Alex: That leads us to the next guy on the list. Do you want to talk about him at all? Donald Trump?
Crumb: All I can do is just pile onto what everyone else says, you know? It's all people talk about. It's an endless subject of conversation and has been since he started running for president. The media of course loved him -- loved him! They couldn't get enough of Trump. He really shot their ratings up. People were either morbidly curious, or outraged, or they supported him - all of 'em. All the people I know that despised him, they just couldn't help but watch him and gasp in indignation at his latest outrageous statement. "Did you hear what Trump said yesterday?" [laughing] That sort of thing. And of course his supporters just lapped it up. The more outrageous the better, as far as they were concerned.
Alex: Well, sadly, I think it was kind of a breath of fresh air for many Americans, because for so long the politicians were so scripted. They would just stick to the script created for the certain group of people they were standing in front of. Everything got to be so artificial. And then, all of a sudden, you get this lunatic that just said whatever came into his mind. I think that was so real and refreshing for so many people.
Crumb: Yeah, but I would watch him and find him so offensive, so obnoxious and hateful. How could anybody just looking at him and watching his behavior think for one second that he's anything but a sociopath!? I just couldn't imagine how anyone could think he's a viable candidate for the presidency. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders who was out actually speaking some truth - I thought he was great. You see that's what happens when you get a politician who actually tells the truth - nope, can't have him. The Democrats made sure he didn't get nominated. They reaped what they sowed, the Democratic Party operatives, when they fixed it so Bernie would lose the primary votes in New York and California.
Alex: Also, a lot of people are just biologically wired to be really taken in by authoritarian people.
Crumb: That's true, you're right. You're right. They just want a big, strong chief who will take care of everything, lead them into battle and provide the big feast afterward and parcel out the spoils. Yep.
Alex: And the weird thing is, it doesn't have that much to do with education. You can be a very educated person but a very pro-authoritarian person and you're really going to be sympathetic to Trump.
Crumb: "We're going to take care of this." Yeah. "We're gonna get this straightened out and kick out all the parasites and lock some people up, etc."
Alex: Some eggs are gonna be broken when you make an omelet, you know? And that's just the way it is, and he's gotta take charge. A lot of Americans like that. A no nonsense kind of guy, who's just gonna take charge, because it simplifies their world. They just feel someone's going to take care of the problems that are just too complicated for them.
Crumb: Yeah, that's right. Hitler explains all that in Mein Kampf. He's very straight forward about it. If you want to galvanize the population behind your political cause you've got to speak simply to them, you've got to keep it black and white and you've got to have an enemy that's very obvious, that you can point to. Hitler was kind of a genius that way. I wonder how soon it's going to be before the general run of the supporters of Trump start to feel betrayed. I wonder how long that's going to take.
Alex: He's already proposed his tax plan: he's gonna bring the tax rate for the top 1% from 39% down to 33%. Can you believe that? That's exactly what we need, to increase disparity.
Crumb: What about everybody else? What about the common herd? What’s he gonna do about their taxes?
Alex: I don’t think anything is going to change substantially. He’s up front about it. He’s shameless about it.
Crumb: That's one thing about Trump - he's utterly shameless. He's not embarrassed or self-conscious about himself. He's kind of sociopathic that way. There was an article in The New Yorker that was interesting, in which the journalist talked to Tony Schwartz, the guy who ghost-wrote Trump's book, The Art of The Deal, in the late 80s. That was the book that I read that inspired me to do my comic strip about Trump in HUP #3 in 1989. In The Art of The Deal, Trump comes across as such an arrogant, reprehensible, total dick even after Tony Schwartz's gloss over job. I found him so offensive that, you know, I was inspired to do that strip. And Tony Schwartz now regrets that he wrote it for the money. He admits he put a positive spin on Trump, that he bent over backwards to make Trump look like a halfway reasonable human being. But he says that if he had to do it over, if he was writing that book now, he wouldn't call it The Art of The Deal, he would call it, "Sociopath".
Alex: Yeah, he came out recently and said, "I put lipstick on a pig."
Crumb: Wow, Tony Schwartz said that?
Crumb: [Laughing] For me, when I read that book, Trump still came off as an utterly reprehensible asshole. We had some friends visiting here from New York for Thanksgiving. And one of them is a doctor and a couple of his patients are wealthy guys involved in large scale construction in New York who had some very interesting things to say about Trump’s business practices. For instance, he is notorious for stiffing anybody he owes money to! You’d finish a big construction job for him, and he just wouldn’t pay you. You have to get your lawyers to fight with his lawyers, and maybe you’ll come out of it with some fraction of what you were owed, but he’s notorious for stiffing people in business dealings, apparently. Now why didn’t the Democrats talk about that shit? How can you trust a guy who doesn’t even pay people who do work for him?
Alex: After the election, he had to go to court facing charges of fraud for his University.
Crumb: Trump University, right, they settled for 25 million.
Alex: Why wasn’t that brought up?
Crumb: I don't get it, the Democrats were so soft on him, I don't get it! Just watching that guy, he's so repellant I can't imagine how anybody could give him two seconds of credibility. It's so obvious that he has no relationship to integrity or the truth. You can just see it, the sleaze, the thuggish aspect, the nastiness… I thought it was rather lame that they made such a big issue out of Trump's crude sexual remarks. I don't think that's one of the main things to be concerned with Trump. He's one of those "deplorables" who can't help himself but talk that way, and as he said, it's just "locker room talk" and 90% of heterosexual males can be caught talking that way. Ok, you don't want your president talking that way, but in private, who cares? It's like Clinton, who cares about Monica Lewinsky? I couldn't give a shit about any of that sexual behavior unless he's raping women, which he's not doing . Trump is not actually raping anybody, to my knowledge. I mean, some woman said he behaved inappropriately. I've been inappropriate, and I'm sure you have at times in your life, you know? That shouldn't be the main issue. But the Democrats tried to make such a big deal about that. And the media, "Oh, how terrible that he said those things," grabbing pussy, or whatever. People's sex life, unless they're committing rape or doing something like that, should be nobody's business as far as I'm concerned. To make that an issue, and not talk about what a fucking crook he's been in his business transactions? What's that about?
Alex: But Robert, it is an issue. Because what woman are saying is you can’t treat me this way, you can’t talk to me this way, and you can’t take your hand and grope my body this way. It’s an issue for woman, and they’re half the population. It may not be an issue for you, but it is an issue for most women.
Crumb: Yeah, but it’s crude talk. And I’m sure…
Alex: But it’s more than talk. He fondled them. He would go and fondle their breasts. He would actually put his hands on them, he would accost them. And he also did it verbally. From a woman’s point of view, they shouldn’t have to put up with that.
Crumb: I totally agree with that, but on the other hand again, it's like 90% of the heterosexual male population has behaved that way some time in their lives, and I've done it myself when I was young, I was out of control sometimes. If you're not raping people or molesting children, that's like a minor issue. It's not the main reason for not electing somebody, because they've said some crude things about women in a private conversation which someone happened to be recording. I don't know if he really grabbed women's pussies. I don't know. I wouldn't put it past such an obnoxious s.o.b. Some say he kissed them when he was not invited to and stuff like that. Almost all men in high positions of power are guilty of that stuff. It's a huge hypocrisy that's just not talked about openly.
But, how did this happen? That's the big question that is hanging in the air, how did this happen? Like how did Hitler get to be chancellor of Germany? How the fuck did that happen? It's the same thing with Trump. And he's got these evil guys like Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner-.
Alex: Because the people were so poor in Germany in the '30s, and because of the growing disparity in America. Disparity created by the Republicans. They're the ones who created all the mess and now they are blaming Obama for it? It's ridiculous.
Crumb: Yeah, it’s incredible. Incredible bunch of hypocritical liars. But the Democrats haven’t been much better. They just don’t have a strong enough vision. And then here comes Bernie Sanders–but he’s accused of being a Socialist or a Communist because he’s just too far left, because he addressed the real problem, the inequality of wealth, the business set-up laissez faire Capitalism. Bernie Sanders was much clearer about it than anyone when he talked. He was just right on! He was so clear and on the mark. But no, he’s a Socialist, a – a Communist! Can’t let him get the highest office in the land. They made sure of that.
Alex: The system is rigged. And one good thing about Trump running his own campaign was that it became very clear that the primary system is rigged. Donald Trump said it. And he even said the stock market is rigged. That was an interesting part of the campaign.
Crumb: Yeah, and when the media tried to put him down for saying the system is rigged, I'm sure that just fired up his supporters. That the media said, 'Oh, he's saying the system is rigged. That's just a conspiracy theory and paranoia.' That just probably fired up the supporters of Trump, that the media tried to downplay his statements about the system being rigged. But the sad fact is, he just said that to suit his own purposes at the moment. Trump is a demagogue. He'll say anything to fire up his supporters. A lot of the time it's off the top of his head. He's just wacko. Anybody with a hairdo like that, gotta be crazy, right? That's got to be a crazy person! [laughs] He might as well be walking around with a fucking Napoleon hat on. [laughs]
Trump’s behavior reminds me a bit of Mussolini, but Mussolini was actually an intellectual who, unlike Trump, read books occasionally. Gosh, I hope the Donald doesn’t end up like Mussolini, hanging upside down by his ankles, with a raging mob beating his head to a pulp.