Swamps are ecosystems, biosystems, zones that contain tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of species. Left to their own devices, they pretty much manage themselves. All the various species interact and each comes to dominance over others while also finding themselves prey to stronger and more aggressive species.
Alligators don’t drain the swamp. Mosquitos don’t drain the swamp. Water moccasins, herons, lizards and frogs and toads – none of them drain the swamp. So who drains the swamp?
Developers. Developers drain the swamp to build golf courses or neighborhoods for a species that doesn’t want the bother of dealing with all those other pesky species.
Now, we understand that Mr Drumpf was using an analogy, but it’s certainly interesting that he would use that particular one. As a developer, he understands all about the clearing out of well-established species to make way for a big development project aimed at the comfort of his clients and the riches it will bring to him. And he well understands what that same analogy does in the minds of people who don’t really think about their government and the tender balance in which it survives.
And more important, he understands that he can leave the details of that analogy in the mud, as he wades into the murk himself, gathering to him many of those whom he only recently vilified in order to get elected. Because he didn’t mean ‘drain the whole swamp’ – he meant ‘drain the other guys out of the swamp.’ And many of his voters knew that implicitly anyway.
Developers lie to get their way. They’ll tell the prospective seller that they just can’t afford that price, or that building around the corner went for much less while being worth much more, or that the neighborhood is bound for some unpleasant zoning which will decrease property values in a year or two, or that his development will create many many jobs. And developers know the ins & outs of the bribery system, where a few thousand (or hundred thousand) bucks will grease the wheels under any project they are moving along. Yes, shocking as that sounds, they’ll lie to get whatever they want.
We’ve personally seen it over and over – and perhaps you have too: sacred lands mined or drilled for oil, virgin forests turned into golf courses dotted with McMansions, tenants evicted to make room for higher-paying ones, disused Army and Navy bases taken by the ballyhooed promise of ‘affordable housing’ or ‘low-income housing’ that is quietly dropped from the master plan years after the city council’s votes are in. “Oh, turns out that hospital/dog park/youth center turned out to not be in the budget.” And by then, the fires in the bellies of the ones who opposed him (or the ones themselves) are gone.
This guy wasn’t dumb – he was smart. Smart enough to win an election by playing way outside the zone and putting on the aspect of a straw man to convince a huge voting block of people who already feel disenfranchised. He lied over and over (so much that his own party members labeled him a “pathological liar.” He said crazy things. He used fake news stories. He made up ‘facts.’ He promised crazy things. He did what Bessemer did to steel: he got ’em hot and rolled ’em. He might have, in another era, sparked a Kristallnacht from the tinder of a population starved for recognition and angered by their own feelings of envy for others.
But this is America, and we didn’t recently get the boots beat off us in the War to End All Wars. We’ve just been knee-deep in 15 years of wars so bad that it destroyed a generation of Reservists and their families economically, emotionally and physically – and it gave almost all of the rest us a seemingly-permanent case of news-fatigue. So he had to work his will through the system (exactly where that news-fatigue came in handy).
And all those good people who believed his half-baked promises and cunning lies enough to trundle down to the booth and stick an X next to his name? Well, they’re going to be mighty disappointed when Drumpf’s chickens fail to come home, when they find that the Republican machine in which they put so much faith will ignore them and cheat them and leave them for dead… until the next time it needs their X in a box.