President Trump is the hero of many a Capra film
DC Larson recently pointed out in an American Thinker publication that Donald J. Trump is a real-life John Doe, the populist hero from one of Frank Capra’s four great populist movies, “Meet John Doe” (1941). Larson is, of course, correct in comparing Mr. Trump to John Doe. I would go further, as I see indicia of other Capra populist heroes in the former president as well: Longfellow Deeds in “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936); Jefferson Smith in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939); and George Bailey in “It's a Wonderful Life” (1946).
In every one of these wonderful, populist movies, the hero finds himself targeted for destruction by a villainous character representing the establishment (or Deep State, if you will). Like D.B. Norton in John Doe, we have: Attorney Cedar, in Deeds; Sen. Paine in Mr. Smith; and Henry F. Potter in Wonderful Life.
That Donald J. Trump was a populist president I have no doubt. His inaugural address could have been a speech in a Frank Capra movie. Consider merely the third and fourth paragraphs of that outstanding oration, evocative of the spirit of Madison’s populist credo in Federalist Paper No. 57:
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government, while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs, and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes, starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment — it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today, and everyone watching, all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.
The media, on behalf of the Deep State, gave this populist declaration back-of-the-hand treatment, denouncing it as “dark” among other snarky comments. Here is Dan Balz at The Washington Post:
Trump did not attack government. Instead he attacked the establishment, those who he said had taken advantage of their power in government at the expense of the people.
This sentence amounts to a paraphrase of the opening line of Federalist No. 57, “an aggrandizing class aim[ing] at an ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of the few.”
But more than just the post, it seems as though the entire Trump resistance in the media colluded and conspired to label the populist speech as “dark.” See some headlines below:
New York Times with ‘a dark rhetorical cloud over Washington’
Vanity Fair with ‘Trump’s dark, raw inauguration speech shocks Washington’
The New Yorker with ‘A Dark Inaugural’
USAToday with ‘Trump’s short, dark and defiant Inaugural’
The Washington Post with ‘In his dark ‘America First’ inaugural speech….’
New York Magazine with ‘Trump’s dark, weird, inaugural campaign speech’
From day one of the Trump presidency, it was the populist leader vs. the Deep State. The Deep State enacted a scorched-earth policy, just as the anti-populists of the four Capra films were out to utterly destroy the community activist John Doe, the socially-minded Deeds, the idealist Sen. Jefferson Smith, and the pro-people small businessman George Bailey.
The Trump-haters, like the cabal of corporate leaders in John Doe committed to razing the little guy, we saw: a crooked lawyer in Deeds, seek to remove the hero as mentally ill (remember the calls for Trump’s removal via the 25th?); corrupt senators in Mr. Smith try to crush the patriotic icon by their tight control of the media; a vile and greedy banker who is the very personification of evil embezzle money from Bailey’s small business to lead to an indictment and jail time for the hardworking American.
Each of the elements separately employed to destroy the populist heroes of Capra’s quartet, effectively called for “communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments” to “thoroughly destroy” Trump and “his kind.”
Spoiler alert: the good guys won.
Moral of the Capra quartet: the MAGA-kind must ignore the villainous demonizing from the foes of populism, be aware of the media’s censorship, and remain steadfast in support of the Capraesque MAGA leaders.
Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.