Rod Miller: A Fading Orange Sunset, and a Primo Political Prank

in Column/Rod Miller

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By Rod Miller, Columnist

My dad always said that you could tell when a western movie was over because a horse’s ass headed into the sunset. Friends and neighbors, I think the lights are fixin’ to come on in the theater.

Donald Trump, once every cowboy hero rolled into one here in Wyoming, is starting to look like the disgraced snake oil salesman who gets run out of town on a rail. Thus, the horse’s ass heading into the sunset.

In a recent poll conducted by Jim King, whom I consider the best pollster working in the Big Empty, Trump’s approval in Wyoming was pegged at 58%. That is a significant drop from just a couple of years ago, when Trump won Wyoming with 70% of the popular vote, highest in the nation.

Regardless of glitzy rallies and chest-thumping by Trump’s hardcore acolytes, his support among the hoi polloi has fallen by 12% in two years. I have a theory about that.

Folks are starting to see through Trump’s bullshit. The crowd is starting to realize that the emperor is buck naked, and it ain’t a pretty sight.

Trump was never to my taste, so his fall from favor is no skin off my nose. But, over beer, some of my Republican friends have admitted that they struggle to process it. One stared into his glass and told me, “Its like that Willie Nelson song…went to bed at 2 with a 10, woke up at 10 with a 2.”

There is a lot of political buyer’s remorse out there, and it seems to be contagious. And I don’t mean only in Wyoming. But for it to spread here is certainly not good news for the myth of Trump.

We are proud folks, and we don’t like to admit we were wrong. But, deep down, we’re also realists who can recognize a scam when we open our eyes. 

Don’t misunderstand, Trump and the ethos of Trumpism won’t disappear from the Wyoming landscape for a long time. There will remain pockets here and there of righteous populist self-delusion. But Trump’s decline in the Cowboy State won’t stop at twelve percent.

I have always been a huge fan of the theatrical side of politics. Political pranksters (or dirty tricksters, if you prefer) have always been my anti-heroes. The list is short, but distinguished. Dick Tuck, Donald Segretti, Pat Buchanan (when he was honest with himself), and Roger Stone. I may detest their politics, but I appreciate their political theatrics.

It happened too recently to be reflected in King’s poll, but Kanye West’s recent punking of Trump will likely keep the MAGA needle moving downward. It was an elegant political dirty trick, and Trump fell for it.

Here’s a recap: Ye, formerly a huge Trump fan, finagled a dinner at Mar a Lago and brought along an avowed white supremacist to dine with The Ex. Word got out, as it always does, that Trump had broken bread with the Nazis, and there was hell to pay.

Trump spent the next few news cycles back-trackin’ and tap-dancin’ and ‘splainin’ with his weird syntax how he was innocent as the driven snow. But the damage was done. Trump was made to look like a fool.

Reportedly, Ye said he pranked Trump to make him feel miserable. With friends like that, Trump doesn’t need political enemies to smudge his luster. He’s doing a fine job of that himself.

The only downside to this comedy that I see is the possibility that the folks who are finally disillusioned enough to abandon Trump will glom onto Ye as the next populist savior and we go through this nonsense again.

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