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••• The International Writers Magazine:Reality Check + READERS RESPONSES

The Joke's Over
• James Campion
Donald J. Trump - Myth Buster Busted

The concept of the Donald J. Trump run for presidency remains the same today as it did the day before his epic fail during the first of the scheduled three presidential debates this past week: He is still the political grenade that has been celebrated in this space since last September when it became almost certain that he would have an impact on the 2016 race.

Trump D

His candidacy is still very much needed to shake the foundation of an irritatingly stagnant, systemically biased, and mostly broken political landscape that allows for creatures like Trump to emerge. But after what I witnessed for over 90 minutes on September 26, the idea that somehow this outsider business mogul cum reality TV star could actually be a viable chief executive of the largest economy and most powerful military on planet earth is kaput.

I am writing this for my well-informed, educated, and politically savvy friends, family and colleagues, who are Trump supporters, who have made salient arguments for his candidacy for months now. Those who are not the deplorable; you know, racist goobers, who think the Chinese, Mexicans and Muslims are stealing their jobs and their country is ruined by darkies and think pinching women’s asses and calling someone a Negro is their God-given right and that gays are going to hell and that the gun is a proper substitute for their penises can stop reading now – if, in fact, you do read.

Those 90 minutes in front of a record 84 million viewers has eradicated any and all plausible reasons why Trump could govern anything at any time with even the remotest efficiency, never mind be president. And this does not mean he is disqualified. Not as long as our list of presidents include Andrew Jackson or James Buchanan or Richard Nixon, but as debates will do, and should do, the veil as been lifted on this particular canard.
This was the political equivalent of Milli Vanilli.
Anyone under 40 please Google that.
The emperor was stark naked.
There was no beef.
Al Capone’s vault was empty.

Remember when Trump said he had proof Barack Obama was not an American citizen, and then he didn’t have anything? This was that. Remember when Trump said his casino would change the economic landscape of Atlantic City, and it didn’t, and then he closed it? This was that. Remember when Trump said the USFL would be the prominent professional football sports league in American and it was soooo not? This was…you get it.
Trump not only shat all over that stage that night, he illustrated in every possible way everything the well-informed and politically savvy opponents of his candidacy have argued against him. He could not have been more ill-prepared, unhinged and clueless. Worst still, he showed no signs of being able to defend himself or launch a cogent or even coherent argument against a vulnerable opponent. To wit: When accused of not paying taxes, he agreed with this sentiment, and then said he was smart to do so, pretty much mocking the rest of the tax-paying nation and in turn dismissing the most fundamental aspect of our democracy; you know, the taxation/representation bit.

But perhaps his greatest crime, besides being woefully unaware of the activity and assignment that he was presented months ago, he failed to broach many of his most ardent points for his being there in the first place; building a wall at the southern border of the nation, for one glaring example.

There were moments when Trump looked and sounded like he was either drugged or had just woken from a grandpa nap. And although there were reports for weeks that he was arrogantly unmotivated to prepare for the thing (his campaign said he was “the Babe Ruth of debaters”, that is if it is the ten hot dogs and sixteen beers before the first inning Ruth we’re talking about) and had never actually debated anyone (fourteen people speaking for two minutes and standing around for fifteen minutes while other people talk is a showcase, not a debate), this was as if he was shocked to be there and asked questions.

Sure, everyone expected Trump to blurt out the most blatant misinformation possible, like ISIS being in 30 countries, and the crime rate in NYC being up, or not admitting to his own quotes about climate change or supporting the war in Iraq. And, of course, he would insult women, misunderstand the plight of inner city black youth, break records for non sequiturs, do the pout thing, and exhale “Wrong!” at every turn. But his repeated defense of unconstitutional laws, excusing Russia (AGAIN, what’s the deal with that?) against evidence that the country has been hacking into his opponent’s servers, and an alarming confusion on how the nation’s nuclear triad works is beyond inexcusable.

But none of that really matters for those of us who see Trump as a symbol and not a legitimate candidate. Who didn’t think Hillary Clinton wasn’t going to beat him in a debate; a woman who over prepares for everything and has the minutest detail of every morsel of minutia that passes her desk? However, with her penchant for condescension and unable to connect to non-politicos and the usual creepy Clintonian stuff that gets in the way, this observer was sure it would be a beating, but not the annihilation we witnessed.

Here is where the joke is truly over for Donald Trump; your candidate is supposed to be tough (he was steamrolled) excellent at one-and-one negations wherein he dominates and makes people pay for walls and restructure trade deals and cower from his mighty presence (he lost every tussle that night save for four minutes on trades deals and that was a layup). Trump was so utterly subjugated by his opponent there were times I felt sorry for him. Then he got angry and started referencing Rosie O’Donnell, his 10 year-old kid, and a 400 pound hacker. The great negotiator and winner of all mano-a-mano tests got schooled. Badly.

The entire “Believe me” and “I got this” and “I’m the only one who can fix this” shtick was turned into a gooey mess of nonsense.

This was the most important chance yet in this election season for your candidate to at least display the very tenets of his purpose for running as “a movement” – he “wins”, “all the time”, and “big league”. He lost, severely and embarrassingly; looking petty, and stupid and overwhelmed. He became the caricature of his worst personality traits and proved the fears people who do not like him and are afraid of him have; a guy who woke up six days ago – not fourteen months ago – and decided he’ll try this president thing.

It would be as if Clinton showed up that night with a phone in her hand told people to give her a minute while she checks her private server for classified info she can send to her friends, who helped her cover-up the Benghazi attacks and then shifted their money over to a secret slush fund through the Clinton Foundation.

Trump may be an effective tool to mock the system, show Obama and Clinton and the progressive left that this country is not changing for the worse, and he may say things you think and appear like he could be an entirely new and effective president in an age when trust in politicians and their institutions are at a new low, but Donald J. Trump as a serious candidate for president is a joke and that particular joke is over.


Mr. Campion,

I’m not sure there is even a columnist or commentator alive who could actually begin to “explain” this entire year or so in politics. (THE TRUMP SHOW – Issue: 7/27/16) I have seen it all – I thought. I thought I had stomached all the craziness for ten lifetimes over four or five or more presidents and presidential candidates. Even this year with 16 or 17 on the Republican side, many of whom were just totally out there, but what Donald Trump unfurled onto the world stage at his convention defies logic or explanation. It was pure theater, as you write, but more than that it was a window into our American soul, a place so dark and dreary, so weirdly maudlin it cannot be put into words. It must be SEEN. It can be felt, but you must SEE it.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes the Trump Show, as you call it, so vital to our national discourse and national character. We have to have it all come out of the shadows like this every once in a while to remind us of the demons we could unleash when prompted. How we may act if pushed.
I think this is how I would comment on it. Yours was sufficient, but falls a bit short of aghast.

G. Brilla

I tune in weekly to your rantings because... well… you pay me to. But I was enjoying this madness long before that. You are my Sportszone, consolidating the world of politics into a digestible and entertaining microwavable burrito. Along with the ensuing nightmares that accompany both. And as I have no intention of actually sitting through the finals of Wimbledon, or watching one excruciating minute of that nonsense, I now have gotten all I need to know about this year's RNC without an ad pop-up or nary a burp of over processed "meat". And for that I thank you.

Doc Slater

I weep for this world.

Bo Blaze

What about Frank Lutz’ focus group of independents? How do you go from “putting America” first to isolationism? How can you call Rudy Giuliani, who should have been president instead of George Bush, “spastic”? I know you’re a cynic, but did we watch the same convention? Did not Joe Biden and Barak Obama himself plagiarize worse than Mrs. Trump?
I don’t get why Hilary’s actions, lies and total betrayals don’t seem to be a big deal but Mrs. Trump copying a few lines from Mrs. Obama, which were also probably written by a speech writer, is?

Elizabeth Vengen Esq.

I think it is true that New York and by extension New Yawkers do get pigeon-holed as loud, obnoxious, ego-centric ethnic troublemakers. (NEW YAWK, NEW YAWK – Issue: 8/17/16) But then again, WE ARE!
But I was really turned on by your dissection of the envy other towns and of course cities have for New York. I never thought of it that way. But normally when people do paint us all with the same broad brush it is jealousy because it is the greatest city in the world and now the most powerful person in the world is coming from NY, by way of carpetbagger and native, but nevertheless both campaigns are run from Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there is a certain swagger to these candidates and their negative ratings have as much to do with their NY affiliation and the balls and braggadocio that comes with all of that, than their normally unappealing selves.
Good column. Learned a lot.


Right on the money. "…builds big things bigger than your things and so go fuck yourself."

Al Quagliata

Haha! True dat! I like it!

Laura DeBona


Don’t count out Trump just yet. (LAST GASP FOR CITIZEN TRUMP – Issue: 8/24/16) He has the biggest campaign appearance draw numbers, he consistently wins online polls where people can voice their support in anonymity and his polling numbers are close to Madame Shoo-in and Assange has already said he has the October Surprises of all October Surprises in store for Killary.
I wouldn’t count this guy out just yet. As it gets closer and the party realizes we are serious about blowing up the GOP if they fuck Trump, they will begin to get in line. They will be forced to remember that we Trump supporters had voted for 2 turds (Romney and McCain) and now it’s their turn to get in line if they want the GOP to continue to be a national party.
Trump is running a great outsider campaign. People are pissed off because he isn’t acting like a politician. That’s a good thing. If I wanted a hack politician, I would have supported Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz.
I would advise you to get the hot sauce or ketchup to make your words a tad more palatable.

Bill Roberts

I have a differing view on Trump’s latest and greatest changes in his campaign staff. I think perhaps this is a way to deflect some of his missteps and throw it on surrogates and staffers and although it is excusing them, it is a sound political move.
In a weird way Trump has had about nine lives already throughout this thing. His biggest hurdle of course, and this is true of any Republican, is the general election. He is behind the eight ball, no doubt, but again, I think his message overall, beyond the racist rants and terrible gaffs and ridiculous tweeting and his inability to have any real and sound plan for the country beyond, “I’m great, they suck, elect me and trust I’ll get stuff done”, resounds for many, many Americans.
If this is a change election, which I still think it is, and he is the only change candidate and people really are sick of DC and sick of stagnation and bad trade deals and are afraid of ISIS and Russia and want a big, bad bully to step in, then Trump is still that.
And I believe that never makes him completely done.
Although he is damn close.

Jeffery K.

God – you can write your ass off.

Kacey M.

You’re an idiot. Trump’s an idiot. Hillary is an idiot. The media is filled with idiots. The electorate is idiotic and I am definitely an idiot.
So Trump ain’t done, pal. Not by a long shot.


© James Campion Oct 7th 2016

Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at

James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon.

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