Surprised by the tsunami of books about Donald Trump since 2016: one of many surprises!
By Henry H. Bucher, Jr., Faculty Emeritus in Humanities, Austin College
The ‘mother of all books’ about President Trump was in process during the 2016 elections but was not published until 2017.* Since these 37 essays were published, over 30 more books have been published and they are still coming as we leave September. About 5 (some by family members) are favorable to Donald Trump. Some other books were published about him as a business man before he became president.
Many US presidents have had books published about them, usually after their time in office, but books about Donald Trump have broken the record due to several factors. With the November elections so close, more authors have chosen a good time to write on a hot political and economic topic. Moreover, the technology of publishing has made it faster and easier to provide books at less expense in several formats (audio, visual, kindle, etc.). Many become overnight best sellers due to instant advertising, including newscasts on major national media. I am waiting for a creative author with the resources (including speed-reading ghost writers) to publish a book which includes a three-page summary of each of these books about Donald Trump.
Since the late 1900s, we have been used to ‘October surprises’ in an election year. In 2020, we have an abundance of surprises including the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak last spring, and learning how little our leaders responded to the first warnings in January. To those who believed the promises that COVID “would soon go away,” the virus’ resurgence was a surprise. The devastating fires in our west coast and the floods elsewhere are not surprising; but their intensity and longevity is. It is surprising how many science-deniers miss the fact that a global pandemic and global climate change demand cooperation of our global community if we are serious about our future. The Black Lives Matter movement should not be a surprise to anyone following the slow progress of civil rights in the USA; yet the surprise might be how more citizens of all shades have taken civil rights more seriously in recent months; and the increasingly important role of our black citizens in national politics. The same can be said of the role of women. It is not a surprise that our ‘upside-down’ president is moving even farther away from inclusive leadership and encouraging white supremacists!
One recent ‘end of September’ surprise was the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the more surprising response by Republicans. Then another surprise: the first nationally televised ‘debate’ between the president and our former vice-president—the surprise was in its failure as a debate. More surprises soon followed: both the President and First Lady tested positive for COVID-19 soon after close encounters with about 20 other staff in the people’s White House. How this will affect the election may provide many more surprises!
With what polls are telling us, the greatest ‘November surprise’ would be for Donald Trump to legally win four more years; yet if Joe Biden wins as predicted by polls, the greatest ‘November-to-January surprise(s)’ should be how Donald Trump reacts as a ‘lame duck’ and how our country deals with his reactions.
As we move into the fall and winter of 2020, the greatest surprise would be to have no more surprises.
*A collection of essays by psychiatrists and mental health experts, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, was the result of a Yale project which was updated in March, 2019 (Macmillan).