Readers: some of the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Entries addressing events in the the future assume there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, ENTRY #387.  

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:

Beginning #378 the entries began focusing on a post-Trump administration and a post-Coronavirus world.  We’re headed to a post-Trump world and post-COVID seems possible, if a ways away.  The premise of a 5th US revolution in the 2020’s decade has not changed.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

ENTRY #398: The previous two entries discussed the seeming inability to connect two dots of 1/3 or more of the American voting population. Well, let’s make that the inability to understand one dot.

I vowed that entries would look past the election and Trump’s absurd claims of voter fraud. But what I cannot look past is the continued cognitive dissonance of Trump supporters.

Trump is the quintessential con man.  How many honest real estate developers do you know? The con man recently formed a PAC, with funds supposedly to be used for: (i) legal fees to fight fraud in the 2020 election; (ii) his re-election bid in 2024. To help fund the PAC, Trump sent a series of emails and letters to likely supporters. Since the election, roughly one month ago, how much has Trump raised for the PAC, mostly small donors? Not $10 million, not $50 million, not a $100 million but $200 million plus and counting.

What are the PAC guidelines for using the funds? A portion goes to the RNC, maybe 25%. The rest can be used by the Donald however he wants, including paying himself a salary, using funds for living expenses, legal fees, clothing, haircuts or whatever.  Folks, the con man is not going to run again.

Then, why did he start the PAC?  Dollars to donuts the PAC money is legally separated from Trump’s personal funds. If so, Trump created a separate source of money protected from future lawsuits against him.

In the next 12-18 months the Trump organization is faced with repayment of loans apparently totaling more than $400 million.  Many of the Trump properties were bleeding cash before the pandemic.  Likely worse now.  The problem for Trump is he personally guaranteed most, if not all the loans.  Thus, whatever personal assets he owns are at risk.

Will Trump pay?  Of course not.  He never pays his debts.  When the loans are due, he’ll claim the lenders are out to get him and his only way to get even with the deceitful creditors is to declare bankruptcy…yet again.  Although in bankruptcy he might lose rights to various properties, what does he care?  He’ll walk away without debt.  He also won’t be broke since he’ll have access to $150 million of PAC money. 

If he declares BK, won’t he lose Mar-a-Lago?  Probably not.  Under Florida law one’s “homestead property” is considered an asset exempt from the bankruptcy trustee.  Now you understand why he moved to Florida from New York, which has no protection provision.  So, with all the financial shenanigans, Trump still walks away with no debt, Mar-a-Lago and $150 million.  By any standard a very good con.

In the end, who got conned? Lenders, although most were foreign, especially Russian, and may have been repaid in other ways while Trump was president, and his supporters, many of whom have very limited funds.  (Take heart.  The State of New York seems to be readying a tax fraud case against Trump and family.  Assets exempt under BK law may not be exempt under a tax fraud case.)

Why can’t people understand the obvious? Forget the part about declaring bankruptcy, and just consider Trump asking for money.  He’s claiming the money would be used for his re-election bid. Such a claim should be enough by any standard to raise questions about his credibility.  Plus, there was ample media coverage, save possibly Fox, that most of the contribution to the PAC could be used any way Trump so desired, including personal expenses.

In the US, there have always been con men.  Recall part of Lincoln’s quote, “…you can fool some of the people all the time…”  With so many people are falling for the con, including supposedly educated people, how are we as a society to avoid such a huge con in the future?

In the last entry I suggested children could be taught to think critically by expanding educational focus from STEM to SMELT – Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Liberal-arts, and Technology. SMELT classes would start as early as possible, including kindergarten.

What do we do to educate adults during the years when children are in school and learning to think critically?  What about the adults who cannot understand one dot, let alone connect two or three dots? I confess, I don’t have any concrete suggestions.  Adults are not required to go back to school. As long as no laws are broken, adults are pretty much free to do whatever they want.

With these adults, logic does not seem to work. If you haven’t done so, try and reason with a Trump supporter. Evidence and facts do not matter. Even though the very same behavior would be excoriated if Trump were a Democrat, his followers fully support Trump’s actions as a Republican.

An alternative approach to education is to form another party with values similar to the pre-Trump Republican Party. Maybe values of a pre-Reagan Republican Party.  Reagan began the mantra that government is the problem, not the solution.  Imagine if Reagan had been president during WWII. 

The new Republican Party would appeal to disenfranchised Republicans, many independents and even some Democrats.  A concern is how long before the new party can became a formidable political force.  My initial guess was 4-5 presidential elections.  Then on second thought, I changed to maybe 1-2 presidential elections if the new party were formed around the Lincoln Project. 

A democracy needs at least two strong parties. Right now the US has a cult party, aka Trump Republicans, and a Democratic Party, which has a large umbrella covering a mix of ideas and some anti-Trump Republicans. A new “Lincoln Party” would be a draw for moderates, whether leaning left or right.

Is there a different way to break the Trump cult? The Biden/Harris administration’s commitment to work with both parties will be a start. My cynical side suggests Trump supporters are so brainwashed the Biden/Harris approach will fall on deaf ears.

People who belong to cults are not logical. Even acknowledging Biden as a legitimate president would require the Trump cult to admit a mistake. Since Trump never admits a mistake, why should the Trump cult members admit a mistake?

Okay, enough for this entry. A new “Lincoln Party” seems to be a reasonable solution to rebuilding a democracy that has two viable parties. If you have another idea, please let me know. I’m all ears.