Emil Guillermo: Chaotic Trump? America wants a generic donkey

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If ever there was an argument for cameras in the courtroom, it was last Monday when Donald Trump took the witness stand for three-and-a-half hours in his civil fraud case in Manhattan and made a mockery of the legal system–and of our democracy.


If you and I had pulled a stunt like that, we’d be hogtied and sent back to the slammer until we could behave civilly.

Never happened? Recall the October 1969 trial of Bobby Seale, a leader of the Black Panther Party, who was accused with seven white men of conspiracy involving riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

For his interruptions during the trial, Seale was bound and gagged before the jury.

If a person of color was disruptive in court today, what would have happened? Surely, he would been removed from the courtroom.

But Trump? Talk about special treatment. Granted, it was not a criminal case, but compared to Seale, Trump was allowed to throw a tantrum. He did as he pleased, talking irrelevancies, even attacking the judge verbally.

Keep in mind, the judge, the sole arbiter, had already determined Trump was liable for inflating the value of his New York assets. This case in New York State Supreme Court is now in its penalty phase, when it may have behooved Trump to kiss up to the judge rather than antagonize.

That was not the case on Monday.

A few live camera shots before the proceedings began, or a court sketch once they did, were inadequate. They could not capture what breathless reporters reading text dispatches on cable news tried to report.

Trump was Trump, the self-contradiction machine. He denied all charges of fraud, but when asked about who was responsible for preventing or detecting fraud, Trump could not help but admit responsibility when he answered, “Everybody.”

Trump was his own fall guy in a case where the judge has the power to dismantle Trump’s businesses.

We could read the transcripts. But it would have been great to have it on camera. Even in this siloed information world, seeing is still believing.

And there are more than a few who need to see the truth. With a year to go until the 2024 elections, a new poll puts Trump as America’s choice, despite all the indictments and legal baggage. Again.


That’s my scary takeaway from the New York Times/Siena College Poll released last Sunday.

It was bad news for President Biden, who in five key battleground states was losing to Trump. The polls showed Trump ahead 48 percent to Biden’s 44 percent among registered voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. It’s enough to likely give Trump a win by electoral votes. The sixth key battleground state, Wisconsin, had Biden in the lead.

The poll also revealed that the only person who could beat Trump handily would be an “unnamed, generic Democrat.”

This unnamed generic Democrat would beat Trump by plus 8 percentage points. That’s even beyond the margin of error.

Sign him/her/they up?

It seems since Trump made division and polarization an American way of life, people are yearning for the basics again. Generic. Remember going to the store and ditching the name brand for a product plainly labeled “Ketchup.” Or a can that said in black and white, “Beer.”

Cheaper. No surprises. That’s what would win handily for the Democrats.

So who could be this generic donkey?

It’s not Kamala Harris, who on her own would lose to Trump, but not as badly as Biden, according to the Times poll.

But Harris is still the best thing going for Biden, as the vice-president has strong appeal with BIPOC and younger voters. If all Harris voters voted for Biden, he’d win narrowly against Trump, the poll implies. But most Harris voters are unenthused. Thirty-six percent of the Harris supporters said a Biden re-election would be bad. Only nine percent said it would be good.

Biden needs Harris to attract and solidify the Black, Hispanic, and younger voters who are turning away from Biden in double digits, according to the poll.

And if you’re wondering where AAPIs are on the spectrum, I figure there must not have been a significant number of Asians in the polling sample to report out anything definitive. Anecdotally, I’d say Asians are probably in line with Biden. His administration has always had the back of the community, especially during the pandemic’s rise in AAPI hate attacks.

A poll on election week 2023 is at least a good warning. The election that matters is still a year away. Now if only there had been a camera shot of Trump’s chaos in court last Monday, with a reminder how people of color would never have gotten away with it. That would be a tell-tale side-by-side comparison.

As you see the votes being counted from this week, ask yourself: what kind of country do we really want?

Already Trump is gearing up to re-enact the Insurrection Act from day one in the event of winning the presidency again. He wants that so the military and FBI can be deployed instantly to put down people who protest in civil demonstrations, according to the Washington Post.

The out-of-control former president is already laying the foundation for American fascism. He’d hogtie everyone who disagreed with him, or much worse.

That’s the campaign idea to keep in mind.

You think Biden is too old? Trump may be too authoritarian for democracy’s sake.

America votes a year from now and a lot can happen, including the emergence of a generic donkey.

Any hee-haws or she-haws out there?

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NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on