Back in 2011, I famously attempted to help Herman Cain learn foreign policy in an eleven part series to no avail. Or at least I dreamed I did.
I am now ready to admit that I am the one who coached Donald Trump through this past election campaign. From start to finish.
I learned a lot from my experience with Herman Cain. I tried to mold him into something he wasn't. His appeal came in the form of charisma, an "outsider-ness" and pithy lines disguised as policies. So with Trump, I decided to play up his most appealing attributes.
I remember my first discussion with Donny about running for the presidency. He wanted to make immigration the central issue of his campaign. "I believe every prospective immigrant should come to the United States legally," he said, "But I understand there's a lot complexity. Perhaps we should make it easier for legal immigrants to grace our shores; devise some humane way to deal with the undocumented immigrants who are already here while including additional security on the border?"
Listen Donny," I replied angrily, "That's all great and shit. Go write a fucking blog post about it 'cuz it'll never sell with the Republican base. This is what you gotta do: Call Mexicans rapists and druggies when you announce your candidacy."
Trump was appalled. "But David, you don't actually believe that and neither do I! I simply can't make such a disgraceful generalization."
"Donny baby, do you want to win?"
"Well, sure. But not like this," Trump pleaded.
"When you win, you can do whatever you want. Listen to me and I'll get you there."
"Ok," he replied softly, dropping his head in shame.
Days later, just before he descended down the escalator en route to give his announcement, I said, "Hey Donny, say something about building a wall on the border with Mexico and making Mexico pay for it. The base will eat that shit up."
During that speech, I could tell his heart wasn't in it. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he declared, "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." I cringed at the "good people" comment. He just had to qualify it. Republicans don't go for gray; they like things black and white. And they sure as shit don't like praising Mexicans, except for that Mexican-lover Jeb Bush (who has been married to a woman of Mexican descent for 43 loving years). This was going to be a lot harder than I thought.
But, Trump did include this beauty at the end of his announcement: "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall." I pumped my fist in the air. Homerun!
Just after his announcement, he shot up to first place in a very crowded field. I knew I was on to something.