Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trump Trains Elite Monkey Brains How to Perform and Mainstream Dominance

theintercept |  As the controversy over protests during the national anthem grew, President Donald Trump denounced NFL owners as being afraid of the players,” a state of affairs that he called “disgraceful”. The lament fits a pattern in Trump’s war with the NFL, which has routinely been characterized as the president attacking African-American athletes, when, in fact, Trump’s immediate target is one much closer to him: the class and race traitors who make up the owners of the NFL.

One of the most haunting aspects of Trump’s battle with the players has been his consistent refusal to talk directly to or with them. His complaint, that they are refusing to stand during the national anthem, has been directed at the owners, a way to offer up an extra level of disrespect to the players. That refusal continued this week, as Trump spoke directly to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, reminding him of NFL rules he said applied to players around the anthem.

When Trump sparked the national debate, he did so by going right over the heads of the players. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump bellowed at a rally in Alabama in September.

Trump went on: “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it, they’ll be the most popular person in this country.” 

For Trump, it comes back to being popular — with the right audience. But if that carrot isn’t enough, he has the stick of tax and antitrust policy to wield at the owners. 

Like everything else with Trump, his war with the NFL is layered with motivations ranging from the base to the financial to the personal. It hints at his own history with the NFL, his particular vision of rule, and ultimately, a sense of betrayal that has set the league on a collision course with not just Trump, but his supporters as well. 

Trump has commodified a vision of ownership that demands that bosses project complete dominance lest they become traitors to both their class and their nation — and, to the extent that Trump sees himself embodying the national spirit, they are at war with him personally. Through his so-called populist campaign and his TV show “The Apprentice,” he’s democratized that vision, transforming many of his supporters not into would-be apprentices hoping to learn from the great man, but mini-moguls with their own innate, incontrovertible knowledge about who should be “fired” and under what circumstances. Every viewer a king.