93 long, dark nights for America: Amis on Trump

by awindram

Ninety-three long, dark nights to go.

Trump’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “The media is going crazy. They totally distort so many things on purpose. Crimea, nuclear, “the baby” and so much more. Very dishonest!”

Clinton’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “WATCH: This special 360 degree video allows you to experience the magic of the balloon drop:”

Daily election article of interest: The Burning of Donald Trump


My admiration for Martin Amis seems increasingly unfashionable and even just a little suspect – a love that dare not speak its name – as he has become a writer whom many relish professing their animosity for. In his occasional non-fiction political pieces post 9/11 you can normally detect the guiding hand of his old friend Chrisopher Hitchens, so it has been fascinating seeing him deal with topics such as Corbyn and now Trump without Hitchen’s influence. His recent piece, which I thought was unfairly mocked, in The Times on Corbyn didn’t critique Corbyn, as you would imagine would be the Hitchen’s line of attack, by questioning his pronouncements on Hamas or his closeness to the Iranian state’s Press TV, but went with the far more Amisian idea of warning against confusing someone’s humourlessness for seriousness – it was the evisceration of a literary critic and not a wannabe political pundit. Likewise, his attack on Trump in this month’s Harper’s is more of the same and he tears the Donald for his terrible verses – specifically The Art of the Deal and Crippled America.

Above all, perhaps, his antennae are very sensitive to weakness. Looking to buy an old hotel in Midtown, Trump rejects the Biltmore, the Barclay, and the Roosevelt as being “at least moderately successful,” and goes instead for the “only one in real trouble,” the Commodore, which he can pitch as “a loser hotel in a decaying neighborhood” and so flatten the price. Similarly, his long and apparently hopeless campaign to get Bonwit Teller, store and building, suddenly takes fire when he learns that its parent company has started “to experience very serious financial problems.” And he gets Bonwit Teller. Perhaps that’s the defining asset: a crocodilian nose for inert and preferably moribund prey.

Trump can sense when an entity is no longer strong enough or lithe enough to evade predation. He did it with that white elephant, the Grand Old Party, whose salaried employers never saw him coming, even when he was there, and whose ruins he now bestrides. The question is, Can he do it with American democracy?