Noilly Prattle: The Big Con

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Big Con

The View from the Dark Side


There is an odd note in the 2016 Presidential Campaign, something surrealistic about it. It almost seems as though Donald Trump is intentionally try to lose. He can’t be as dumb and clueless as he appears to be or is made out to be by his legions of detractors. Robert di Niro, in an extraordinary video, goes downright rabid in his invective laden denunciation of Trump. (Is he perhaps reliving some of his famous movie roles?) But there are a couple of interesting hints intriguingly laced among his words. He labeled Trump a con man and suggested that he was “gaming society”. Not a great stretch considering Trump’s casino background and other shady business "deals". Di Niro ends up bemoaning the impression “that this country has gotten to the point where this fool—this bozo—has wound up where he has.” The unstated implication being that a vote for Hillary Clinton will turn things around and put the country in the right (no pun intended) direction.


But, what if a wily con man like Trump is, in fact, gaming the system for his own ends—playing the “big con”—Henry Gondorff-style? To what purpose? There were a couple of apparently feeble attempts at “jokes” in the first presidential debate that seemingly fell flat. Hillary made the first stab at humor about “Trumped up trickle-down economics”. Perhaps the incongruity of a Hillary making a joke and the flat delivery of the punch line left it DOA. Moving forward, the Donald made an almost off the cuff remark, not an attempted joke, about how he was going to build some building (a casino?) on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, and was going to Washington one way or the other. The remark didn’t resonate much more than Hillary’s lame attempt at stand-up comedy.

            If nothing else, this surrealistic campaign has given Trump a lot of (free) publicity and name recognition way above and beyond what he already had. Being a “deal maker” and businessman as he claims, being a household name would give him enormous advantages for future business deals. What if his whole campaign is a brilliantly organized and executed scam to pave the way for post-election positioning (and financing) for lucrative business deals? We'll never know. The earmark of a successful con, according to Henry Gondorff in The Sting, is that conned persons stay conned. 

             Could it be that he fully intends to “go to Washington” as he hinted in the first debate? Not in the White House (who needs that headache) but in some golden Trump Tower on Pennsylvania Avenue? If so, I betcha he’d be invited over to Hill and Bill’s pad for cocktails! I thought that Bill had a gleam in his eye for Melania at the second presidential debate. And he wouldn't even have to rent the Lincoln Bedroom . . . 

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