to crush them. As one told the Washington Post, “Everything is up for grabs. Illegal aliens are murdering people there. People are being raped. Trump isn’t lying about anything — the rest of the country just hasn’t found out yet.” But Trump voters know, and the candidate’s unwieldy rallies reflect reality as they see it.
6. When voters yell, “Go back to where you came from” to immigration protesters, tell your security guards to send the protesters away. Say that you’ll be “pretty more violent” if they keep coming. When supporters kick and spit and punch, say, "Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” When Black Lives Matter protesters come, tell the crowd to “Get them.” When signs that say “Dump Trump” get ripped up, respond, “I love people with courage.” Wax nostalgic about the “old days” when protesters were “carried out on stretchers.” If your campaign manager might have grabbed a female reporter, leaving behind bruises, say that she might have made the whole thing up. When a 78-year-old man — who later told reporters, “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him” — punches a protester being escorted out by police, say they deserved to be treated violently because “some protesters” are “bad dudes” who have “done bad things.” It doesn’t matter if that’s not true, you’re just telling it like it is.
7. When violence starts to bubble outside your rallies, use that same logic to defend your supporters: “People who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Encourage and support them, saying, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? … I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.” At the same time, threaten protesters with arrests that will “ruin the rest of their lives.”
8. Instruct your fans that the First Amendment means making sure that people you agree with are heard while silencing those you think are wrong. Treat the election like a private event for yourself and your fans. Tell supporters, "It's very important to vote. But only if you're going to vote for Donald J. Trump. Do not vote if you're going to vote for anybody else."
9. Don’t worry when everyone says that your campaign is doomed to fade because you haven’t increased your share of the vote. The only thing that matters is that a small minority of voters who have supported you since the beginning, usually around 35 percent of a state, are just getting angrier, and want you to be president even more than they did two months ago. And, lucky for you, all of these out-of-control rallies are convincing them even more strongly that America is doomed to eternal damnation if you aren’t elected. Orchestrate similar situations that make sure they stay that way — and maybe infect other Republican voters with the same fears as other candidates disappear.
10. Put the press in a cage, and deglaze with wine at least once a rally to make sure that none of your fans believe reporters when they expose your countless flaws. Call them disgusting, but say you would also never kill them.
11. Whenever you’re worried that your supporters might not be spicy enough, hold a rally in a place certain to attract more protesters and, subsequently, stir up your biggest defenders — like Vermont. Give away so many tickets that the streets outside your rally are stuffed with supporters and protesters, allowing that biodome to bleed into reality. Now that you have a room where protesters are even more noticeable — louder, more threatening, more “them” — allow your supporters to watch you get rid of them in a preview of how you would deal with enemy territory as president. Say, as loud cheers bounce off the venue’s walls, “Get ’em out. Get them out. Get ’em out. Don’t give him his coat. Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. It’s about 10 degrees below zero outside. You can keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks.”
Show you can win, even if it’s just in the confines of an artificial world created by one of the greatest architects of fake realities: on TV, in towers. Keep thinking of new ways to make your supporters angrier and more worried about what would happen if you didn’t win. Try to give a speech at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, where a majority of the students are people of color. “I don’t think he’s trying to fuel the people that don’t agree with him; he’s trying to fuel the people that agree with him,” William Daley, son of former Chicago mayor Richard Daley, told the New York Times. “You can’t do that in a vacuum.”
12. After you have thousands of protesters and supporters in one big bowl, let them marinate for a while after the event is scheduled to begin, and then cancel it, without consulting with the well-prepared law enforcement and security on hand. Let the country watch as the contents of the event, primed for battle on both sides, spill out into the streets. When critics start accusing you of condoning or fomenting violence, blame the protesters. “Guess what happened? Our people started swinging back.”
13. Brag about how having so many protesters paradoxically reminds the rest of the country how many people love you by forcing the camera to pan over your huge, screaming audience. “They only turn the cameras around, away from me, when there's a protester,” you say. “They never do it to show how many thousands of people are here."
14. Repeat steps 4 through 9 while the rest of your opponents slowly realize that the turning point in the race that they’ve been waiting for — where the rules of order will reassert themselves and calling people morons will no longer be considered a valid policy argument — might never come. Watch the Republican Party figure out that their base might have never cared about the budget slashing its politicians so craved — and that the key to getting more voters wasn’t trying to expand their demographic reach, but just reaching deeper into the base it already had to find people, people who had been waiting for a knight in shining suits to save them before bothering to show any interest in the electoral process.
15. Realize that you may have to serve your campaign before it is done cooking, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland come July. Hope that you have sufficiently assembled an army of supporters intimidating enough that any attempts to take a presidential nomination away from you would be far scarier than just letting you win (given the range of endorsements you’ve gotten so far, people seem to think joining your alternate reality could be far more rewarding than being left outside of it). Serve fiery-hot and lightly seasoned with the tears of everyone who was positive that it would be impossible to throw all of these inedible ingredients together and trick people into eating it.
16. No one’s ever gotten this far in the recipe before, so it's unclear whether it tastes good after being reheated in the general.