Published in the November 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, “Bombast Bursting in Air” is Lewis H. Lapham’s analysis of the 2016 election. Read the full essay here.
Trump declared his candidacy on June 16, a deus ex machina descending by escalator into the atrium of the Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and there to say, and say it plainly, that Justice Brandeis had it right, democracy and concentrated wealth do not a happy couple make. Money is power, and power, ladies and gentlemen, is not self-sacrificing or democratic. The big money cares for nothing other than itself, always has and always will; it is the name of the game and the nature of the beast. Trump didn’t need briefing books or policy positions to front an outdated noble falsehood. He embodied — live and in person — the proof of the proposition that he deemed it the duty of the children of the city to believe.
Trump established the bona fides of his claim to the White House on the simple but all-encompassing and imperishable truth that he was really, really rich, unbought and therefore unbossed, so magnificently rich that he was free to say whatever it came into his head to say, to do whatever it took to root out the corruption and stupidity in Washington, clean up the mess in the Middle East, or wherever else in the world ungrateful foreigners were neglecting their duty to do the bidding of the United States of America, the greatest show on earth, which deserved the helping hand of Trump, the greatest name on earth, to make it worthy of his signature men’s colognes (Empire and Success) and set it free to fulfill the destiny emblazoned on his baseball cap: make america great again.
Read the full essay here.