Masters of Scam

The past week has been exhausting and tough. Attempting to keep up with the assault on the rights of women, immigrants,  and even the scientific community is a challenge for concerned Americans. We must be vigilant constantly, and I’d personally like to thank all the journalists who work so hard every day to write about the barrage of things changing in the United States. I keep finding myself thinking ‘How the hell did we get to this point?’ Obviously there are a lot of complex factors that allowed for Trump to become president; challenge to the outdated idea that this country belongs to white people first, everybody else second; the refugee crisis being so publicized and contested all over the world. But a lot of it was Trump saying a lot of things his followers wanted to hear.

A recent Slate article explains the process of how Trump will get away with most of his promises, even if they remain empty after his term in office. Many Trump supporters have already accepted that he has not ‘drained the swamp’ at all, but has surrounded himself with billionaires completely out of touch with middle class america.

“There are many who hope Trump’s supporters will hold him accountable. That they will insist he fulfill his promises about jobs or universal health coverage—and when those promises are broken, that their fervent support will turn into rage at having been duped, causing Trump anguish and eventually costing him re-election.

This is wishful thinking. Trump’s rise to power has followed a similar trajectory to that of quacks who peddle panaceas to the desperate—a bizarre and heartbreaking world I’ve long studied. Just like them, Trump will fail to deliver. But his supporters will find a way to exonerate him.”  

There are many that will not hold Trump accountable because of their ingrained ideology that America is not currently great, or that Obama somehow drove America to the ground, or that Trump is the one savior that can make our country great again. And this should terrify everyone who is against Trump. If supporters of our new president don’t come to learn that he won’t deliver on his promises they will continue to support him blindly. (That being said – there is an entire twitter account @Trump_Regrets devoted to those who are upset in one way or another). Trump essentially used tactics employed by quack scientists to rise to power – exploiting people’s fears, their hope, and anti-elitism sentiment.

One of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, put out an episode on the professional life of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley. Dr Brinkley conned people out of money for years, performing surgery to cure impotence – using goat testicles. He used his wealth to start his own radio station, advertising this new ‘miracle cure’ to impotence. Dr. Brinkley’s supporters spouted praise about him – even when it didn’t ‘work’ as they were likely too embarrassed to come forward – his entire working career, even when over 40 people died at his clinic in Kansas after undergoing the operation (a lowball number, as this does not include the number of people who may have died once they left the clinic).

I highly recommend this episode, as it breaks down why and how people in the early 20th century were duped – and why it may have occurred again. Audio here – https://soundcloud.com/replyall/86-man-of-the-people

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