I think I’m starting to get what Ivanka means by ‘Make America Great Again’

I think I’m starting to get what Ivanka means by ‘Make America Great Again’ July 22, 2016

Trump Tower in New York - Reworked version of Image:Drumpf-Tower.jpg by smial [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Trump Tower in New York – Reworked version of Image: Trump-Tower.jpg by smial [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
For Ivanka, America is Trump Tower, rising above the postindustrial wasteland. ‘Maybe it’s the developer in him,’ she says, ‘but Donald Trump cannot stand to see empty main streets and boarded up factories.’ In a physical landscape, the Donald would build a tower; if he becomes president, though, this scene would be composed of policy. Ivanka continues: ‘He can’t bear the injustice of college graduates who are crippled by student debt, and mothers who can’t afford the childcare required to return to work to better the lives of their families.’ The empty streets and the closed factories of the bureaucratic land of policy are those who are denied the opportunity to work – and by this, Ivanka means, to be an entrepreneur – because you can’t start a business if you are buried under student debt or unable to be a #WomanWhoWorks.

And thus she tells her audience that her father will set them free. Imagine, she intones, my father’s fantasies becoming your reality. It is perhaps unseemly to put things like this: the Donald’s fantasies, of course, seem mostly phallic in nature, extending even to Ivanka, who has (as he puts it) ‘the best body.‘ But phallic though a tower may be, it is at least – as Ivanka puts it – a ‘result’:

When my father says that he will build a tower, keep an eye on the skyline. Floor by floor a soaring structure will appear, usually record setting in its height and iconic in its design. Real people are hired to do real work. Vision becomes reality. When my father says that he will make America great again, he will deliver.

You want my father’s fantasies to become a reality, Ivanka is saying. Never mind that it is a phallus. Never mind that it is a fantasy. It is a work of artistic creation that you, my beloved audience, want to be part of, because my father will – unlike the politicians in Washington – get the job done, which means that you will get a job in the Trump Organization when my father becomes president. Therefore, and now verbatim:

I ask you to judge my father by his results. Judge his values by those he’s instilled in his children. Judge his competency by the towers he’s built, the companies he’s founded, and the tens of thousands of jobs he’s created.

What could this mean, but that America itself is destined to become synonymous with the Trump Organization?

Here is where the language about job sites makes sense. Like Trump Tower, the rising of America above the wasteland landscape requires construction labour. America, Ivanka says, is this job site. Like a job site, America is a meritocracy: ‘When run properly, construction sites are true meritocracies. Competence in the building trades is easy to spot and incompetence is impossible to hide.’ Like a job site, America is also a melting pot: ‘These sites are also incredible melting pots, gathering people from all walks of life and uniting them to work towards a single mission. There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites.’ And like a job site, America has women representing ’46 percent of the total U.S. labor force, and 40 percent of American households have female primary breadwinners’: ‘And long before it was common place,’ Ivanka says about the job site, ‘you also saw women.’

To be a citizen of Trump Nation, then, is to be a construction worker on the new Trump Tower, the nation. To put it more starkly, you are not citizens, for you are now my father’s employees. And my father, she would say (for she does say this), treats his employees democratically:

On every one of his projects, you’ll see him talking to the super, the painter, the engineers, the electricians, he’ll ask them for their feedback, if they think something should be done differently, or could be done better. When Donald Trump is in charge, all that counts is ability, effort and excellence.

Every employee, in other words, is an entrepreneur in his or her own right, which means that the employee is the entrepreneur who is the citizen. This is no mere presidential campaign, then; this is a presentation for a corporate merger between the democratic state and private enterprise, something that even Mitt Romney never dared to dream about. After all, Bain Capital was never equated with America, much as Paul Ryan touted Romney’s business experience as ‘a good thing‘ for America.

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