Sunday, July 24, 2016

Before The Horror Show In Cleveland, There Was A Horror Show In Dallas (Minus The Gunfire)

Erica Grieder has a great given name; this blogger cherishes someone else by that name. However, Grieder's politics have a Dumbophile, rightward lean. Nonetheless, Grieder writes with vigor and is willing to call Il Douche a cancer on the body politic. In today's post, written before the DumboCon 2016 in Cleveland, Grieder exposes the agony of the LoneStarDumboCon in Dallas in choosing Il Douche over the Dumbo favorite in the 28th state: C. (for Crackpot) Cruz. If this is (fair & balanced) political bankruptcy, so be it.

[x TM]
The great Divide
By Erica Grieder

TagCrowd cloud of the following piece of writing

created at

In retrospect, Texas Republicans might have chosen a more sensitive slogan for their 2016 state convention than “Unite to Win!” It was not a message the conservative leaders and party activists who assembled at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, in Dallas, on May 12 were quite ready to hear or, in some cases, able to stomach. Of course, until recently, no one would have anticipated a need to even say such a thing. Texas remains a reliably Republican state, and with Democrats expected to nominate Hillary Clinton, one of the most polarizing candidates ever to run for president, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Texas Republicans would unite behind their party’s nominee, especially if that nominee were Ted Cruz, the state’s young senator. Then came one Donald J. Trump. No one foresaw that a man who, on the first day of his campaign, had labeled Mexican immigrants “rapists,” later denigrated John McCain’s captivity in Vietnam, and eventually implied that Cruz’s father might have had a role in the JFK assassination would win the nomination. Yet there was Trump, the last man standing from a seventeen-candidate Republican primary, a fact that left many conservatives at the state convention angry, bewildered, or devastated. There was precious little uniting. In fact, the three-day gathering made clear just how deeply Trump’s nomination has dispirited and divided Texas Republicans.

The mood was unusually gloomy for a Texas Republican convention. Many of those in attendance were dedicated Cruz supporters who—until a crushing loss in Indiana a week earlier had prompted Cruz’s withdrawal—had been prepared to keep fighting. The Cruz campaign had constructed an elaborate organization to send its loyalists to state conventions and then on to a contested national convention, where they might have helped the senator capture the nomination. It hadn’t worked out that way, of course, and their nerves were still raw. More generally, most attendees were fretting about what Trump’s nomination would mean for the future of the Republican party, and for the various conservative principles it has purported to represent. The Texans at the convention, after all, were the party’s most dedicated activists, and many were serious about their commitment to conservative ideology. Trump—as he had made abundantly clear over the course of the primary on a number of issues—was not.

The state’s leadership had at the outset of the race shown no love for Trump either: Governor Greg Abbott had backed his protégé, Cruz; Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, famously dismissed Trump as “a cancer on conservatism”; and in the run up to the Texas primary, Trump had, tellingly, received no endorsements—none—from Republicans in statewide office or in the Legislature. But just days after Trump had effectively clinched the nomination, Texas’s leadership crumbled. Trump secured support not only from the Republican Party of Texas itself but also from a number of the state’s longtime leaders, including Perry and Abbott. Perry even professed that he would gladly be Trump’s running mate, if asked. All that mattered apparently was winning an election—not whether Trump was actually conservative or even equipped to be president.

The leadership’s sudden support for Trump wasn’t playing well with many in the convention hall. “Unite to Win!”—the forced cheeriness was fooling no one. The exclamation point seemed almost a desperate plea from the party. And some Trump supporters were loving it, occasionally betraying a malicious glee at the sight of the state’s leadership reluctantly bowing down to the “cancer on conservatism.”

Despite the party’s exhortations toward unity, and despite the endorsements Trump had extracted, party activists attending the convention remained bitterly divided. Many were lifelong Republicans who had worked to elect the party’s nominee in past campaigns—donating money, phone-banking on his behalf, and even volunteering in far-off swing states. But Trump presented a difficult choice: Should they support him and work for his election simply because he would be the GOP nominee, even though he doesn’t subscribe to some pillars of conservatism? Or should they stay true to their beliefs and sit out the election? Which was more important, principle or party?

“It’s a real quandary,” said one elected official.

Sensing the divide, nearly all the Republican leaders who spoke at the convention were disinclined to dwell on the subject; those who called on their supporters to back the nominee did so briefly and with stone faces. Others omitted any mention of the forthcoming presidential election. In private conversations, however, no one could talk of anything other than Trump and the implications of his nomination, a catastrophe that national Republican party leaders had failed to avert and that state leaders were now failing to repudiate.

Some convention attendees were simply resigned to Trump. “Republicanism is like a religion here,” said a businessman from Wichita Falls. “And even if you’ve got a shitty pastor, the congregation will go along with him.”

“We’ve got to achieve the reality we want with the cards we were dealt,” said one legislator, adding hopefully, “What if his ego is so big that he can’t stand to be called a liar and delivers?”

Others brimmed with anger and sorrow. “Stop trying to shove Trump down our throats!” said a grassroots activist from Houston. She had, she explained, been volunteering for the cause for twenty years. “I love the Republican party. That’s why I’m sad.”

But there was one man who could perhaps offer conservatives some direction on how to deal with Trump’s nomination: Cruz. He was scheduled to address the convention on the final day, his first public appearance since ending his campaign, and speculation abounded about what he might say. No one expected an endorsement, but party officials were hoping he would signal at least some support for Trump. Most conservatives, however, were hoping he would not capitulate.

At least one elected official was in high spirits at the convention: Dan Patrick [born Dannie Scott Goeb in Baltimore, MD]. The first-term lieutenant governor seemed to be navigating the party’s deepening divide over Trump comfortably enough. He had been a vocal Cruz supporter, even standing next to Cruz during the senator’s victory speech the night of the Texas primary. But following Cruz’s withdrawal, Patrick had rushed to enthusiastically endorse Trump.

On the second morning of the convention, Patrick took time to highlight his latest cause: the federal government’s recent efforts to protect the rights of transgender Americans. Or from a different perspective, its crusade to allow boys in the girls’ restroom. That morning, the Obama administration had issued a directive to public schools that students be allowed to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity rather than their biological sex. “I didn’t choose this fight,” Patrick sighed, without apparent irony, in the press conference that he had quickly convened, which aired live on Fox News.

The issue had been on his mind all week, though. On Monday, Patrick had called for the resignation of Fort Worth’s superintendent, Kent Paredes Scribner, after Scribner announced a similar policy change. In Scribner’s telling, the change was intended to protect transgender boys and girls in the district’s schools. Patrick, however, accused Scribner of putting his “personal political agenda” ahead of his responsibilities to Fort Worth students, proving that he had “lost his focus and thereby his ability to lead.”

Whether the lieutenant governor was correct in concluding that Scribner was unfit for his job was, of course, beside the point; Texas superintendents work for their respective school districts, not the state. But that consideration had failed to register with Patrick, who tends to cast his arguments in emotionally charged terms and had certainly made it clear that he felt strongly about the issue. “Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”

In his speech to delegates at the convention, Patrick continued to stoke outrage about which restroom boys should use. “We shouldn’t even be having to have this debate in America,” he said with an air of exasperation, as if he were not leading the charge to guarantee that we would.

Patrick was one of the only convention speakers who seemed eager to discuss the general election. In his speech, he called for unity more explicitly than most. In addition to actually mentioning Trump by name, he offered a reason that Texas Republicans might look forward to Trump’s election: as president, he might nominate Cruz to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. “Can you imagine?” Patrick asked, as the room filled with applause.

It was, objectively, not much of a case for Trump, but it was a more robust argument than any other speaker would muster that day. Abbott, for example, had invoked the need to defeat Clinton when calling on Republicans to support their nominee, whom he left unnamed. Glenn Hegar, the comptroller, focused his remarks on Texas’s economy, making no reference to the forthcoming election.

For those who have followed Patrick’s rise through Texas politics, his enthusiasm for Trump makes some sense. Trump and the lieutenant governor—whose professional background is in talk radio—may not agree on everything, but they take a similarly emotive approach to political debates.

That, in turn, explains why Patrick would be so much more comfortable shifting his support to Trump’s cause than the lawyerly Abbott or the analytical Hegar. The lieutenant governor is the most impassioned of Texas’s Republican leaders and, not coincidentally, the least consistent in his conservatism. Not entirely unlike Trump.

There will, in the years to come, be more than enough time to debate the underlying conditions and larger social and political trends that have enabled Trump’s rise and why so few pundits saw it coming. But at the outset of the campaign, many people underestimated Trump’s prospects, not only because he was a novice candidate but because it seemed unfathomable to them that such a man could win over a Republican party that had historically been committed to conservatism. How could a twice-divorced, braggadocious businessman known to consort with Democrats succeed among voters who four years ago felt Mitt Romney had been too moderate? If nothing else, Trump seemed like a poor fit for the party he was trying to take over.

In retrospect, though, it should be clear that Trump’s appeal to primary voters has had little to do with ideology or principles. In addition to showing no fealty to conservative ideals, he has publicly expressed support for positions antithetical to most mainstream Republicans on issues such as abortion, gun control, property rights, entitlements, taxes, and trade. There was nothing in his record to suggest that he had ever been committed to the party, or to conservative political philosophy, and he made only cursory efforts in the course of the campaign to convince skeptics that he had experienced some sort of late-life conversion to their cause. Only the most profoundly gullible Republicans could have believed Trump’s claims to have secretly harbored such convictions all along, given his ardent apostasy on some issues, his casual flip-flopping on others, and the fact that even when he attempted to answer a question as a conservative would, he at times revealed that he had no idea what the party line actually was.

Trump has sometimes chalked up his conservative apostasies to misunderstandings, or claimed that he had been maliciously misquoted. Both excuses beggar belief. A year after Trump announced his campaign, it’s abundantly evident that his positions are subject to change, based on considerations that remain known only to him. In March, for example, a Washington Post headline summarized part of Trump’s immigration plan as “Donald Trump Flip-Flops, Then Flips and Flops More on H-1B Visas.” He has himself declared preemptively that any proposal he offers while campaigning should be understood to be “negotiable.”

His level of inconsistency is genuinely unusual. Trump is seventy years old, and you would expect that he would know his own mind. And many observers may have misread his oscillations as a businessman’s pragmatism. But there’s a much more plausible explanation for his relentless flip-flopping and offhand deviation from party orthodoxy: he doesn’t care about policy or ideology. He acts and reacts on instinct. He appeals not to reason or intellect or ideology but to voters’ emotions. And in fact he has a history of doing so. Perhaps the best summation of his approach came not from any political strategist but from a sales playbook used in one of his business ventures, Trump University: “You don’t sell products, benefits, or solutions—you sell feelings.”

Of course, Republican politicians and right-leaning media have been making emotional appeals for years, building campaigns around dog whistles about immigrants, people of color, and women. Since 2008—the year of the financial crisis and the year that Barack Obama was elected president—America’s political right has been unusually animated, and there has been an ongoing debate about the emotions and instincts that ignited the right and the underlying ideology and principles they serve. The persistent accusation that Obama was not born in the United States, to take one claim made famous by Trump, is a lie that reputable Republicans have declined to peddle because it’s effectively a coded appeal to nativists and bigots, implying that Obama doesn’t represent what Sarah Palin once described as “the real America” and that his presidency itself is actually illegitimate. By contrast, Republican rhetoric about Obama’s “imperial presidency” is also an emotionally charged claim, but it’s based on a substantive constitutional concern for the separation of powers.

There is, it should be noted, nothing inherently wrong with appeals to how people feel. In fact, the most successful politicians are generally those whom voters can relate to, who communicate in ways that resonate with them and elicit an emotional response. “That’s the reality of politics,” said one Republican Party of Texas official at the convention.

Cruz himself had tried to engage voters emotionally during his campaign, rallying to the side of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to obey the US Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, or asserting that police should patrol Muslim neighborhoods more closely. But Cruz’s rhetoric was backed by his professional expertise in constitutional law and a long-standing commitment to conservatism as a political philosophy. Even while appealing to people’s emotions, he had an underlying policy agenda.

Trump is doing something fundamentally different. He has no agenda. He says whatever pops into his head. He’s effectively distilled the power of emotional politics into its purest form. He’s riling people up—not to enact any specific set of proposals but to simply promote himself. What might happen next, what Trump would actually do as president, is anyone’s guess. Two of his central proposals—deporting millions of undocumented immigrants and banning Muslims from entering the country—are practically infeasible, and are certainly not “conservative.” They do, however, effectively tap into people’s anger and resentment.

His narrative theme, “Make America Great Again,” has struck a nerve with millions of voters—and as one conservative observed bleakly, no one could really object to the notion. “It’s like criticizing a sunset.” Its appeal is due to its opacity; the slogan can be applied to nearly any issue that voters see as preventing America from “winning.” Trump, for his part, has never quite specified who or what the problem with America is. And over the course of the primary, the number of possible culprits grew and grew. So did the theories about what deep vein of feeling he had tapped into among his supporters, most of them drawn from the dwindling number of groups he had yet to malign—economic anxiety, racial anxiety, or male anxiety, perhaps; or maybe anger, resentment, alienation, disaffection, or sheer malice; or some combination of the above.

But whatever the cause, the effect of Trump’s campaign has been profound. He has broken the GOP’s traditional connection between emotional appeals—the tools it uses to sell itself—and its underlying ideology. He’s cleaved the party off its foundation.

In other words, he has divided the Republican party along a different fault line from the one we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Since the rise of the tea party, the GOP could be roughly broken down along ideological lines: tea party versus the establishment—or conservatives versus moderates. Trump divides Republicans not along ideological lines but between those who adhere to any ideology and those who don’t.

The divide is illustrated in how two prominent right-leaning media organizations have reacted to Trump. On one side is Breitbart, a news site notorious for casting its reporting, which is occasionally serious, in the most lurid possible light. It tends to choose provocative stories that feed into the larger narratives it’s pushing. Consequently, Breitbart has been one of the most pro-Trump outlets. On the other side, National Review, a conservative magazine with more-cerebral underpinnings and a roster of serious conservative thinkers, published a special issue whose purpose was made plain in its cover headline, “Against Trump.” The issue included pieces from 22 contributors summoned from all corners of the conservative coalition, many of whom would normally be at odds over policy differences but in this case were united in opposition to a candidate whose only known commitment is to his own self-interest.

The Texas Republicans calling for unity at the state convention, then, were failing to appreciate how Pyrrhic a victory in November might be: their party and their country would be headed by a man who, in addition to his other failings, would redefine conservatism mainly in reference to himself.

Some delegates at the convention even felt that Trump’s nomination had already irretrievably undermined the causes they had been working for years to advance. Has Trump spelled the end of the conservative movement? “I did care,” reflected one conservative, explaining why he had spent his entire career working for Republican candidates and causes. “It doesn’t mean I can’t admit to myself it’s all been a futile joke.”

By the time Ted Cruz appeared in the convention hall, the conservatives in attendance were quite eager to hear him speak. Here was a man who, after a blowout win in Wisconsin just five weeks earlier, had seemed poised to overtake Trump and win the nomination. Instead he was back in the US Senate, a defeated candidate.

During an interview before his speech, at the Omni Hotel adjoining the convention center, Cruz was in a visibly somber mood. In addition to dealing with his own loss, he was among those coming to grips with whom the GOP’s nominee would be. Party officials who were counting on Cruz to call for unity would be out of luck. He had not decided, he said, whom to vote for in November, adding that he was in no rush to do so. “I fear that our nation may be facing four very challenging years,” he said.

At one point early in the campaign, he had been more receptive to Trump than most of his peers in the Republican party, declaring the New York businessman “bold,” “brash,” and on one occasion, “terrific.” Even at the time, this had been a transparently strategic gambit for Cruz to win over Trump supporters, and in Dallas it appeared to be one that Cruz had come to regret.

He elaborated a bit on what he had seen in Trump at first. “To the millions of Trump supporters: I understand their frustration and rage. I understand their fury at being betrayed, over and over and over again, at being lied to by politicians in both parties, and we saw a candidate who seemed to be a vessel for that rage.”

There was, however, nothing more substantive to Trump than that, in Cruz’s assessment. “The fact that people are furious about Washington should not be interpreted as the American people suddenly embracing big-government European socialism. It is, rather, a desperate cry to change the corruption in Washington.

“In much of the media speculation,” he concluded, “these issues are viewed through the prism of personality. I think substance matters far more. And you learn a great deal about what a candidate believes and about their character during the course of a campaign. And so at this point I will continue to watch and listen carefully to what the candidates say and how they conduct themselves.”

It was observed that he might find himself, like many of the other conservatives who had convened in Dallas, without any good options in November.

He paused, and very faintly smiled. “We have six months to watch the campaign.”

When he took the stage an hour or so later, Cruz had shaken off his subdued aspect. His speech was a barn burner, focused on a list of causes that conservatives should care about and fight for. Where that will lead him remains unclear, but it was evident from the briefly animated convention hall that some of his supporters were prepared to follow him into this uncharted terrain. “I couldn’t be prouder of him if he were my own son,” said one activist afterward, as the final standing ovation subsided.

“Unite to Win!” Cruz had apparently embraced the idea—but his concept of the battle at hand was not the one that Republican Party of Texas officials had in mind.

“This last [primary] was not about policy. I wish that it were,” he had said earlier in the day. “I tried very much to make it about policy. But that was unsuccessful.

“There are many media observers who are trying to use this primary to write the epitaph on the conservative movement, to declare that the conservative movement is now dead. I think that is a mistaken interpretation of what happened.”

In Cruz’s view, then, Trump’s nomination is an aberration, and his implication was straightforward: conservatives must prioritize their principles and stick together to ride out the storm. Perhaps he’s right that by doing so, the conservative movement can survive Trump’s campaign. But that will depend in part on what Cruz’s fellow Republican leaders do. If the Republican party is setting aside substance and supporting a candidate who is so solely focused on emotion, the consequences may linger for years, even if Trump loses in November. Other candidates in the future may mimic his rootless appeals to anger and resentment; those who try to focus on conservative ideals may find that voters remember how few Republicans cared about principles when Trump forced them to choose.

This could have special resonance in Texas, where Republicans have a monopoly on power. Will Republican leaders and the grassroots activists choose to harp on shallow topics like restroom access and conspiracy theories about military exercises and the supposed threat from refugees? Or will they work to find conservative policy solutions to the biggest challenges facing Texas: water, transportation, taxes, health care, and education?

At first glance, the conservatives who attended the state convention were deciding whether to support Trump, if only as an alternative to Clinton. But since Trump is ultimately incompatible with the principles that they and their party have purported to represent, it’s safe to say that the GOP as we know it has already lost the 2016 presidential election. Texas Republicans have to decide—both before the election and in the years to come—whether they want to abandon their purpose too. Ω

[Erica Grieder has been a Senior Editor at Texas Monthly since November 2012; prior to that, she was the Southwest correspondent for The Economist. Grieder received both a BA (philosophy) from Columbia University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPAff) from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas (2013).]

Copyright © 2016 Emmis Publishing /dba/ Texas Monthly

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another First For This Blog — A Graphic DoubleHeader!

Poor Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) fell behind in distributing his final pair of 'toons by a day. However, those who wait are still well-served. The snark bristles in every panel. Tom Tomorrow does not like Dumbos and this blogger welcomes his partisan venom. France may have Charlie Hebdo, but this blog has "This Modern World." If this is (fair & balanced) self-congratulation, so be it.

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[1] Graphic Coverage Of DumboCon Day III — (Tom Tomorrow)
[2] Graphic Coverage Of DumboCon Day IV — (Tom Tomorrow)

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[x This Modern World]
DumboCon — Day THree
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]

Copyright © 2016 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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[x This Modern World]
DumboCon — Day Four
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Copyright © 2016 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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Copyright © 2016 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Friday, July 22, 2016

Italy Once Had Il Duce — Now, The USA Has Il Douche!!!

While waiting around for the final curtain to drop on DumboCon 2016 so that an abbreviated version of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" could raise the curtain on commentary inspired by the final act of DumboCon 2016, this blogger clicked onto onr of the lamestream networks offering gavel-to-gavel coverage. Donald T. (for "The") Chump was over the scheduled one-hour time-slot to set a new record for candidate acceptance orations. One of the main time-wasting causes was Chump's frequent mugging for the camera. One commentator likened it to the speaking style of Benito Mussolini — Il Duce (Italian for "The Leader"). As performed by Chump, this blogger immediately thought that he had just seen Il Douche. If this is the (fair & balanced) description of the personification of a vaginal cleansing product, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
Make America Hate Again
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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They didn’t riot in the streets of Cleveland, as Donald Trump said his supporters would do had things not gone his way. But you saw the raw essence of a riot, the madness and loss of reason, on display in four days of chaos at the Republican National Convention.

For a campaign now devoted to “law and order,” the launch was mob rule: in spirit, in tone, in words. Long after we’ve forgotten Trump’s closing speech — that paean to self, that nightmare portrait of an America where the lights have gone out — we will remember the savagery just below the surface.

Starting on night one, when Republicans chose to manipulate the grief-deranged mother of a terrorist victim, the build-up to the hanging of Hillary Clinton was never subtle. Imagine if one party had exploited a widow of one of the 241 service members killed in the 1983 suicide bombing of Americans in Beirut — the deadliest single attack on marines since World War II — as a stick against Ronald Reagan, whose administrative negligence was much to blame.

You can’t imagine. Because nothing about this Republican Party, whose leader now stands ready to repudiate nearly 70 years of security for our European allies under an “America First” banner, even remotely resembles the Grand Old Party of before. You could not find a City on a Hill, a single Point of Light, no Morning in America. Only doom, dystopia, dread, darkness — and a bumper-sticker solution to restoring greatness.

The man who couldn’t manage his own convention, the creator of a “university” built on fraud, bet his shot at the top job in the world on a panicked public and collective amnesia of his serial misdeeds. “I will restore law and order to our country, believe me, believe me,” he said.

And the instigator of four corporate bankruptcies, the man who stiffed plumbers and carpenters, the failed casino owner, promised to use his dark arts to “make our country rich again.”

One of the main speeches, that of Melania Trump, was stolen in part from the wife of a president that Donald Trump has long tried to delegitimize. That and the speech of Ivanka Trump, which would have fit perfectly at a Democratic convention, were the only hints of hope.

Early on, at least one speaker mentioned the importance of the rule of law. But that was drowned out by what became the mantra of this convention: “Lock her up!” Chris Christie, a former prosecutor, tried to lead the crowd into chants of “guilty” at his summoning of bad events that he blamed on Hillary Clinton. But the mob already had the noose around her neck, and they kept it up until the balloons dropped.

There’s usually a pastor around whenever vigilantes gather for an execution. For moral justification this week, the pious Dr. Ben Carson linked Clinton to Lucifer — the devil himself. So, little wonder that it produced barely a shrug when another delegate, and Trump’s adviser on veterans, Al Baldasaro, said Clinton should be “shot for treason.” The Salem witch trials had more respect for due process.

Inside the convention, the hatred was also directed at one who dared members to vote their conscience, Ted Cruz. True, he may be the most disliked politician in the United States. But somehow, it was expected that Cruz would bow to a man who had defamed his father and insulted his wife. Heidi Cruz had to be escorted out of her party’s convention by a friend who feared for her safety.

On Thursday, an openly gay entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, was cheered. But outside the convention, boos and obscenities greeted the lead singer for Third Eye Blind, who had earlier urged delegates in the audience at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be more accepting of gays and “not live your life in fear.”

Individually, many of these Trump delegates are nice people. In personal chats, you might get them to understand why Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal (1987), broke a long silence to say that he is terrified of Trump because he’s a “sociopath.” Listening to the acceptance speech, he tweeted, “This is the Donald Trump I came to know, not a word about hope, not a word about possibility, all doom, all the time.”

But in a group, the emotions of the Trumpites pool to hatred and mob single-mindedness — all Mexicans are rapists, all Muslims are terrorists, all crime is rising, Hillary Clinton is the devil and should be shot.

On one level, this convention was Fox News on steroids — the half-truths, the grievances, the demonizing, and certainly the elderly audience, as overnight ratings for the first nights showed. But what a strange irony it was that the mastermind of all that broadcast polarization — and, arguably, of the party that gave us Trump — was forced out on the night that should have been Roger Ailes’s apogee.

Ailes will be an asterisk. When the convention closed, fear had won the hall. And we should fear — for the republic, for a democracy facing its gravest peril since the Civil War. Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

Copyright © 2016 The New York Times Company

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today, Another Double Helpin' O'Dumbo Nonsense

The Cleveland Zoo has moved to "The Q" Arena in downtown Cleveland and its world-class primate collection has taken possession of the arena. He Who Must Not Be Named has managed to transform DumboCon 2016 into a version of a World Wrestling Entertainment WWE) event. The only missing element for DumboCon 2016 was a missing "Mean Gene" Okerlund. The talking heads of lamestream media are a poor substitute for "Mean Gene." If this is a (fair & balanced) equivalent of wrestling-cum-kabuki, so be it.

Vannevar Bush HyperlinkBracketed zooDirectory]
[1] Graphic Coverage Of DumboCon Day II — (Tom Tomorrow)
[2] Tale Of Two No-Trump Groups — (Arielle Martinez)

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[x This Modern World]
DumboCon — Day Two
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]

Copyright © 2016 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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[x CHE]
Historians Bid "No Trump" In The 2016 Game Of Bridge To Nowhere
By Arielle Martinez

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When the filmmaker Ken Burns and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough asked David Levering Lewis to make a video criticizing Donald J. Trump, Mr. Levering Lewis thought it was "a jolly good idea."

With a friend recording the video on his iPhone, Mr. Levering Lewis remarked that Mr. Trump’s staying power derives from "free association of reckless solutions to immigration, domestic terror, and whatever else comes to mind, along with verifiably absurd reiterations of disparaging untruth."

The four-minute video was posted on the Facebook page that Mr. Burns and Mr. McCullough created, Historians on Donald Trump. The video, which sits alongside similar clips by more than two dozen American historians, had gained more than 6,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.

"I remember thinking that it’s certainly appropriate that if a Supreme Court justice can deviate from the usual proprieties of her role, certainly historians can join Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg in opining about this extraordinary political season," Mr. Levering Lewis, a professor of history at New York University, said in an interview. Justice Ginsburg, who later apologized, said in a New York Times interview this month that she "can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president."

Mr. Levering Lewis’s video is among a number of efforts by historians to take on the Republican presidential nominee. Several scholars who have participated in those efforts, under campaigns known as Historians on Donald Trump and Historians Against Trump, say they are not seeking to sway voters or to speak out on what they see as the right side of history. Instead, they see it as their duty to point out historical precedents for a Trump presidency and to help the public make educated choices.

"I’m not sure whether historians mobilizing to put evidence out there is really helpful," said Claire Potter, a professor of history at the New School who signed the open letter that Historians Against Trump used last week to announce its formation and outline its mission. "But I think if we didn’t," she added, "it would be remiss of us."

Ms. Potter, who wrote the blog Tenured Radical, said that one particular excerpt from the letter moved her to sign: "Our profession reminds us to look for the humanity in everyone as we examine the ideas, interests, and movements that shape world events."

More than 940 people had signed the letter on the Historians Against Trump website and on a separate iPetitions page by Wednesday afternoon.

In his video, Mr. Levering Lewis contrasted Mr. Trump with Wendell Willkie, a businessman who had never held political office but ran and lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. Although Mr. Trump and Mr. Willkie may appear similar on the surface, Mr. Levering Lewis said, Mr. Willkie had greater integrity and appealed more to bipartisanship.

Vicki Lynn Ruiz, a professor of history at the University of California at Irvine, took part in both campaigns: She signed the Historians Against Trump letter and made a video for Historians on Donald Trump in which she compared Mr. Trump’s views on Mexican immigrants to the sentiments behind the deportation and repatriation of Mexicans during the 1930s.

"The reason why the rhetoric alarms me is that in our history there are the marks of prejudice and exclusion," she said in an interview. "It’s playing to what I think are inflammatory politics: Jim Crow, Asian exclusion, Mexican deportation, Japanese-American internment. I think this kindling of fear is really propelling us backward and not forward as a nation."

Mr. Levering Lewis is not sure that the endeavors of Historians on Donald Trump will make much difference in the election, but he’s optimistic.

"That is to say, if I thought it was pointless, I wouldn’t have signed on," he said.

Some scholars, however, object to some of their peers’ efforts to call out Mr. Trump.

Stanley Fish, a professor of law at Florida International University, slammed the Historians Against Trump letter in an op-ed in The New York Times titled "Professors, Stop Opining About Trump."

"Academic expertise is not a qualification for delivering political wisdom," he wrote.

Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of the history of education at NYU, wrote a commentary for The Chronicle criticizing the movement as well.
He took aim at the Historians Against Trump group’s assertion that Mr. Trump’s candidacy is an attack on the historians’ profession. He argued that the claim "is itself a repudiation of our professional values, which enjoin us to understand diverse communities instead of dismissing them as warped or deluded."

David Schlitt, a historian in Pittsburgh who is on the organizing committee of Historians Against Trump, defended his group in an interview.

"There are historical lessons to be applied and learned," he said. "This idea that we’re trying to end a conversation and persuade voters is quite different from what we’re all doing, which is to start a conversation and ask people to do their own research and their own explorations into the subject."

Ms. Potter said that two past presidents of the United States, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, were also past presidents of the American Historical Association and that "both felt very deeply that historians have a role to play in politics."

She called Mr. Trump a threat to her profession, which she wanted to leave a mark on "as I knew it and understood it."

Mr. Levering Lewis said that efforts like Historians on Donald Trump can foster well-informed debate and he hopes that citizens will recognize people who misrepresent issues in politics.

He compared Mr. Trump to another man who made an improbable rise to power over a country, this time in Germany in 1932. That man, too, was called an extremist, but he was not taken seriously enough before it was too late, and German democracy was destroyed.

"And the rest," Mr. Levering Lewis said, "is history." Ω

[Arielle Martinez is an intern at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She will receive a BA (journalism) from Stony Brook University-SUNY.]

Copyright ©' 2016 The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DumboCon 2016 Is Not Just A Convention, It's A Flea Market Of Stolen Words

Well, Day One of the Cleveland DumboCon seemed to go according to plan, didn't it? In the midst of the brouhaha over MelaniaGate, this blogger saw a snippet that claims that Trump Jr. uttered lines (without attribution to the American Spectator's F. H. Buckley, although Buckley issued a pass to Jr.'s usage) in his oration at DumboCon Day 2. If this is a (fair & balanced) portrayal of intellectual dishonesty, so be it.

Vannevar Bush HyperlinkBracketed NumbersDirectory]
[1] Graphic Coverage Of DumboCon Day I — (Tom Tomorrow)
[2] Backstory Of Mrs. Trump's Speech — (Maggie Haberman and Michael Barbaro)

[1]Back To Directory
[x This Modern World]
DumboCon — Day One
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]

Copyright © 2016 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

[2]Back To Directory
[x NY Fishwrap]
How Melania Trump’s Speech Veered Off Course And Caused An Uproar
By Maggie Haberman and Michael Barbaro

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It was the biggest speech of Melania Trump’s life, and her husband, Donald, wanted it to be perfect.

The Trump campaign turned to two high-powered speechwriters, who had helped write signature political oratory like George W. Bush’s speech to the nation on Sept. 11, 2001, to introduce Ms. Trump, a Slovenian-born former model, to the nation on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

It did not go as planned, and it has eclipsed much of the action at the party gathering in Cleveland, where delegates on Tuesday night formally nominated Mr. Trump for president.

The speechwriters, Matthew Scully and John McConnell, sent Ms. Trump a draft last month, eager for her approval.

Weeks went by. They heard nothing.

Inside Trump Tower, it turned out, Ms. Trump had decided she was uncomfortable with the text, and began tearing it apart, leaving a small fraction of the original.

Her quiet plan to wrest the speech away and make it her own set in motion the most embarrassing moment of the convention: word-for-word repetition of phrases and borrowed themes from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention eight years ago.

The ridicule from both Democrats and Republicans was instant and relentless, disrupting what was meant to be a high point of the convention.

It was, by all accounts, an entirely preventable blunder, committed in front of an audience of 23 million television viewers, that exposed the weaknesses of an organization that has long spurned the safeguards of a modern presidential campaign, such as the free software that detects plagiarism.

“It just shouldn’t have happened,” said Matt Latimer, a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush. “This was an easy home run speech: a successful, attractive immigrant talking about her husband.”

Nobody seemed more startled than Mr. and Ms. Trump, who arrived in New York on Tuesday morning after a flight from Cleveland to find themselves at the center of a bizarre uproar over authenticity, plagiarism and a knotty question: Why did the wife of the Republican nominee borrow passages from the wife of the current Democratic president?

Ms. Trump spent most of Tuesday out of sight, while her husband vented his frustration and anger throughout the day.

This account of how a speech written by professionals was transformed into the problematic version delivered on Monday night at the Quicken Loans Arena is based on interviews with more than a dozen people involved in and close to the Trump campaign. Many of them spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose details that were supposed to remain confidential.

It reinforces dominant themes of Mr. Trump’s campaign that still linger from the primary, which his team has struggled to change: a deliberately bare-bones campaign structure, a slapdash style and a reliance on the instincts of the candidate over the judgments of experienced political experts, like Mr. Scully and Mr. McConnell.

The two original speechwriters were not aware of how significantly the speech had been changed until they saw Ms. Trump deliver it on television Monday night, along with the rest of the country.

In the prime-time address, Ms. Trump unfurled a sequence of life lessons — about how “your word is your bond,” about “your dreams and your willingness to work for them,” and the “integrity, passion and intelligence” of her parents — in the same sequence and using much of the same language that Mrs. Obama employed in 2008.

Just like Mrs. Obama, Ms. Trump explained how she wanted to pass those lessons on to her children and the children of the world. And just like Mrs. Obama, she offered a gauzy invocation about the limitlessness of aspirations when they are matched by determination.

In a series of evolving explanations, Trump aides and allies dismissed the episode as a trivial distraction, alternating between outright denial that Ms. Trump’s speech had used word-for-word phrases from Mrs. Obama and blaming the news media.

“Ninety-three percent of the speech is completely different,” declared Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, pegged the number of suspicious words at 50. “And that includes ‘ands’ and ‘thes’ and things like that,” he said on Tuesday.

Across the country, slack-jawed Republican political operatives and speechwriters expressed expletive-laden bewilderment at the organizational breakdown allowing such an episode to occur.

“It’s like some guy trying to paddle across a river in a rowboat who shoots a hole in his boat,” said Stuart Stevens, who wrote speeches for Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, throughout the 2012 campaign.

In interviews, alarmed Republican speechwriters outlined the layers of formal scrutiny, apparently disregarded by the Trump campaign, traditionally applied to almost every draft of a major convention address. They described word-by-word fact-checking by a dedicated team of experts and computer software designed to catch plagiarism. Several online programs, like DupliChecker, are available at no cost.

“It’s pretty standard,” Mr. Stevens said of the software, which detects overlap in word choice and sentence structure. “We used it.”

An urgent priority: avoiding the slightest hint of oratorical theft.

“The most cardinal rule of any speech-writing operation is that you cannot plagiarize,” said Mr. Latimer, the Bush speechwriter, who is now a partner at Javelin, a communications firm. If you do, he said, “you lose your job.”

That is unlikely to happen in the Trump campaign, which revolves around a freewheeling candidate with a fierce resistance to admitting error.

It was Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, who commissioned the speech from Mr. Scully and Mr. McConnell — and praised their draft. But Ms. Trump decided to revise it, and at one point she turned to a trusted hand: Meredith McIver, a New York City-based former ballet dancer and English major who has worked on some of Mr. Trump’s books, including Think Like a Billionaire (2004). It was not clear how much of a hand Ms. McIver had in the final product, and she did not respond to an email on Tuesday.

Research for the speech, it seems, drew them to the previous convention speeches delivered by candidates’ spouses.

The Trump campaign declined to say who or how many senior campaign officials read or reviewed the speech. But when Ms. Trump and her staff had finished revising the speech, virtually all that remained from the original was an introduction and a passage that included the phrase “a national campaign like no other.”

The controversy set off by the stumble spread rapidly from the political class to average Americans: African-Americans were angry that Ms. Trump had chosen to swipe the words of the country’s first African-American first lady, especially given Mr. Trump’s hostility to President Obama. Scores of Twitter users, deploying the hashtag #famousMelaniaTrumpQuotes, began to re-attribute famous lines, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream,” to Ms. Trump.

But the mischievous teasing at times turned serious, as blacks invoked a painful history of prominent white figures stealing the work of black artists and presenting it as their own. “I’m not surprised Melanie plagiarized from Michelle,” wrote Yasmin Yonis. “White women have spent centuries stealing black women’s genius, labor, babies, bodies.”

To many Republicans, the lapse seemed frustratingly inevitable from a candidate who has not just eschewed the backstops of a major political campaign — he has mocked them as a waste of money. His campaign slogans, “America First” and “Make America Great Again,” echoed Pat Buchanan and Ronald Reagan. His social media graphics were crowdsourced on Twitter and Reddit by an aide who formerly managed Mr. Trump’s golf club in Westchester.

The mistakes have piled up. Last summer, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter his portrait superimposed over a picture of the White House and what turned out to be a stock image of Waffen-SS troops from World War II.

But this one stung, in part because everybody was watching.

Jon Favreau, a former chief speechwriter to President Obama, was home on his couch half-following Ms. Trump’s speech on TV while catching up on work Monday night. At first, he was skeptical of the criticism.

“Everyone says, ‘You work hard,’” Mr. Favreau said, reciting a line from the speech. “Political speeches are filled with clichés that are impossible to avoid.” But when he got to Ms. Trump saying, “Your word is your bond,” Mr. Favreau recalled, he stopped short.

“I remember Michelle saying, ‘Your word is your bond,’ and thinking I’ve never heard of someone saying that in politics,” Mr. Favreau said. “That was when I knew it might have been copied.” Ω

[Maggie Haberman left Politco to join the NY Fishwrap as a political correspondent for 2016 election coverage. She received a BA (writing) from Sarah Lawrence College.

Michael Barbaro is a staff writer at the NY Fishwrap and also is a political correspondent for 2016 election coverage. Before joining the Times in 2005, Barbaro worked at The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Miami Herald. He received a BA (history) from Yale University and also was editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News.

Staffers Yamiche Alcindor, Nicholas Confessore and Ashley Parker contributed reporting.]

Copyright © 2016 The New York Times Company

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Today: Meet The "Living Black Hole" — Donald T. (for "The") Chump

Anything associated with the presumptive Dumbo presidential nominee should reference theft. His blockbuster memoir would be more accurately entitled The Art of The -Deal- Steal. Cut to the first evening of the Dumbo National Convention, Melania Trump delivered a speech in support of her husband and almost immediately cyberspace exploded with word-for-word proof that Mrs. Trump's speech was filled with stolen/plagiarized passages from the 2008 speech that Michelle Obama delivered in support of the presumptive nominee — her husband. Words stolen on Mrs. Trump's behalf were stolen, not borrowed. If this is a (fair & balanced) case of political kleptomania, so be it.

[x The New Yorker]
Trump’s Boswell Speaks
By Jane Mayer

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Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.

Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that [sic] wrote The Art of the Deal [1987].” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote The Art of the Deal.”

Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

It seemed improbable that Trump’s campaign would succeed, so Schwartz told himself that he needn’t worry much. But, as Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” near the end of the speech, Schwartz felt anxious. He had spent hundreds of hours observing Trump firsthand, and felt that he had an unusually deep understanding of what he regarded as Trump’s beguiling strengths and disqualifying weaknesses. Many Americans, however, saw Trump as a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business—a mythical image that Schwartz had helped create. “It pays to trust your instincts,” Trump says in the book, adding that he was set to make hundreds of millions of dollars after buying a hotel that he hadn’t even walked through.

In the subsequent months, as Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew. He had long since left journalism to launch the Energy Project, a consulting firm that promises to improve employees’ productivity by helping them boost their “physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual” morale. It was a successful company, with clients such as Facebook, and Schwartz’s colleagues urged him to avoid the political fray. But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.

Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering Art of the Deal, his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In June, he agreed to break his silence and give his first candid interview about the Trump he got to know while acting as his Boswell.

“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

If he were writing The Art of the Deal today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, The Sociopath.

The idea of Trump writing an autobiography didn’t originate with either Trump or Schwartz. It began with Si Newhouse, the media magnate whose company, Advance Publications, owned Random House at the time, and continues to own Condé Nast, the parent company of this magazine. “It was very definitely, and almost uniquely, Si Newhouse’s idea,” Peter Osnos, who edited the book, recalls. GQ, which Condé Nast also owns, had published a cover story on Trump, and Newhouse noticed that newsstand sales had been unusually strong.

Newhouse called Trump about the project, then visited him to discuss it. Random House continued the pursuit with a series of meetings. At one point, Howard Kaminsky, who ran Random House then, wrapped a thick Russian novel in a dummy cover that featured a photograph of Trump looking like a conquering hero; at the top was Trump’s name, in large gold block lettering. Kaminsky recalls that Trump was pleased by the mockup, but had one suggestion: “Please make my name much bigger.” After securing the half-million-dollar advance, Trump signed a contract.

Around this time, Schwartz, who was one of the leading young magazine writers of the day, stopped by Trump’s office, in Trump Tower. Schwartz had written about Trump before. In 1985, he’d published a piece in New York called “A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story,” which portrayed him not as a brilliant mogul but as a ham-fisted thug who had unsuccessfully tried to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South. Trump’s efforts—which included a plan to house homeless people in the building in order to harass the tenants—became what Schwartz described as a “fugue of failure, a farce of fumbling and bumbling.” An accompanying cover portrait depicted Trump as unshaven, unpleasant-looking, and shiny with sweat. Yet, to Schwartz’s amazement, Trump loved the article. He hung the cover on a wall of his office, and sent a fan note to Schwartz, on his gold-embossed personal stationery. “Everybody seems to have read it,” Trump enthused in the note, which Schwartz has kept.

“I was shocked,” Schwartz told me. “Trump didn’t fit any model of human being I’d ever met. He was obsessed with publicity, and he didn’t care what you wrote.” He went on, “Trump only takes two positions. Either you’re a scummy loser, liar, whatever, or you’re the greatest. I became the greatest. He wanted to be seen as a tough guy, and he loved being on the cover.” Schwartz wrote him back, saying, “Of all the people I’ve written about over the years, you are certainly the best sport.”

And so Schwartz had returned for more, this time to conduct an interview for Playboy. But to his frustration Trump kept making cryptic, monosyllabic statements. “He mysteriously wouldn’t answer my questions,” Schwartz said. After twenty minutes, he said, Trump explained that he didn’t want to reveal anything new about himself—he had just signed a lucrative book deal and needed to save his best material.

“What kind of book?” Schwartz said.

“My autobiography,” Trump replied.

“You’re only thirty-eight—you don’t have one yet!” Schwartz joked.

“Yeah, I know,” Trump said.

“If I were you,” Schwartz recalls telling him, “I’d write a book called The Art of the Deal. That’s something people would be interested in.”

“You’re right,” Trump agreed. “Do you want to write it?”

Schwartz thought it over for several weeks. He knew that he would be making a Faustian bargain. A lifelong liberal, he was hardly an admirer of Trump’s ruthless and single-minded pursuit of profit. “It was one of a number of times in my life when I was divided between the Devil and the higher side,” he told me. He had grown up in a bourgeois, intellectual family in Manhattan, and had attended élite private schools, but he was not as wealthy as some of his classmates—and, unlike many of them, he had no trust fund. “I grew up privileged,” he said. “But my parents made it clear: ‘You’re on your own.’ ” Around the time Trump made his offer, Schwartz’s wife, Deborah Pines, became pregnant with their second daughter, and he worried that the family wouldn’t fit into their Manhattan apartment, whose mortgage was already too high. “I was overly worried about money,” Schwartz said. “I thought money would keep me safe and secure—or that was my rationalization.” At the same time, he knew that if he took Trump’s money and adopted Trump’s voice his journalism career would be badly damaged. His heroes were such literary nonfiction writers as Tom Wolfe, John McPhee, and David Halberstam. Being a ghostwriter was hackwork. In the end, though, Schwartz had his price. He told Trump that if he would give him half the advance and half the book’s royalties he’d take the job.

Such terms are unusually generous for a ghostwriter. Trump, despite having a reputation as a tough negotiator, agreed on the spot. “It was a huge windfall,” Schwartz recalls. “But I knew I was selling out. Literally, the term was invented to describe what I did.” Soon Spy was calling him “former journalist Tony Schwartz.”

Schwartz thought that The Art of the Deal would be an easy project. The book’s structure would be simple: he’d chronicle half a dozen or so of Trump’s biggest real-estate deals, dispense some bromides about how to succeed in business, and fill in Trump’s life story. For research, he planned to interview Trump on a series of Saturday mornings. The first session didn’t go as planned, however. After Trump gave him a tour of his marble-and-gilt apartment atop Trump Tower—which, to Schwartz, looked unlived-in, like the lobby of a hotel—they began to talk. But the discussion was soon hobbled by what Schwartz regards as one of Trump’s most essential characteristics: “He has no attention span.”

In those days, Schwartz recalls, Trump was generally affable with reporters, offering short, amusingly immodest quotes on demand. Trump had been forthcoming with him during the New York interview, but it hadn’t required much time or deep reflection. For the book, though, Trump needed to provide him with sustained, thoughtful recollections. He asked Trump to describe his childhood in detail. After sitting for only a few minutes in his suit and tie, Trump became impatient and irritable. He looked fidgety, Schwartz recalls, “like a kindergartner who can’t sit still in a classroom.” Even when Schwartz pressed him, Trump seemed to remember almost nothing of his youth, and made it clear that he was bored. Far more quickly than Schwartz had expected, Trump ended the meeting.

Week after week, the pattern repeated itself. Schwartz tried to limit the sessions to smaller increments of time, but Trump’s contributions remained oddly truncated and superficial.

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.

In a recent phone interview, Trump told me that, to the contrary, he has the skill that matters most in a crisis: the ability to forge compromises. The reason he touted The Art of the Deal in his announcement, he explained, was that he believes that recent Presidents have lacked his toughness and finesse: “Look at the trade deficit with China. Look at the Iran deal. I’ve made a fortune by making deals. I do that. I do that well. That’s what I do.”

But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.

Other journalists have noticed Trump’s apparent lack of interest in reading. In May, Megyn Kelly, of Fox News, asked him to name his favorite book, other than the Bible or The Art of the Deal. Trump picked the 1929 novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Evidently suspecting that many years had elapsed since he’d read it, Kelly asked Trump to talk about the most recent book he’d read. “I read passages, I read areas, I’ll read chapters—I don’t have the time,” Trump said. As The New Republic noted recently, this attitude is not shared by most US Presidents, including Barack Obama, a habitual consumer of current books, and George W. Bush, who reportedly engaged in a fiercely competitive book-reading contest with his political adviser Karl Rove.

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, famously claimed that Trump kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, in a cabinet beside his bed. In 1990, Trump’s friend Marty Davis, who was then an executive at Paramount, added credence to this story, telling Marie Brenner, of Vanity Fair, that he had given Trump the book. “I thought he would find it interesting,” Davis told her. When Brenner asked Trump about it, however, he mistakenly identified the volume as a different work by Hitler: Mein Kampf. Apparently, he had not so much as read the title. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them,” Trump told Brenner.

Growing desperate, Schwartz devised a strategy for trapping Trump into giving more material. He made plans to spend the weekend with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his mansion in Palm Beach, where there would be fewer distractions. As they chatted in the garden, Ivana icily walked by, clearly annoyed that Schwartz was competing for her husband’s limited free time. Trump again grew impatient. Long before lunch on Saturday, Schwartz recalls, Trump “essentially threw a fit.” He stood up and announced that he couldn’t stand any more questions.

Schwartz went to his room, called his literary agent, Kathy Robbins, and told her that he couldn’t do the book. (Robbins confirms this.) As Schwartz headed back to New York, though, he came up with another plan. He would propose eavesdropping on Trump’s life by following him around on the job and, more important, by listening in on his office phone calls. That way, extracting extended reflections from Trump would not be required. When Schwartz presented the idea to Trump, he loved it. Almost every day from then on, Schwartz sat about eight feet away from him in the Trump Tower office, listening on an extension of Trump’s phone line. Schwartz says that none of the bankers, lawyers, brokers, and reporters who called Trump realized that they were being monitored. The calls usually didn’t last long, and Trump’s assistant facilitated the conversation-hopping. While he was talking with someone, she often came in with a Post-it note informing him of the next caller on hold.

“He was playing people,” Schwartz recalls. On the phone with business associates, Trump would flatter, bully, and occasionally get mad, but always in a calculated way. Before the discussion ended, Trump would “share the news of his latest success,” Schwartz says. Instead of saying goodbye at the end of a call, Trump customarily signed off with “You’re the greatest!” There was not a single call that Trump deemed too private for Schwartz to hear. “He loved the attention,” Schwartz recalls. “If he could have had three hundred thousand people listening in, he would have been even happier.”

This year, Schwartz has heard some argue that there must be a more thoughtful and nuanced version of Donald Trump that he is keeping in reserve for after the campaign. “There isn’t,” Schwartz insists. “There is no private Trump.” This is not a matter of hindsight. While working on The Art of the Deal, Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’—recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986. But, as he noted in the journal a few days later, “the book will be far more successful if Trump is a sympathetic character—even weirdly sympathetic—than if he is just hateful or, worse yet, a one-dimensional blowhard.”

Eavesdropping solved the interview problem, but it presented a new one. After hearing Trump’s discussions about business on the phone, Schwartz asked him brief follow-up questions. He then tried to amplify the material he got from Trump by calling others involved in the deals. But their accounts often directly conflicted with Trump’s. “Lying is second nature to him,” Schwartz said. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.” Often, Schwartz said, the lies that Trump told him were about money—“how much he had paid for something, or what a building he owned was worth, or how much one of his casinos was earning when it was actually on its way to bankruptcy.” Trump bragged that he paid only eight million dollars for Mar-a-Lago, but omitted that he bought a nearby strip of beach for a record sum. After gossip columns reported, erroneously, that Prince Charles was considering buying several apartments in Trump Tower, Trump implied that he had no idea where the rumor had started. (“It certainly didn’t hurt us,” he says, in The Art of the Deal.) Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice, later revealed that Trump himself had planted the story with journalists. Schwartz also suspected that Trump engaged in such media tricks, and asked him about a story making the rounds—that Trump often called up news outlets using a pseudonym. Trump didn’t deny it. As Schwartz recalls, he smirked and said, “You like that, do you?”

Schwartz says of Trump, “He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it “gave him a strange advantage.”

When challenged about the facts, Schwartz says, Trump would often double down, repeat himself, and grow belligerent. This quality was recently on display after Trump posted on Twitter a derogatory image of Hillary Clinton that contained a six-pointed star lifted from a white-supremacist Web site. Campaign staffers took the image down, but two days later Trump angrily defended it, insisting that there was no anti-Semitic implication. Whenever “the thin veneer of Trump’s vanity is challenged,” Schwartz says, he overreacts—not an ideal quality in a head of state.

When Schwartz began writing The Art of the Deal, he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump’s loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, “ ‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” Trump, he said, loved the phrase.

In his journal, Schwartz describes the process of trying to make Trump’s voice palatable in the book. It was kind of “a trick,” he writes, to mimic Trump’s blunt, staccato, no-apologies delivery while making him seem almost boyishly appealing. One strategy was to make it appear that Trump was just having fun at the office. “I try not to take any of what’s happened too seriously,” Trump says in the book. “The real excitement is playing the game.”

In his journal, Schwartz wrote, “Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.” Looking back at the text now, Schwartz says, “I created a character far more winning than Trump actually is.” The first line of the book is an example. “I don’t do it for the money,” Trump declares. “I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.” Schwartz now laughs at this depiction of Trump as a devoted artisan. “Of course he’s in it for the money,” he said. “One of the most deep and basic needs he has is to prove that ‘I’m richer than you.’ ” As for the idea that making deals is a form of poetry, Schwartz says, “He was incapable of saying something like that—it wouldn’t even be in his vocabulary.” He saw Trump as driven not by a pure love of dealmaking but by an insatiable hunger for “money, praise, and celebrity.” Often, after spending the day with Trump, and watching him pile one hugely expensive project atop the next, like a circus performer spinning plates, Schwartz would go home and tell his wife, “He’s a living black hole!”

Schwartz reminded himself that he was being paid to tell Trump’s story, not his own, but the more he worked on the project the more disturbing he found it. In his journal, he describes the hours he spent with Trump as “draining” and “deadening.” Schwartz told me that Trump’s need for attention is “completely compulsive,” and that his bid for the Presidency is part of a continuum. “He’s managed to keep increasing the dose for forty years,” Schwartz said. After he’d spent decades as a tabloid titan, “the only thing left was running for President. If he could run for emperor of the world, he would.”

Rhetorically, Schwartz’s aim in The Art of the Deal was to present Trump as the hero of every chapter, but, after looking into some of his supposedly brilliant deals, Schwartz concluded that there were cases in which there was no way to make Trump look good. So he sidestepped unflattering incidents and details. “I didn’t consider it my job to investigate,” he says.

Schwartz also tried to avoid the strong whiff of cronyism that hovered over some deals. In his 1986 journal, he describes what a challenge it was to “put his best foot forward” in writing about one of Trump’s first triumphs: his development, starting in 1975, of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, on the site of the former Commodore Hotel, next to Grand Central Terminal. In order to afford the hotel, Trump required an extremely large tax abatement. Richard Ravitch, who was then in charge of the agency that had the authority to grant such tax breaks to developers, recalls that he declined to grant the abatement, and Trump got “so unpleasant I had to tell him to get out.” Trump got it anyway, largely because key city officials had received years of donations from his father, Fred Trump, who was a major real-estate developer in Queens. Wayne Barrett, whose reporting for the Voice informed his definitive 1991 book, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, says, “It was all Fred’s political connections that created the abatement.” In addition, Trump snookered rivals into believing that he had an exclusive option from the city on the project, when he didn’t. Trump also deceived his partner in the deal, Jay Pritzker, the head of the Hyatt Hotel chain. Pritzker had rejected an unfavorable term proposed by Trump, but at the closing Trump forced it through, knowing that Pritzker was on a mountain in Nepal and could not be reached. Schwartz wrote in his journal that “almost everything” about the hotel deal had “an immoral cast.” But as the ghostwriter he was “trying hard to find my way around” behavior that he considered “if not reprehensible, at least morally questionable.”

Many tall tales that Trump told Schwartz contained a kernel of truth but made him out to be cleverer than he was. One of Trump’s favorite stories was about how he had tricked the company that owned Holiday Inn into becoming his partner in an Atlantic City casino. Trump claimed that he had quieted executives’ fears of construction delays by ordering his construction supervisor to make a vacant lot that he owned look like “the most active construction site in the history of the world.” As Trump tells it in The Art of the Deal, there were so many dump trucks and bulldozers pushing around dirt and filling holes that had just been dug that when Holiday Inn executives visited the site it “looked as if we were in the midst of building the Grand Coulee Dam.” The stunt, Trump claimed, pushed the deal through. After the book came out, though, a consultant for Trump’s casinos, Al Glasgow, who is now deceased, told Schwartz, “It never happened.” There may have been one or two trucks, but not the fleet that made it a great story.

Schwartz tamped down some of Trump’s swagger, but plenty of it remained. The manuscript that Random House published was, depending on your perspective, either entertainingly insightful or shamelessly self-aggrandizing. To borrow a title from Norman Mailer, who frequently attended prizefights at Trump’s Atlantic City hotels, the book could have been called Advertisements for Myself.

In 2005, Timothy L. O’Brien, an award-winning journalist who is currently the executive editor of Bloomberg View, published Trump Nation, a meticulous investigative biography. (Trump unsuccessfully sued him for libel.) O’Brien has taken a close look at The Art of the Deal, and he told me that it might be best characterized as a “nonfiction work of fiction.” Trump’s life story, as told by Schwartz, honestly chronicled a few setbacks, such as Trump’s disastrous 1983 purchase of the New Jersey Generals, a football team in the flailing United States Football League. But O’Brien believes that Trump used the book to turn almost every step of his life, both personal and professional, into a “glittering fable.”

Some of the falsehoods in The Art of the Deal are minor. Spy upended Trump’s claims that Ivana had been a “top model” and an alternate on the Czech Olympic ski team. Barrett notes that in The Art of the Deal Trump describes his father as having been born in New Jersey to Swedish parents; in fact, he was born in the Bronx to German parents. (Decades later, Trump spread falsehoods about Obama’s origins, claiming it was possible that the President was born in Africa.)

In The Art of the Deal, Trump portrays himself as a warm family man with endless admirers. He praises Ivana’s taste and business skill—“I said you can’t bet against Ivana, and she proved me right.” But Schwartz noticed little warmth or communication between Trump and Ivana, and he later learned that while The Art of the Deal was being written Trump began an affair with Marla Maples, who became his second wife. (He divorced Ivana in 1992.) As far as Schwartz could tell, Trump spent very little time with his family and had no close friends. In The Art of the Deal, Trump describes Roy Cohn, his personal lawyer, in the warmest terms, calling him “the sort of guy who’d be there at your hospital bed . . . literally standing by you to the death.” Cohn, who in the fifties assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy in his vicious crusade against Communism, was closeted. He felt abandoned by Trump when he became fatally ill from AIDS, and said, “Donald pisses ice water.” Schwartz says of Trump, “He’d like people when they were helpful, and turn on them when they weren’t. It wasn’t personal. He’s a transactional man—it was all about what you could do for him.”

According to Barrett, among the most misleading aspects of The Art of the Deal was the idea that Trump made it largely on his own, with only minimal help from his father, Fred. Barrett, in his book, notes that Trump once declared, “The working man likes me because he knows I didn’t inherit what I’ve built,” and that in The Art of the Deal he derides wealthy heirs as members of “the Lucky Sperm Club.”

Trump’s self-portrayal as a Horatio Alger figure has buttressed his populist appeal in 2016. But his origins were hardly humble. Fred’s fortune, based on his ownership of middle-income properties, wasn’t glamorous, but it was sizable: in 2003, a few years after Fred died, Trump and his siblings reportedly sold some of their father’s real-estate holdings for half a billion dollars. In The Art of the Deal, Trump cites his father as “the most important influence on me,” but in his telling his father’s main legacy was teaching him the importance of “toughness.” Beyond that, Schwartz says, Trump “barely talked about his father—he didn’t want his success to be seen as having anything to do with him.” But when Barrett investigated he found that Trump’s father was instrumental in his son’s rise, financially and politically. In the book, Trump says that “my energy and my enthusiasm” explain how, as a twenty-nine-year-old with few accomplishments, he acquired the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Barrett reports, however, that Trump’s father had to co-sign the many contracts that the deal required. He also lent Trump seven and a half million dollars to get started as a casino owner in Atlantic City; at one point, when Trump couldn’t meet payments on other loans, his father tried to tide him over by sending a lawyer to buy some three million dollars’ worth of gambling chips. Barrett told me, “Donald did make some smart moves himself, particularly in assembling the site for the Trump Tower. That was a stroke of genius.” Nonetheless, he said, “The notion that he’s a self-made man is a joke. But I guess they couldn’t call the book The Art of My Father’s Deals."

The other key myth perpetuated by The Art of the Deal was that Trump’s intuitions about business were almost flawless. “The book helped fuel the notion that he couldn’t fail,” Barrett said. But, unbeknown to Schwartz and the public, by late 1987, when the book came out, Trump was heading toward what Barrett calls “simultaneous personal and professional self-destruction.” O’Brien agrees that during the next several years Trump’s life unravelled. The divorce from Ivana reportedly cost him twenty-five million dollars. Meanwhile, he was in the midst of what O’Brien calls “a crazy shopping spree that resulted in unmanageable debt.” He was buying the Plaza Hotel and also planning to erect “the tallest building in the world,” on the former rail yards that he had bought on the West Side. In 1987, the city denied him permission to construct such a tall skyscraper, but in The Art of the Deal he brushed off this failure with a one-liner: “I can afford to wait.” O’Brien says, “The reality is that he couldn’t afford to wait. He was telling the media that the carrying costs were three million dollars, when in fact they were more like twenty million.” Trump was also building a third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj, which he promised would be “the biggest casino in history.” He bought the Eastern Air Lines shuttle that operated out of New York, Boston, and Washington, rechristening it the Trump Shuttle, and acquired a giant yacht, the Trump Princess. “He was on a total run of complete and utter self-absorption,” Barrett says, adding, “It’s kind of like now.”

Schwartz said that when he was writing the book “the greatest percentage of Trump’s assets was in casinos, and he made it sound like each casino was more successful than the last. But every one of them was failing.” He went on, “I think he was just spinning. I don’t think he could have believed it at the time. He was losing millions of dollars a day. He had to have been terrified.”

In 1992, the journalist David Cay Johnston published a book about casinos, Temples of Chance, and cited a net-worth statement from 1990 that assessed Trump’s personal wealth. It showed that Trump owed nearly three hundred million dollars more to his creditors than his assets were worth. The next year, his company was forced into bankruptcy—the first of six such instances. The Trump meteor had crashed.

But in The Art of the Deal, O’Brien told me, “Trump shrewdly and unabashedly promoted an image of himself as a dealmaker nonpareil who could always get the best out of every situation—and who can now deliver America from its malaise.” This idealized version was presented to an exponentially larger audience, O’Brien noted, when Mark Burnett, the reality-television producer, read The Art of the Deal and decided to base a new show on it, “The Apprentice,” with Trump as the star. The first season of the show, which premièred in 2004, opens with Trump in the back of a limousine, boasting, “I’ve mastered the art of the deal, and I’ve turned the name Trump into the highest-quality brand.” An image of the book’s cover flashes onscreen as Trump explains that, as the “master,” he is now seeking an apprentice. O’Brien said, “ ‘The Apprentice’ is mythmaking on steroids. There’s a straight line from the book to the show to the 2016 campaign.”

It took Schwartz a little more than a year to write The Art of the Deal. In the spring of 1987, he sent the manuscript to Trump, who returned it to him shortly afterward. There were a few red marks made with a fat-tipped Magic Marker, most of which deleted criticisms that Trump had made of powerful individuals he no longer wanted to offend, such as Lee Iacocca. Otherwise, Schwartz says, Trump changed almost nothing.

In my phone interview with Trump, he initially said of Schwartz, “Tony was very good. He was the co-author.” But he dismissed Schwartz’s account of the writing process. “He didn’t write the book,” Trump told me. “I wrote the book. I wrote the book. It was my book. And it was a No. 1 best-seller, and one of the best-selling business books of all time. Some say it was the best-selling business book ever.” (It is not.) Howard Kaminsky, the former Random House head, laughed and said, “Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!”

Trump was far more involved in the book’s promotion. He wooed booksellers and made one television appearance after another. He publicly promised to donate his cut of the book’s royalties to charity. He even made a surprise trip to New Hampshire, where he stirred additional publicity by floating the possibility that he might run for President.

In December of 1987, a month after the book was published, Trump hosted an extravagant book party in the pink marble atrium of Trump Tower. Klieg lights lit a red carpet outside the building. Inside, nearly a thousand guests, in black tie, were served champagne and fed slices of a giant cake replica of Trump Tower, which was wheeled in by a parade of women waving red sparklers. The boxing promoter Don King greeted the crowd in a floor-length mink coat, and the comedian Jackie Mason introduced Donald and Ivana with the words “Here comes the king and queen!” Trump toasted Schwartz, saying teasingly that he had at least tried to teach him how to make money.

Schwartz got more of an education the next day, when he and Trump spoke on the phone. After chatting briefly about the party, Trump informed Schwartz that, as his ghostwriter, he owed him for half the event’s cost, which was in the six figures. Schwartz was dumbfounded. “He wanted me to split the cost of entertaining his list of nine hundred second-rate celebrities?” Schwartz had, in fact, learned a few things from watching Trump. He drastically negotiated down the amount that he agreed to pay, to a few thousand dollars, and then wrote Trump a letter promising to write a check not to Trump but to a charity of Schwartz’s choosing. It was a page out of Trump’s playbook. In the past seven years, Trump has promised to give millions of dollars to charity, but reporters for the Washington Post found that they could document only ten thousand dollars in donations—and they uncovered no direct evidence that Trump made charitable contributions from money earned by The Art of the Deal.

Not long after the discussion of the party bills, Trump approached Schwartz about writing a sequel, for which Trump had been offered a seven-figure advance. This time, however, he offered Schwartz only a third of the profits. He pointed out that, because the advance was much bigger, the payout would be, too. But Schwartz said no. Feeling deeply alienated, he instead wrote a book called What Really Matters (1995), about the search for meaning in life. After working with Trump, Schwartz writes, he felt a “gnawing emptiness” and became a “seeker,” longing to “be connected to something timeless and essential, more real.”

Schwartz told me that he has decided to pledge all royalties from sales of The Art of the Deal in 2016 to pointedly chosen charities: the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for the Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center. He doesn’t feel that the gesture absolves him. “I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” he said. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that The Art of the Deal sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”

Schwartz expected Trump to attack him for speaking out, and he was correct. Informed that Schwartz had made critical remarks about him, and wouldn’t be voting for him, Trump said, “He’s probably just doing it for the publicity.” He also said, “Wow. That’s great disloyalty, because I made Tony rich. He owes a lot to me. I helped him when he didn’t have two cents in his pocket. It’s great disloyalty. I guess he thinks it’s good for him—but he’ll find out it’s not good for him.”

Minutes after Trump got off the phone with me, Schwartz’s cell phone rang. “I hear you’re not voting for me,” Trump said. “I just talked to The New Yorker—which, by the way, is a failing magazine that no one reads—and I heard you were critical of me.”

“You’re running for President,” Schwartz said. “I disagree with a lot of what you’re saying.”

“That’s your right, but then you should have just remained silent. I just want to tell you that I think you’re very disloyal. Without me, you wouldn’t be where you are now. I had a lot of choice of who to have write the book, and I chose you, and I was very generous with you. I know that you gave a lot of speeches and lectures using The Art of the Deal. I could have sued you, but I didn’t.”

“My business has nothing to do with The Art of the Deal.”

“That’s not what I’ve been told.”

“You’re running for President of the United States. The stakes here are high.”

“Yeah, they are,” he said. “Have a nice life.” Trump hung up.

Schwartz can understand why Trump feels stung, but he felt that he had to speak up before it was too late. As for Trump’s anger toward him, he said, “I don’t take it personally, because the truth is he didn’t mean it personally. People are dispensable and disposable in Trump’s world.” If Trump is elected President, he warned, “the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows—that he couldn’t care less about them.” Ω

[Jane Mayer has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1995. Mayer is a graduate of Yale University (BA, history), where she was a stringer for Time magazine. Mayer has also contributed to the New York Review of Books and American Prospect and co-authored two books—Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas (1994) (written with Jill Abramson), a study of the controversy-laden nomination and appointment of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court, and Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984–1988 (1989) (written with Doyle McManus), an account of Ronald Reagan's second term in the White House. Mayer's The Dark Side (2008) — addressing the origins, legal justifications, and possible war crimes liability of the use of interrogation techniques to break down detainees' resistance and the subsequent deaths of detainees under such interrogation as applied by the CIA — was a finalist for the National Book Awards. Her most recent book is Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016). Mayer is the granddaughter of the late historian and biographer Allan Nevins.]

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