Trump Will Blow Up America Just Like He Blew Up the RNC

Estimated read time 5 min read

The mass deportations have begun! (Not yet at the border, but closer to D.C.)

After installing prominent karaoke singer Lara Trump as co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Donald Trump’s team lost no time pushing out around 60 party apparatchiks.

The reason for the removals, according to Politico, is that among Trump folks who have yet to be stabbed in the back themselves, the MAGA feelz have determined the RNC has become “bloated and bureaucratic.”

That very well may be true, but the story here isn’t about the inner workings of the RNC so much as it is about the act of creative destruction Trump and his minions promise to scale up—from the RNC to the entirety of the federal government—should he be elected to a second term.

I’m being a bit generous when I describe the Trump platform as “creative” destruction, because the fact of the matter is, he’s really only promised the destructive part. That includes the dismantling of federal agencies, blanket dismissals of vast swaths of the federal workforce who do not demonstrate sufficient loyalty, blowing up our alliances, alongside the usual monetary conflagrations incurred by somebody facing the legal debts from nearly 100 federal charges.

Any creativity in the 2024 Trump platform is the creativity of the bomb builder.

“This country is the only house we’ve got. We can’t burn it down.”

Trump’s appeal as a political figure has always rested on the same destructive tenet Ronald Reagan employed when he said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Since then, the notion has only grown that the American government itself is the enemy of a certain kind of rootin-tootin’, Christian-on-Sunday patriot who don’t want nothing from nobody except to be left alone with his woman, his horse, and his six-shooter for when the Commies land. Reagan scared them with a smile, Trump invigorated them with a scowl.

At the same time, I get it. The federal government can indeed feel like The Blob—a ravenous, mindless organism whose primary function is to devour the American paycheck. In a country as vast as our own, why should we trust D.C. bureaucrats to make good decisions for people in Iowa or Idaho or American Samoa? The “federal v. local” debate has been a source of tension from the jump, and it’s not unreasonable to feel these days as though the scale is weighted too far towards the federal side of things.

Which is why I understand the appeal when Trump scatters gunpowder across the nation’s capital and promises to toss a match on it, just as he did at the RNC. Is the MAGA movement’s riotous destruction, in essence, much different than the violence that took place in the wake of the George Floyd police killing? (And yes, before you flame me, I agree with you that the vast majority of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 were orderly and peaceful, but some communities did experience violence.) One group riots with raised fists, the other with executive orders—both believe destruction is the answer.

The problem with riots, of course, are the messes they leave behind. Somebody has to care enough to clean them up. Somebody has to be there to kickstart the “creative” in “creative destruction.” Somebody with vision has to roll up their sleeves and enlist others to stand up a better version of what we lost.

But what is that vision in Trump’s eyes? What vision has he ever articulated for a better nation other than the empty promise of making America “great” again?

What are the policies and executive actions that Trump employed during his first term that Americans can point to and say, “Thanks, Don”? Is it the uncompleted border wall? The trade war with China? The love letters with Kim Jong Un? The lying and obfuscation? The two impeachments? The fumbling of the largest public health crisis of the previous century and the economy that cratered as a result?

With Joe Biden, at least, I feel like I understand where he’s taking us. If you watched the State of the Union, you heard a laundry list of policies rather than grievances. You heard somebody who wants to infuse the nation with his own goofy sunniess instead of the self-pitying narcissism of his predecessor.

I don’t particularly love Biden, but I believe he reflects back at us a better version of ourselves than we had during the first Trump presidency, when paranoia and cruelty were the order of the day. The same kind of cruelty that would have the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States mocking the speech impediment of his opponent. The same kind of cruelty that occurs when you march into your new office with 60 pink slips and a cardboard box in which to pack your shit.

There’s no doubt this country is a mess. Too many people are being left behind. Too many of its sclerotic institutions are in serious need of revitalization. Repairing and replacing is the normal process of governing. And there’s no doubt it’s harder to rebuild a house when you’re living in it than when you raze the thing and start from scratch.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that option. This country is the only house we’ve got. We can’t burn it down.

We have to take the hard way, which requires some destruction, yes, but a helluva lot more creativity. It requires far more dedication and hard labor to do it this way because it’s work that requires all Americans coming together and finding creative solutions to the serious problems we face.

For the bomb maker, though, the solution is always the same.