There’s an old joke about a restaurant patron leaving only the exact amount of his bill and subsequently being accosted by the waiter who demands a tip. “A tip? Alright, never draw to an inside straight. Good night.”
For those who have never played, that’s a poker term. And if you find your chips in the middle against an opponent’s over-pair, the odds of winning on the draw are only 1 in 5. Knowing that probability can certainly save a man much more than 18% of a chicken dinner.
I mention this because that’s how I’ve viewed the Trump candidacy from its outset: an inside straight draw. The only one we had.
To think that an outsider could launch a hostile assault on a major party’s nomination while taking a jackhammer to its resolutely ineffectual platitudes is far-fetched to say the least. To then assert that he will be within his flowing mane’s length of the presidency in the face of unified and ferocious opposition from essentially every entrenched institution (including his own party) is the stuff of very implausible political fiction.
Yet here we are. It’s truly historic.
Everyone likes to flatter themselves as granite in the maelstrom, though few actually are. Those entering arenas of conflict typically need substantial psychic bulwarks and bases of support. Constant withering denunciations from all sides turn most men’s spine to jelly. That’s why donors seek political marionettes. Rather than sustain fire themselves for how they demand the country be run, they pay political actors to perform for a check (and a senator’s sumptuous lifestyle).
In this case, the donor actually ran. And astoundingly ran counter to the designs of other donors. The response from their organs has been stunning. The entire media edifice coalesced openly behind his opponent. I think the Washington Post alone has generated more instances of anti-Trump flatulence in the past year than most papers produce weather forecasts. Though even non Bezos-owned publications have maintained an implacable posture of wild-eyed partisanship. These corrupt narrative choir-boys occupy the offices of what used to be called journalism.
Though the media is only particular because of its megaphone. It has had much company in the filth. Globo-corp, Hollywood, Academia, Diver$ity lobbies, and the entire Soros-fertilized NGO ecosystem have also aligned against Trump. The resulting forked-tongued cacophony of anguish has been something no mortal’s ears have suffered since Mark Zuckerberg accidentally dropped a penny in the storm drain.
Throughout it all Trump has campaigned on a shoestring via twitter trolling and stadium rallies, with relatively little spending on tee-vee ads, staffing, or political shamans. Not only his tactics have been unorthodox, but his comportment as well. Instead of prostrating himself as per custom to the professionally agrieved, he sometimes countered with a rhetorical middle finger and mockery. The talking heads swooned. But both they and their artificial city on the Potomac have earned a millennium of both. Replacement has rarely been so richly deserved.
Though what should only meets what is on occasion. His host of enemies don’t control the national levers by impotence. They have the power. All he has are the people who make western civilization possible and are conscious enough to recognize the fact. And that’s usually not enough.
Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes passes through well-guarded approaches. He will either have to win all of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (something no Republican has done in 28 years). Or lose Pennsylvania to the unanimous Philadelphia dead vote, and instead scamper through an unlikely thicket of New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado. Both draws offer poor odds.
Facing the hurricane headwinds of engineered demographics, unified institutional hostility, and his own party’s pornographic valuebating, to be where he now stands is nothing short of miraculous. Yet despite proximity, the play remains tonight what it was 500 nights ago: a political inside straight draw. His chances are below the water line. That’s not a prediction, but an assessment.
That may sound dire, but in those early heady days of the Jeb “shock and awe” Kash Kampaign, when prospects of a dismal Bush v. Clinton serpent sex show looked strong, how many would trade for tomorrow’s opportunity to turn over that last card on the draw? To denounce through a blustery orange billionaire that film of effete shits who have sold your inheritance for their enrichment.
I’ll relish the chance. And if that magic card actually materializes tomorrow night, I’ll resume my winning a poker tournament tradition: Smile behind my sunglasses and say (to the weeping libs) “at least you know the best man won.”