If you’re scratching your head because you believe nominating Joe Biden would make a Trump second term all but certain, you’re not alone. You need to understand, however, there are people on both sides of the political aisle who have a vested interest in keeping Trump in office precisely because his continued presence at the forefront of politics is extremely profitable to them.
Even on the Democratic side, there is an entire commercial infrastructure built up around Trump. Love him or hate him, nobody can deny the fact that he makes for popcorn-worthy drama and causes masses of people to pony up political money in a way that most politicians simply don’t.
All of that money gets pumped into a political industrial complex full of consultants, pollsters, agencies, event production companies, ad buyers, media outlets, and all sorts of other highly profitable enterprises. It’s a real machine, not completely unlike the studio system that dominated the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s disciplined, vertically integrated, and well-funded. And at the helm of that machine pulling the levers are the hidden hands that not only shape American politics and public opinion, but which also pocket huge sums of money while they’re at it.
By prolonging Trump’s presidency, this machine gets to continue churning out and cashing in on the same thing for four more years. In that time, there will be another wave of House and Senate campaigns to be funded, promoted, run, and analyzed, not to mention thousands of down-ballot races. Between now and 2024, how many millions of dollars will pass through the interconnected web of committees and PACs backing insider establishment candidates whose key value proposition boils down to little more than resisting Donald Trump and his cohort of bootlicking baddies? Talk about residual income.
Crisis sells. Fear sells. Drama sells. In establishment politics, it’s not about winning the fight. It’s about selling as many tickets and t-shirts as possible. This is Vince McMahon’s world, we’re just living in it.
That’s one of many reasons the establishment wants Joe Biden in the general election. It’s simply more profitable to fight Trump and Co. than it is to beat them. The insiders know this. With Trump in the White House, the machine will keep putting pressure on regular people and lapping up the money like fracked gas until there’s a more profitable monster to fight.
That monster might be another caricatured despot. It could be a faceless threat like communism, terrorism, or fascism. Even the looming crisis of climate change will be fair game as our next super-villain. Right now, the establishment’s cash cow is Trump — or more precisely, the entire ecosystem of Trumpism. They’ll continue to milk his fame and infamy until it’s no longer economically viable.
The challenge before us is not to choose whether radical idealism or flaccid pragmatism is best suited to slay the great red-hatted dragon of Mar-a-Lago, but rather to put down the popcorn, flip on the lights, and see all the orchestrated smoke and rigging that the establishment uses to play off of our hopes and fears for what it really is. For those of us who are tired of things never really changing, it’s time to stop offering our patronage to the establishment and their deep bench of players. Don’t vouch for them, don’t vote for them, and, most importantly, don’t give them any money.
Instead, look for the candidates on the margins and really listen to what they are saying. Support folks who aren’t just railing against a timely scourge but who are challenging the very systems that allowed the scourge to flourish. If we want different outcomes and real change, we have to stop voting against what they tell us to be afraid of and start voting for the future we really want.