I wake up at three in the morning. "Donald Trump!" I think, blearily but emphatically. "Donald Trump is the nominee! For president! Of the United States! He really did it. We really did it."
I don't know why I think "we." I am not a Republican primary voter. I'm not a Republican at all. There is nothing I could have done to stop Donald Trump, and yet I still feel guilty. "What have we done?" I think, then laugh. The whole thing is ridiculous.
I don't go back to sleep.
I have a Donald J. Trump Collection tie in my closet. I bought it several years ago when Obama was still early in his first term. Now I idly wonder whether they'll send us out to the Dakotan gulags by Trump Train™ or whether they'll use buses. (Who is "us," I wonder? Muslims and illegal-looking Mexicans, certainly. The "bad" blacks. "Activists." Those who disobey. Who else? Who knows? Surely a flexible definition will apply.) My Donald J. Trump Collection tie has an iridescent gold-on-gold paisley pattern and was made in Mexico. It's actually quite tasteful, though I don't have occasion to wear it very often.
Everything is fine. I begin writing a comforting piece entitled "Everything Is Fine" and, halfway through, change the title to "Is Everything Fine?" When I finish that piece I try again to write a piece entitled "Everything Is Fine." You're reading that piece now. Do you feel comforted?
I think about how Donald Trump has, more than once, publicly floated rumors about Ted Cruz that are taken straight from the National Enquirer. I don't mean that in a metaphorical sense, like, "Wow, these rumors are so wild that they practically could have come out of the tabloids." I mean it in a literal sense, as in: The person who owns the National Enquirer is a friend of Donald Trump and likely published these rumors specifically to help Trump.
I find myself doing this often in the shadow of Trump’s candidacy, clarifying that certain statements about Trump are not intended to be hyperbolic or figurative, but completely factual. For instance, when I say that "Donald Trump is the candidate of white supremacy," I mean it literally, as in: “The white supremacists are voting for Donald Trump because they believe that his views closely align with white supremacy.”
Anyway, one of the rumors Trump has floated is that Ted Cruz's father was photographed with Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's assassin, prior to being shot. Trump doesn't spell out exactly what he's insinuating. I think the idea is that we're supposed to fill in the blanks: Ted Cruz's dad helped assassinate JFK. This is only slightly more ridiculous than the rumor that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, which was supposed to be a joke. It is very funny. The joke, I mean.
Remember in Men In Black how one of the gimmicks was that all the nakedly bizarre tabloid headlines about alien cats being born to human mothers and delivered by Caesarean were true? I realize that I'm secretly hoping that the world is actually run by lizard people, because any group that could keep a conspiracy like that under wraps must be incredibly competent. Donald Trump gets all of his information from cable news and Twitter memes that his assistants print out for him. "Now, I don't know. What do I know about it? All I know is what's on the Internet," he said after baselessly accusing someone of being a member of ISIS. This is the man that one of the two viable political parties in the U.S. has put forward as their preferred choice to command the most powerful military in the world. I pray fervently that it's the lizard people running things. The lizard people know what they're doing.
What will I wear in the gulag, I wonder? Will we have the drab, loose-fitting jumpsuits out of dystopian fiction, or will we just have threadbare rags out of … history?
"President Donald Trump" sounds like a phrase from a goofy alternate universe comic book in which the world is slightly more stupid than our own. The comic book tries to affect cynicism, but at its heart is earnest and idealistic, because it is premised on the idea that if it can hold up a mirror to us, if it can show us how ridiculous we look, perhaps we'll consider changing. The truth is we know exactly how ridiculous we look but aren't going to do anything about it.
Donald Trump has the lowest favorability rating of any presidential candidate in American history, and it's hard to imagine him beating any Democratic nominee for president. The Democrats aren't going to nominate "any Democrat," though. They are on the cusp of nominating the deeply polarizing Hillary Clinton, who has the second lowest favorability rating of any presidential candidate in American history. The primary reason to feel confident with Clinton standing between us and the abyss, I'm told, is that presidential candidates don't matter, only their affiliated party does. The polling average that shows that Trump has caught up to Clinton doesn't matter either, I'm told, because it's too early to tell. So neither the candidate nor the polls matter. Nothing matters, and that's why Trump, the candidate running on nothing, can't win. This fills me with so much optimism that I could just burst. I imagine myself bursting and splashing all over the walls.
If Donald Trump loses, all of his supporters, including the neo-fascists and white supremacists he's emboldened, will definitely accept the outcome as democracy at work. While disappointed, they surely won't resort to violence of any kind. This comforts me.
I take a personal inventory of my skills and try to figure out which ones of them will be valuable in the event of civilizational collapse. I don't come up with much. I decide that perhaps I could be useful as the spokesperson and raconteur for the local warlord. "You spin your words so skillfully," she would growl appreciatively after I composed the words for her latest mandate to be posted around town. Or perhaps she would shout "bring us a tale!" with a generous laugh, but the laugh would be glazed with menace. I don't know why the local warlord's manner of speaking is out of a fantasy novel. I don't know anything anymore.
Everything is fine.