kompromat noun ​/ˈkɒm.prə.mæt/ /ˈkɑːm.prə.mæt/

Kompromat refers to materials collected specifically for the purpose of blackmailing the target. It’s a Russian portmanteau of komprometiruyushchiy, “compromising,” and material, “material,” and if those Russian words look familiar, it’s because they are; they were borrowed into Russian from English.

The Art of the Steal
by Elizabeth|Nov 2017

Dear Mr. President,
I recently visited the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and stood in awe before the collection of books once belonging to Thomas Jefferson; hundreds of books that Jefferson not only owned, but read. Jefferson, along with the other founding fathers, soaked up knowledge like a sponge to construct the foundation of our beloved country. And while I was standing there, it dawned on me that you, Mr. Trump, actually equate your presidency to Jefferson’s. You believe your existence parallels the most glorious minds who have ever walked this earth; how dare you, Mr. President. You my dear, are the furthest thing from brilliant. You are a disgraceful troglodyte, who lives in a cave of Twitter war, ranting away on how the world owes you everything, and forsaking any responsibility for the chaos you have created. You are nothing more than an accidental president, a creation of tweets, reality television, and Russian data mining. You barely have a grasp on the English language, have no appreciation of history, or any understanding of government, law, or world affairs, except when it comes to judging Miss Universe. You are neither a patriot nor a real American, rather a snarly, contemptuous goon, who only knows how to buy his way to a false declaration of respect by pledging allegiance to Putin.

What helped get you elected, will also be your demise; you duped Americans in the flyover states who were so hungry for change, they were willing to try just about anything-- even a sexist, egotistical bigot, who insulted their moral and religious parameters. New Yorkers have wanted nothing to do with you for decades. During the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Michael Bloomberg called you out for what you are-- a con, who was desperately seeking a new group of dopes. But make no mistake dear, the Americans in the Midwest and the South that you conned are no dopes; they are hardworking, smart people who seem to have finally caught up to where New Yorkers have been for years. Your orange glow is waning and the loud drivel that spews out of your mouth no longer seems like erudition to them, rather the ramblings of a madman who is literally promising to turn coal into diamonds.

So while you tweet away in the dark chamber of hate you’ve created for yourself at 5am, just remember this-- you may be a president for now, but you will never be one of THE presidents of the United States. All 44 presidents who came before you were worthy of their titles. You are worthy of nothing except having the skills to buy your way to the White House with the help of KGB expertise. Your very existence is an insult to our democracy and even the very worst dictators of regimes across the globe think you’re a fool. You have spent your entire adult life preying on victims who mistook your ostentatious lifestyle for a gateway to prosperity, dangling glitz and fast talk in their faces, while robbing them blind; and as soon as you ran out of professionals to hoodwink, you moved on to the taxpayers, all the way to the Oval Office.

The problem is, and you once said this yourself, "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on." More and more, the people who voted for you are realizing that they have nothing to be excited about; that you have no "goods" to deliver. The patina of shit you're covered in is starting to stink and soon your supporters won't be able to tolerate it. Your legacy will be stealing a presidential election with the help of a foreign adversary, and sending out hate tweets about the person you stole it from. You lack empathy or remorse for harming the people who have devoted themselves to you because your sociopathic behavior worked for you as a businessman. But now Mr. President, you are standing on the world stage, 365 days of the year; and everyone can observe your nonsensical buffoonery. You don't have that much time left dear, before everyone labels you as the Emperor who is fond of new clothes, especially the ones Made in China.
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Selected Readings On Trump: Con Man of the Century

The Apotheosis of Donald J. Trump
by Thomas B. Edsall


No previous nominee has been so much the creation of social media and so little the creation of a political party. Trump’s violation of ethical and business norms are available for all to see. (For an exhaustive and informative compendium, see the Atlantic’s recent summary, “The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet.”) While Haley Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, called it a “nothingburger,” allegations that on the opening night of the convention Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech reinforced the image of Trump and his family as duplicitous. Michael Murphy, a former supporter of Jeb Bush, called the mood among Republican operatives on Tuesday morning “something between grim resignation and the Donner Party.” Perhaps most important is the acquiescence of the Republican Party and of a large segment of the voting public to Trump’s flagrant disregard for democratic procedure in politics and governing.
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No, Trump, We Can’t Just Get Along
by Charles M. Blow


You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver. I am not easily duped by dopes. I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn’t just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth. It’s not that I don’t believe that people can change and grow. They can. But real growth comes from the accepting of responsibility and repenting of culpability. Expedient reversal isn’t growth; it’s gross. So let me say this on Thanksgiving: I’m thankful to have this platform because as long as there are ink and pixels, you will be the focus of my withering gaze. I’m thankful that I have the endurance and can assume a posture that will never allow what you represent to ever be seen as everyday and ordinary. No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.
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My meeting with Donald Trump: A damaged, pathetic personality — whose obvious impairment has only go
by Bill Curry


I arrived at Trump Tower in early evening, accompanied by my finance chair and an old friend and colleague. Stepping off the elevator into his apartment, we were met by a display of sterile, vulgar ostentation: all gold, silver, brass, marble; nothing soft, welcoming or warm. Trump soon appeared and we began to converse, but not really. In campaigns, we candidates do most of the talking; because we like to, and because people ask us lots of questions. Not this time. Not by a long shot. Trump talked very rapidly and virtually nonstop for nearly an hour; not of my campaign or even of politics, but only of himself, and almost always in the third person. He’d given himself a nickname: "the Trumpster," as in “everybody wants to know what the Trumpster’s gonna do,” a claim he made more than once. He mostly told stories. Some were about his business deals; others about trips he’d taken or things he owned. All were unrelated to the alleged point of our meeting, and to one another. That he seldom even attempted segues made each tale seem more disconnected from reality than the last. It was funny at first, then pathetic, and finally deeply unsettling.
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Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties
by Suzanne Craig


On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one. But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.
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When the World Is Led by a Child
by David Brooks


At certain times Donald Trump has seemed like a budding authoritarian, a corrupt Nixon, a rabble-rousing populist or a big business corporatist. But as Trump has settled into his White House role, he has given a series of long interviews, and when you study the transcripts it becomes clear that fundamentally he is none of these things. At base, Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.
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America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’
by Charles M. Blow


Trump becomes a tool of those in possession of legacy power in this country — and those who feel that power is their rightful inheritance — who are pulling every possible lever to enshrine and cement that power. Suppressing the vote. Restricting immigration. Putting the brakes on cultural inclusion. Make America great again. Turn back the clock to a time when privileges of whiteness were supreme and unassailable, misogyny was simply viewed as an extension of masculinity, women got back-alley abortions and worked for partial wages, coal was king and global warming was purely academic, and trans people weren’t in our bathrooms or barracks. The good old days.
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How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump
by Scott Shane, Nicholas Confessore and Matthew Rosenberg

Seven months ago, a respected former British spy named Christopher Steele won a contract to build a file on Donald J. Trump’s ties to Russia. Last week, the explosive details — unsubstantiated accounts of frolics with prostitutes, real estate deals that were intended as bribes and coordination with Russian intelligence of the hacking of Democrats — were summarized for Mr. Trump in an appendix to a top-secret intelligence report. The consequences have been incalculable and will play out long past Inauguration Day. Word of the summary, which was also given to President Obama and congressional leaders, leaked to CNN Tuesday, and the rest of the media followed with sensational reports. Mr. Trump denounced the unproven claims Wednesday as a fabrication, a Nazi-style smear concocted by “sick people.” It has further undermined his relationship with the intelligence agencies and cast a shadow over the new administration.
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Donald, This I Will Tell You
by Maureen Dowd

You promised to get the best people around you in the White House, the best of the best. In fact, “best” is one of your favorite words. Instead, you dragged that motley skeleton crew into the White House and let them create a feuding, leaking, belligerent, conspiratorial, sycophantic atmosphere. Instead of a smooth, classy operator like James Baker, you have a Manichaean anarchist in Steve Bannon. You knew the Republicans were full of hot air. They haven’t had to pass anything in a long time, and they have no aptitude for governing. To paraphrase an old Barney Frank line, asking the Republicans to govern is like asking Frank to judge the Miss America contest — “If your heart’s not in it, you don’t do a very good job.” You knew that Paul Ryan’s vaunted reputation as a policy wonk was fake news. Republicans have been running on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and they never even bothered to come up with a valid alternative.
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Why Vladimir Putin's Russia Is Backing Donald Trump
by Kurt Eichenwald

In phone calls, meetings and cables, America’s European allies have expressed alarm to one another about Donald Trump’s public statements denying Moscow’s role in cyberattacks designed to interfere with the U.S. election. They fear the Republican nominee for president has emboldened the Kremlin in its unprecedented cybercampaign to disrupt elections in multiple countries in hopes of weakening Western alliances, according to intelligence, law enforcement and other government officials in the United States and Europe. While American intelligence officers have privately briefed Trump about Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. election, he has publicly dismissed that information as unreliable, instead saying this hacking of incredible sophistication and technical complexity could have been done by some 400-pound “guy sitting on their bed” or even a child.
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All of Trump’s Russia Ties, in 7 Charts
by Michael Crowley

What is the real story of Donald Trump and Russia? The answer is still unclear, and Democrats in Congress want to get to the bottom of it with an investigation. But there’s no doubt that a spider web of connections—some public, some private, some clear, some murky—exists between Trump, his associates and Russian President Vladimir Putin. These charts illustrate dozens of those links, including meetings between Russian officials and members of Trump’s campaign and administration; his daughter’s ties to Putin’s friends; Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant; and his short-lived mixed martial arts venture with one of Putin’s favorite athletes. The solid lines mark established facts, while dotted ones represent speculative or unproven connections.
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President Donald Trump
by Roger Cohen

President Donald Trump. Get used to it. The world as we knew it is no more. To give Trump credit, he had a single formidable intuition: That American anger and uncertainty in the face of the inexorable march of globalization and technology had reached such a pitch that voters were ready for disruption at any cost. Enough of elites; enough of experts; enough of the status quo; enough of the politically correct; enough of the liberal intelligentsia and cultural overlords with their predominant place in the media; enough of the financial wizards who brought the 2008 meltdown and stagnant incomes and jobs disappearing offshore. That, in essence, was Trump’s message. A New Yorker, he contrived to channel the frustrations of the heartland, a remarkable sleight of hand.
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Trump Turns GOP Into a Conspiracy of Dunces
by Rick Wilson

The Republican Party’s head-first dive into breathless conspiratorial fantasies in defense of Donald Trump is a brand-defining moment as the Party of Lincoln morphs into the Party of LaRouche. Listening as members of Congress, the Fox News/talk-radio world and the constellation of batshit-crazy people drawn to Esoteric Trumpism adopt increasingly baroque theories to protect The Donald isn’t just depressing; it’s tragic. A diseased slurry of fake news, post-Truth Trumpism, and Russkie agitprop infects the Republican Party. It’s an ebola of wild-eyed MK-ULTRA paranoiac raving, spreading to every organ of the Republican body politic.
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The America We Lost When Trump Won
by Kevin Baker

Today’s passive, unhappy Americans sat on their couches and chose a strutting TV clown to save us. What they have done is a desecration, a foolish and vindictive act of vandalism, by which they betrayed all the best and most valiant labors of our ancestors. We don’t want to accept this, because we cannot accept that the people, at least in the long run of things, can be wrong in our American democracy. But they can be wrong, just like any people, anywhere. And until we do accept this abject failure of both our system and ourselves, there is no hope for our redemption. A couple of days after the election I watched on CNN as red-faced Russian apparatchiks in Moscow toasted one another on their great success. “Hurrah!” I thought. “No more American exceptionalism! We have joined up with the drunken idiot of history!” Once Russians, too, and especially Russian writers, were certain that there was a special destiny for the Russian soul.
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The Mind of Donald Trump
by Dan P. McAdams

Trump seems supremely cognizant of the fact that he is always acting. He moves through life like a man who knows he is always being observed. If all human beings are, by their very nature, social actors, then Donald Trump seems to be more so—superhuman, in this one primal sense. Many questions have arisen about Trump during this campaign season—about his platform, his knowledge of issues, his inflammatory language, his level of comfort with political violence. This article touches on some of that. But its central aim is to create a psychological portrait of the man. Who is he, really? How does his mind work? How might he go about making decisions in office, were he to become president? And what does all that suggest about the sort of president he’d be?
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Donald Trump’s Political Stew
by Thomas B. Edsall

Trump has oriented the party toward heightened anger, intensified racial resentment, animosity to immigrants and opposition to trade. This is an exceptionally volatile mix. Trump is fanning rather than quelling the flames — everything he has done so far has been to raise, not lower, the heat. The next question is whether the Republican Party will be able to continue to exploit this mix or whether it will boil over in ways that cannot be predicted.
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Trump's Collusion with Russia Was Hiding In Plain Sight
by Julian Sanchez

Trump’s praise of Vladimir Putin—grounded in an affection that long predates his political career—was public, as was his gleeful exploitation of the fruits of hacks against his opponents and encouragement of more of the same, as was his attempt to exculpate Russia long after the intelligence community had reached consensus about their responsibility, as was his use on the campaign trail of stories pushed out by Russian state media. Trump could see they were helping him, they could see he appreciated it and was reciprocating. What, exactly, would have been the marginal benefit of some further secret communication making this happy symbiosis a matter of explicit agreement? Collusion would have been redundant. One benefit might be apprising the Trump campaign about what to expect, or inquiring as to what forms of assistance would be most useful. But none of that requires the kind of explicit confirmation of a state-sponsored information operation that people have in mind when they talk about “knowing collusion.”
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What do we expect from Trump? He's the opposite of Obama.
by Dan Rodricks

Donald J. Trump is capable of many things — bragging about his business acumen and the size of his rally crowds, blasting the media, blaming others for the failings of his presidency — but he is never going to unite the country, he is never going to console us. He’s been a divider, not a healer, giving comfort, even inspiration, to the nation’s bigots. It is just one of many ways Trump will never measure up to the standards set by his predecessor, the African-American man whose birth as a U.S. citizen Trump infamously questioned for several years. Former President Barack Obama many times stepped in front of television cameras to talk the nation through tough times, most of them stemming from gun violence -- the massacre of children and teachers at Newtown; the shooting of Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman; the slayings of Dallas police officers; the death of Trayvon Martin. And Obama had cred as consoler-in-chief because of what was in his bones and what was in his heart. He was, and is, a decent, thoughtful man.
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The Lawless Presidency
by David Leonhardt

Trump attacks the media almost daily, and McClatchy has reported that these attacks will be part of the Republicans’ 2018 campaign strategy. Trump has gone so far as to call journalists “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that authoritarians have long used to paint critics as traitors. “To hear that kind of language directed at the American press,” David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, has said, “is an emergency.” All Americans, including the president, should feel comfortable criticizing the media. (I certainly do.) Specific media criticisms are part of the democratic cacophony. But Trump is doing something different. He demonizes sources of information that are not sufficiently supportive. He tells supporters that they can trust only him and his loyal mouthpieces to speak the truth.
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Felix Sater Is a Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine
by Timothy L. O'Brien

Trump's partnership with Sater also presents lots of interesting questions. Sater, who migrated to the U.S. from Russia when he was a child, went on to serve prison time for assault as an adult. Federal authorities later prosecuted him for his role in a sprawling investment scam targeting senior citizens and Holocaust survivors and involving Russian and American organized crime members. He avoided prison time for that one by cooperating with law enforcement officials in their investigation and providing intelligence information -- apparently gleaned from government and intelligence contacts he had in Moscow -- to the U.S. government. Sater later joined a real estate firm, the Bayrock Group, which did business from a suite of offices two floors beneath the Trump Organization's headquarters in Trump Tower. Trump went on to partner with Bayrock from about 2002 to about 2010, essentially lending the company his name and his marketing mojo in exchange for lucrative payments and an equity stake in one of their joint projects, the Trump Soho.
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A People's History of Donald Trump's Business Busts and Countless Victims
by Kurt Eichenwald

This incident from long before Trump became a household name is an ideal exemplar for his business career, in which he has repeatedly left bitterness and ruin in his wake. His destructive behavior—spurred by recklessness, arrogance and an unslakable thirst for vengeance—has victimized cities, businesses, investors, partners, even members of his family. Trump is now completing his biggest and most astonishing demolition: tearing down the Republican Party. Since the disclosure of a recording earlier this month in which Trump demeans women and boasts of sexually assaulting them, the GOP presidential nominee has vowed to make his campaign a scorched-earth mission. He now speaks of vast conspiracies against him involving bankers, the media and politicians, while raging against Republicans who have pulled away from his toxic campaign, ripping open chasms between his zealous supporters and the GOP.
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We Have a President Who Cannot Finish a Sentence

"No, he was asking me a theoretical, or just a question in theory, and I talked about it only from that standpoint. Of course not. And that was done, he said, you know, I guess it was theoretically, but he was asking a rhetorical question, and I gave an answer. And by the way, people thought from an academic standpoint, and, asked rhetorically, people said that answer was an unbelievable academic answer! But of course not, and I said that afterwards."
-Donald J. Trump
"Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us."
-Donald J. Trump


Vladimir Putin's Biggest Fan

"Look at Putin, what he's doing with Russia, I mean, you know, what's going on over there. I mean this guy has done, whether you like him or don't like him, he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period."
-Donald J. Trump

"Putin has big plans for Russia. He wants to edge out its neighbors so that Russia can dominate oil supplies to all of Europe. I respect Putin and Russians but cannot believe our leader (Obama) allows them to get away with so much...Hats off to the Russians."
-Donald J. Trump

"It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond," Trump said in a statement. "I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect."
-Donald J. Trump

"I'm saying that I'd possibly have a good relationship. He's been very nice to me. If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it."
-Donald J. Trump


Our President, the Malignant Narcissist

"Donald Trump’s speech and behavior show that he has severe sociopathic traits. The significance of this cannot be overstated. While there have surely been American presidents who could be said to be narcissistic, none have shown sociopathic qualities to the degree seen in Mr. Trump. Correspondingly, none have been so definitively and so obviously dangerous. Democracy requires respect and protection for multiple points of view, concepts that are incompatible with sociopathy. The need to be seen as superior, when coupled with lack of empathy or remorse for harming other people, are in fact the signature characteristics of tyrants, who seek the control and destruction of all who oppose them, as well as loyalty to themselves instead of to the country they lead. The paranoia of severe sociopathy creates a profound risk of war, since heads of other nations will inevitably disagree with or challenge the sociopathic leader, who will experience the disagreement as a personal attack, leading to rage reactions and impulsive action to destroy this 'enemy.' A common historical example is the creation, by sociopathic leaders, of an international incident to have an excuse to seize more power (suspend constitutional rights, impose martial law, and discriminate against minority groups).

Because such leaders will lie to others in government and to their citizens, those who would check the sociopath’s power find it difficult to contradict his claims and actions with facts. Would-be tyrants also typically devalue a free press, undermining journalists’ ability to inform and resist the move toward war and away from democracy. Mr. Trump’s sociopathic characteristics are undeniable. They create a profound danger for America’s democracy and safety. Over time these characteristics will only become worse, either because Mr. Trump will succeed in gaining more power and more grandiosity with less grasp on reality, or because he will engender more criticism producing more paranoia, more lies, and more enraged destruction."

-The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President – Bandy X. Lee


The Con Man's Statement On the Con

"You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on ... I'd never understood how Jimmy Carter became president. The answer is that as poorly qualified as he was for the job, Jimmy Carter had the nerve, the guts, the balls, to ask for something extraordinary. That ability above all helped him get elected president. But, then, of course, the American people caught on pretty quickly that Carter couldn't do the job, and he lost in a landslide when he ran for reelection."
-Trump: The Art of The Deal - written by Tony Schwartz, Donald Trump's ghostwriter


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