If Trump Were to be Hit by Lightning…

It seemed a good idea at the time, going South Carolina bucolic for a week or two to watch the GOP’s primary unfold at close quarters. The first part was easily fulfilled, as only a chronic complainiac could fault this cabin on a pond by a bend in the Waccamaw River for the peace and quiet. But being close to 2024’s shifting centre of American democracy, well that depends how you define it. Certainly there has been ample opportunity to catch up with the combatants and all the ancient rituals of the stump at distances of no more than an 90 minutes’ drive from Quadrant Online’s temporary base amid the pine trees.

This street theatre is all in the grand tradition of America’s quadrennial political roadshow and what used to count the most — those set piece exercises in baby-kissing and bunting before delegates are tallied in late summer and both major parties’ conventions anoint their latest contenders. Theodore “Teddy” White laid out the mechanics 60-plus years ago in his first Making of the President, which proved such a runaway best-seller that the the Kennedy clan’s inkiest apparatchik would take time from painting JFK’s White House as a Space Age Camelot to reprise the vignettes and snappy reporting for the 1964, 1968 and 1972 races. If you wished to understand American presidential politics you had no option but to see it as the press pack saw it — through the same lens Rolling Stone‘s Timothy Crouse in 1969 refocused on his fellow boys on the bus: “…the whole gaggle of political reporters, pundits, pontificators, network glamor boys, fawners, drunks, fornicators, wire service virtuosos, hacks, hatchet men, comers — all crammed like monkeys with typewriters in the press bus, frenetically dogging the candidates, all looking for a piece of the story, something to peg their best words on, and perhaps, after the quadrennial gig is finished, a book which might do half as well as White’s”.

Those days are long done and gone, as you might have discerned in the composition of the press corps that trailed Nikki Haley through South Carolina’s litany of tiny town appearances. No stars in that crew, no on-the-spot analysis from the big-network silverbacks filing deep thoughts to a trusting nation. None of that these days. Instead, a posse of swarming twentysomethings enlivening for a few ticks of the clock the Main streets of sleepy Monks Corner, Johns Island, Greenwood, Sumpter and a gross of other towns and hamlets you’ll never need to hear about again. The footage they caught was TV filler animated primarily by the earpiece gambits and instructions of desk editors back at  the Big Media HQs in DC, New York and LA.

Just such a moment came Saturday, primary day, as Haley wheeled her elderly and infirm mum to the voting booth in their home town of Bamberg, third-string media mob in tow. She had just finished informing reporters that America is a truly wonderful place — no news value in that observation — when a female cable-news reporter gabbled a question of such evident urgency that her words were an eruption of run-on syllables. Donald Trump, she announced rather than asked, had been at it again, this time cracking racist jokes at a gala dinner for South Carolina’s black conservatives. Haley took the baton and was off and running. Trump sows chaos … Trump makes it all about himself … Trump’s insensitivity verges on racism … Trump lacks moral clarity … and most of all, “Trump can’t win”.

This was what the modern  carnival is all about: the few fresh words per day that say something new. Tomorrow it will be another Haley reaction to something else that Trump is (mis)reported to have said, and the resulting news cycle’s stories will likely be just as misleading as the widely broadcast fantasy that he went all KKK on a room packed with black folks. Readers can watch the entire hour and 38 minute performance here and judge for themselves. The inescapable conclusion will be that the Trump show was nothing like the racist insult fest the legacy media would have its remaining audience believe.

Unusually, Trump mangled a joke, which he doesn’t do very often, and that’s what the fuss was about, an attempted wisecrack about seeing black people in the dark. His audience heard nothing more racist than a fluffed line that warranted the forgiveness of gentle  laughter. Likewise, the tape captures nothing like the fury reportedly prompted by Trump’s “outrageous” claim that his stocks are soaring because black voters recognise that he, like so many of them, has been arrested, fingerprinted, perp-snapped and dragged into court without good cause. That he would say as much should have come as no surprise. Unmentioned in the latest news coverage were Trump’s presidential pardons and reduced sentences to many black offenders, including the long dead boxer Jack Johnson, convicted in 1913 of transporting a white woman across state borders for immoral purposes. Trump was also the mover behind the First Step Act, made law in 2019, which aimed to open the prison doors for thousands of nonviolent offenders, the majority of them black — the Florida mum doing seven years for marijuana possession, for instance, the Kentucky ex-junkie who turned his life around. As long ago as 2019, Trump was openly likening the years of woe visited upon him by the Russiagate hoaxers to the plight of black Americans disproportionately targeted by law enforcement. That he would make similar remarks today isn’t news, not by any definition of the term,  which obliged those shaping the coverage to embrace deception. One example: in order to promote the Trump-hates-blacks beatup, the ABC (US) network needed a black face or two to denounce him. Critics must have been thin on the ground because the best they could find was a young fellow sympathetic to Haley and a certain Raquel Willis, “an activist and author dedicated to black and trans liberation”.  Black communities and churchgoers, if sometimes not their pastors, tend to be the least tolerant of matters gay, so what were they thinking in that ABC newsroom? That one black face is as good as another? That such a face speaks for all blacks? That black viewers will benefit from a white newsroom’s notion of their best and brightest? Ask yourself who is the racist here: the peddlers of stereotypes and patronising broad assumptions or a man so at ease with race that he can take the mickey out of it?

Again, watch the Black Conservatives tape, which is not only a fine example of Trump the Entertainer in wisecracking stump mode, but also an indication where the real election is being fought. It’s not, as once was the case, playing out on the whistlestop streets of South Succotash but in the courts, in the headlines and, as George Orwell might have observed, in that gulf between what you see and what you are told you see.


NIKKI HALEY by common accord is rated a dead woman campaigning, yet she refuses to step back and confirm Trump as the GOP contender. Indeed, the more hopeless her push for the nomination, and all the auguries say it is worse than hopeless, the harder she works, the more stock speeches she delivers on two-bit town halls’ steps, the more breakfasting diners digest her “Hi, I’m Haley” pitch with their eggs and grits. Just why Haley won’t throw in the towel isn’t much of a puzzle,  even after this past weekend’s 20-point drubbing in her home state. On the nights of the Iowa and New Hampshire defeats, also  20-pointers, she prophesised South Carolina would be a different story. It was, but only in the sense that it couldn’t have been worse.

While Trump’s margin was impressive, Haley’s 40 per cent was a mirage. Like 20 other states and New Hampshire immediately before it, South Carolina holds “open primaries” which allow Democrats who did not vote in their own contests to cast ballots in that of Republicans. Weird, but that’s the way it works, also part of the explanation for the US electoral system being the pig’s breakfast it is and, for this election, will remain. The canny Democrats staged their primary several weeks before, Joe Biden winning at a cakewalk with 220,000-odd votes against a field of local nobodies. The turnout was low while that of the GOP ballot high — get the picture? The prominence Haley continues to receive as a GOPer, the favourable coverage for every jibe at Trump, is owed in no small part to Democrat mischief.

Haley is hanging in there for one reason only: if Trump is hit by lightning, gets locked up or drops dead (without or without assistance), she might, just might, have a crack at the ticket’s top spot, which made Monday’s headlines a case of good news/bad news. On the upside, Judge Arthur Engoron in New York and the state’s Attorney-General Letitia James (presented somewhat imaginatively atop this page) have been gloating at the prospect of seizing Trump’s buildings in lieu of the $454 million fine with which he has been saddled. Given that the ruling also imposes onerous restrictions on Trump’s ability to borrow and leverage his properties, such seizures are more than mere tough talk. To the downside, the Koch political operation announced on the eve of tomorrow’s Michigan primary it would no longer be keeping Haley and her bus on the road.

Win some, lose everywhere but never abandon hope. That seems to be Haley’s campaign theme.


ON SUNDAY morning all the local churches were full, which might be taken as testimony to the redemption of nearby Tabor City, North Carolina, once known as Razor City but now happy to bill itself as World Yam Capital. Bobby Hobbs, an old-timer I met up with in the diner, explained over bacon and waffles that liquor laws and proximity to the South Carolina border — “You could spit over it from here” — were the reason for all those homicides. “There was a killing every week when I was boy. Young men come over the border, get liquored, fight and kill each other. I believe we had the highest murder rate known to man.”

I’d first met Bobby when he helped me with a recalcitrant starter motor. He’d come from church and shamed my flying fork when the food arrived by pausing to say a silent Grace. As his fellow congregants arrived, he introduced me to a couple and the talk quite naturally turned to the election of the day before.

Were they happy with the result? Very much so. There wasn’t a voice at the table other than that of a Trump supporter.

“What they did to him, what they’re doing to him,” said a mechanic called Tyler, “It’s not right.”

There was silence for a few seconds, an emphatic pause. Was there a touch of embarrassment in it, I fancied, that patriotic Americans  raised since childhood to believe their nation a light to the world were painfully now obliged to admit  their revered institutions — the courts,  Congress, the FBI et al — are not as they should be.

The talk returned to catfish and deer and, this being the South, to weaponry and hunting. That silence, it seemed a little ominous.









19 thoughts on “If Trump Were to be Hit by Lightning…

  • Peter Smith says:

    Enjoyable read Roger. Tyler is perceptive.
    What’s happening to Trump is the end times for the U.S.
    Persecuting the political opposition is the habit of corrupt regimes in corrupt societies. This has little to do with the letter of whatever constitution is in place. It is all and only do with the character of people. Have enough people with flawed characters in positions of influence and power and the rule of law goes by the wayside. Democrats seem to have lost any rectitude they may have had some decades back. This augurs badly for the U.S. and, by extension, for us all.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Re “…but also an indication where the real election is being fought…in the courts and in the headlines”. It seems likely that the election result will actually be decided by the CIA. The capability is there. So is the motive (to protect American democracy from the deplorables).

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Roger, keep up the posts, as it’s the only one I can get that is calling it real from the ground in the US.
    Concerning the Donald Trump travesty, I can’t see how any court can get away with a fine of $355,000,000 for what they consider to be overvaluation of assets on a bank loan, a very minor and common thing, when even the bank accepted it all, and no doubt the loan has been repayed long ago.
    What’s it got to do with the courts anyway, surely it’s a private commercial arrangement with both parties agreeing.
    If someone , anyone, can come up with a charge so minor, that is actually accepted by a court to hear, then surely no one is safe, and if they can slap a fine on of such a ridiculously large amount they have the power to bankrupt anyone, even the government.
    They could just as easily have made the fine $1,000,000,000,000. to make sure of it. Surely it’s total nonsense and totally unlawful and should be thrown out completely on appeal, with charges against whoever has done it in the first place ?

    • ianl says:

      There is still a nagging question here. There have been reports that Trump *must* pay the fine plus damages before an appeal can be heard.

      Since this is the dancing point for angels on pinheads, it seems unlikely we will be given a direct, reliable answer; rather, it will be groaned on, drop by drop. At least, that is the current state of play as I comprehend it.

  • pgang says:

    It’s difficult to see Trump beating the Democratic ballot rigging machine. Will there be another plandemic by mid year? I also expect the GOP to move against Trump in the lawfare battle, but I guess that will depend on how they read the public outrage. It’s the only explanation I have for Haley’s continued running.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Lightning is quite possible. It is likely the CIA and the Pentagon are currently running research programs in secret labs in Ukraine and California to generate precision-guided lightning strikes. These strikes would come from invisible vehicles, orbiting in the stratosphere, capable of generating short bursts of high energy laser-guided electrical energy equivalent to discharging 9 trillion Lithium EV batteries in a nanosecond. Targeting would be managed by Google AI. There would be no warning for the victim except a slight smell of burning immediately preceding impact. People nearby would only be blinded, but the victim would be instantly vaporised. At the same time, AI would erase all records of the victim’s existence.

  • lenton1 says:

    As inevitable as this (nor any war) need not be, anyone who has been paying attention (and Americans pay much more attention than the average Aussie, tho the Voice shellacking gives one hope) knows where this is heading. I am slowly coming to understand Americans’ attitude towards gun ownership, perhaps the only thing that might provide a modicum of deterrence from total leftie Democrat totalitarianism. Meanwhile, the real threat (and we all know who that is) just sits idly by (for now) having, unlike ourselves, learned the wisdom “don’t disturb your enemy while (he) is making mistakes”. But remember this one thing lefties; there will be NO seat at the high table for you either. Those whom abhor our ways disrespect even more those who undermine their own civilisation, that is why they only see you as the paramount “useful idiots” you all are. A most accurate and well earned epithet if ever there were. Mr. Handsome Boy (never meant as a compliment) ought remind himself of that.

  • favfern says:

    I cannot understand why people who are so obviously intelligent as the readers of Quadrant could be suckered in by a psychopathic narcissist — like Trump! This man has been a fraud for all his life! He is a liar of proportions that make black holes look small! He continues to deny that he lost the election against Biden, even though every court that adjudicated on his bullshit — deemed it bullshit! This man may have done a few good things during his first term — standing up to China was good — but he negated all that good by cosying up to his fellow psychopath, Putin! This bloke is the ultimate “flim-flam” man! For heaven’s sake, don’t be foolish enough to fall for it!

    • Helmond says:

      I can’t understand how so many contributors to Quadrant think Trump is the hope of America and the free world.

      Watching him on TV, it is clear that he is a buffoon of the first order. Basically stupid as far what’s required to run Land of the Free, but has heaps of rat cunning. A man that makes policy on the run on Twitter (X) is a real worry.

      Struck by lightning? Maybe I’d start to believe in God. Where is a latterday LHO or JWB when you need one?

      The Trump supporters in Quadrant would probably be extolling the virtues of Mickey Mouse, so long as he was endorsed by the GOP.

      Make America Great Agian? Sure as hell didn’t do all that much in his first (and hopefully only) term.

      Yes, Biden’s too old to run again, but if Biden and Trump are the best candidates, then the USA is in deep trouble.

    • john mac says:

      So you prefer Biden then , eh ? I pity you .

      • Helmond says:

        It’s a hard chioce. Biden is too old and Trump is a a poltroon. Do you watch Trump’s antics on TV and think this guy would be great to have as President again?
        We might sometimes deplore our political leaders, but for the most part countries seem to move forward anyway.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Saying grace for your food is a big deal in the Southern US, as we found when visiting rellies there recently. Once you’ve picked up your cutlery too soon on one occasion, you never do it again. Wait and see what they do, that’s the rule. I recall grace being said before school dinners in England when I was eleven, back in England after being in Australian schools. Can’t imagine that it takes place now in the UK’s ‘inclusive’ world.
    Grace now seems to have gone very much by-the-by in Australia too. Just another small sign of Western culture in decline.

    • Helmond says:

      Elizabeth, I’m sorry to tell you that there is no God and saying grace before meals is a meaningless ritual.

      If you want to thank someone, try maybe the person who bought the food, or the cook, or the farmers who grew it, or the supermarket who sold it. They’re all real and deserving of praise; God isn’t,

      It bothers me that so many Quadrant contributors who seem so erudite on matters social and political, apparently subscribe to the notion that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving man watching over us.

      There simply isn’t! I suggest true believers log into YouTube and punch in George Carlin God. Lots of profanities, but George will tell you how stupid religion is.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    “He is a liar of proportions that make black holes look small! ”

    Only if you read the MSM spin on anything that Trump says or does.
    Clearly, you do, and you believe every word, including the good intent of some skewed courts.
    I think you would be better to take your TDS to a more sympathetic and perhaps less intelligent audience.

    • john mac says:

      Hear , hear , Elizabeth ! It appears we have a couple of trolls at QOL. No mention from them of the worst President in history (Biden) doddering and groping and mangling his way about . No salient observation ( that the average American can see ) of the “throw everything plus the kitchen sink” at Trump in the greatest media/legal/political persecution anyone has ever seen , and as Trump says – “They’re not after me , they’re after you ” which clearly these blow-ins don’t understand .

  • Sindri says:

    Not a Trump supporter (and emphatically not a Biden supporter), but very pleased to see that the Supreme Court unanimously — the liberals and all — rejected the absurd, virtue-signalling idea that a state court could determine who goes on the ballot for president.

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