You may be amused to know that some Trump supporters have started a GoFundMe to help pay for Trump’s half billion in fines.
Elena Cardone, the wife of real estate investor and influencer Grant Cardone, announced a short time later on X, formerly Twitter, that she had started a GoFundMe page to foot the bill. According to Forbes, Trump had a net worth of about $2.6 billion as of September.
The page, titled “Stand with Trump; Fund the $355M Unjust Judgment,” had raised over $18,000 of the $355 million about five hours after it was launched. More than 400 donors contributed between $5 and $1,500 each.
I bet some of those donors need that money more than Trump does.
Digby writes about yesterday’s fraud decision:
This man’s con has been going his whole life. His companies declared bankruptcy 6 times. He’s settled numerous fraud trials before this one, notably the Trump University case. He and his spawn have already been barred from ever running another “charity” in New York after he defrauded little kids with cancer. All of his is well known.
He’s a con artist who is so narcissistic he thought he could become president and nobody would ever be able to stop him. But he lost 66 cases stemming from his bogus claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election. Two women, E. Jean Carroll and Leticia James have now obtained half a billion dollars in damages from his lies, defamation and fraud. Next month we will have the first of several criminal trials that may catch up with him as well.
He’s crying and whining about being persecuted. And his hardcore followers are all Trump sin-eaters who so identify with him that they cannot admit to error either. They voted for him, they supported him they cannot possibly be wrong.
But there must be a few people who are starting to see that they’ve been conned. I hope so anyway or e are living in a country with so many deluded,brainwashed people that even without Trump it’s hard to imagine this country can survive.
Let us reflect on how much the entire political Right of the United States has been a con for a long time. Richard Hofstadter was writing great stuff about this in the 1950s and 1960s. Politicians of both parties do engage in demagoguery, of course. The Republican Party was the party of Joe McCarthy, but back in the day politicians of both parties won elections by stoking fears of Communism and promising to be “tough” on it, although Republicans tended to be worse on that point. But as time has gone on, the Republicans were the ones who won elections by stoking racism, misogyny, and homophobia and running against Affirmative Action and Voting Rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and same-sex marriage, while the real goal was cutting taxes on the rich and protecting the wealth of the wealthy.
Back in 2012 Rick Pearlstein wrote a piece called The Long Con that pointed to all the grifts associated with right-wing publications and websites.
Subscriber lists to ideological organs are pure gold to the third-party interests who rent them as catchments for potential customers. Who better suits a marketing strategy than a group that voluntarily organizes itself according to their most passionately shared beliefs? That’s why, for instance, the other day I (and probably you) got an advertisement by way of liberal magazine The American Prospect seeking donations to Mercy Corps, a charity that helps starving children in the Third World. But back when I was getting emails every day from Newsmax and Townhall, the come-ons were a little bit different.
Dear Reader, I’m going to tell you something, but you must promise to keep it quiet. You have to understand that the “elite” would not be at all happy with me if they knew what I was about to tell you. That’s why we have to tread carefully. You see, while most people are paying attention to the stock market, the banks, brokerages and big institutions have their money somewhere else . . . [in] what I call the hidden money mountain . . . All you have to know is the insider’s code (which I’ll tell you) and you could make an extra $6,000 every single month.
Soon after reading that, I learned of the “23-Cent Heart Miracle,” the one “Washington, the medical industry, and drug companies REFUSE to tell you about.” (Why would they? They’d just be leaving money on the table: “I was scheduled for open heart surgery when I read about your product,” read one of the testimonials. “I started taking it and now six months have passed and I haven’t had open-heart surgery.”) Then came news of the oilfield in the placenta.
An Israeli entrepreneur was selling shares in his company that must have been promising some miracle cure products made with stem cells in placentas. As you might remember, back then stem cell research was wildly controversial because the most useful stem cells were found in fetal tissue, which smacked into the abortion issue. But this guy had an abortion-free way to harvest stem cells, and a mere $10,000 investment in his company “could bring you a profit of more than a quarter of a million dollars.” Of course, in 2012 a lot of scientists were already harvesting stem cells from placentas for use in therapies. The Israeli entrepreneur probably was counting on readers of Newsmax and Townhall not knowing that.
Advertisers have long favored right-wing media for snake-oil cures and dubious get-rich-quick and investment schemes like “collector” gold coins. (Survivalist “preppers” are also big consumers of similar dubious merchanise.) Alex Jones by himself made tons of money on nutty conspiracy theories. There is no left-wing equivalent to this I can think of. See also “On Trump’s Social Network: Ads for Miracle Cures, Scams and Fake Merchandise.” And Thom Hartmann, The GOP Is the Part of Grift.
Back in 2013 I wrote a post called Live by the Grift; Die by the Grift.
Indeed, there is a whole class of grifters on the Right whose incomes depend on keeping the crazy well fed. I’m thinking of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Fox News et al. No doubt Michele Bachmann will become a full-time gifter as soon as she’s out of the House. But there are tons of second- and third-tier gifters, all cashing in nicely.
And why not? If bank robbers rob banks because that’s where the money is, grifters infest the Right because that’s where the gullibility is. People who can be made to believe in death panels can also be sold on dubious investment schemes, survivalist kits and quack arthritis cures. It’s too easy. …
… The Republican Party set itself up for this, of course, by being willing to sell out anything that might be an actual principle in order to win elections on the cheap (and dirty). I’m sure most of you are aware of the arc of demagoguery that ran from Spiro Agnew to Lee Atwater to Karl Rove. But Frankenstein’s Monster took over the laboratory, and now Karl Rove (who is still making a lot of money, apparently, in spite of his colossal failure in 2012) can’t understand why no one is listening to him.
It’s gotten worse since, of course. Trump is the ultimate con man — so far, anyway — who has overwritten a lot of the old right-wing cons that were at least loosely tied to actual conservative policy goals. The gullible are no longer concerned about aggressive foreign dictators like Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin, because of Trump. The only foreign menace they care about now are the poor Latinos hoping to cross the southern border. What’s left of the “mainstream” Republicans in Congress who do understand it’s important to support Ukraine find that their own party is no longer listening to them.
The righties never seem to notice that jack-booted thugs never come to confiscate their guns or Bibles. They probably never heard that the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, DC, didn’t even have a bsement, never mind one used by Hillary Clinton to hide trafficked children. And that brings us to QAnon. Molly Olmstead qrote a few days ago,
QAnon transformed the political landscape in the U.S., but it doesn’t have the cohesion and power it once did.
“The main accomplishment of QAnon was it got ‘the elites are sacrificing children’ codified as a big, mainstream idea on the conspiratorial right,” Jones said. “That’s firmly in there now.” But there hasn’t been a Q drop (the cryptic messages from the eponymous Q) in well over a year. And now—years into a Biden presidency in which the promises of the coming “storm” of mass arrests of Trump’s enemies failed to materialize—QAnon has been bleeding followers. “The movement has lost a lot of steam,” Jones said.
Strangely, it’s QAnon’s very success that may have made it less relevant. The ideas Q promoted in the movement’s heyday—of the powerful deep state, of the stolen election, of rampant child trafficking—have themselves become standard Republican beliefs, even if the more bizarre details haven’t succeeded beyond the core QAnon community.
“In some ways, the Q people got everyone on their team and didn’t need the trappings of QAnon anymore,” Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory expert and the author of Jewish Space Lasers, wrote in an email.
The Internet lets the crazy spread and evolve into new species of beasts at a lot faster rate than was true back in Richard Hofstadter’s day. And the gullible have all been trained to avoid mainstream media in favor of the likes of OAN and Townhall (Fox is now too mainstream for some of them), where they will hear only what the grifters want them to hear.
If QAnon lost credibility with some of them, maybe there’s hope. But most likely the end of one fantasy conspiracy theory will just be the beginning of several more. The best we can hope for is if Trump and Trumpism are separated from political power, the MAGAts will no longer have to be catered to by the entire Republican Party. We’ll see.
Update: A “recent grift news” link I left out — from Craig Silverman at ProPublica, Right-Wing Websites Connected to Former Trump Lawyer Are Scamming Loyal Followers With Phony Celebrity Pitches.