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Trump in the White House? Sounds Like a Reality TV Show to Me

It’s gonna be yuge and yugly

Rachel Shukert
March 15, 2016
Photo collage by Tablet magazine
Photo collage by Tablet magazine
Photo collage by Tablet magazine
Photo collage by Tablet magazine

I’ve been watching the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump with somewhat less genuine alarm than I might if I were a fully rational human being, because a part of me has always perversely wondered what it would be like to live in a fascist dictatorship. Would we get ration cards? Am I famous enough to be on a government hit list that would force me to make a midnight run for it over the Mexican border? (Will I feel like a failure if I’m not on said government hit list?)

But now that Trump’s supporters are 1) starting to regularly assault people, 2) give crazy-eyed heil salutes (because that’s how we did it, “back in my day”), 3) yell “go back to Auschwitz” at protesters, and 4) yell “go back to Africa” at protesters, reputable journalists are starting the float the not-so-paranoid idea that “this election will be settled in the streets.” And I’m starting to wonder a) how AIPAC is feeling about inviting the favored candidates of real anti-Semites (i.e., not people who just aren’t big fans of Benjamin Netanyahu, a category in which I count myself) to speak at their convention this year, and b) how to cope should the unthinkable occur and the White House be resurfaced in mirrored gold chrome.

Oddly enough, however, I’m also taking strange comfort in the fact that what this all might be is … an incredibly long and involved set-up for a reality television series: Trump in the White House. The Trump Haus.

Think about it. Melania—that’s her name, right? I’ve never heard her speak. Is her skin made out of that weird, velvety plastic à la Barbie, or is it actual human tissue? Well, once the Obamas move out, she obviously has to redecorate the White House immediately, assisted by the Jill Zarin, of Zarin Fabrics, who will be appointed the Secretary of the Gaudy Interior.

Even though Trump likes to work alone, I think I think he will in fact decide to have a cabinet after all, in order to bark “You’re fired!” at people before they are dragged away to be summarily executed by his squad of masked goons out back behind The Trump Haus. And Trump is sure to welcome television cameras at any and all cabinet meetings, where David Duke, Mel Gibson, and the guy who shot three people at the JCC in Kansas City in 2014 will all be present, giving their takes.

And what about all the various Trump children? Will they move in, too? The two older sons—otherwise knows as Preppy Villians #1 and #2 from a John Hughes movie—can have a whole plot line about their anxiety over the teeny-weeny, microscopic peepees they inherited, which is the only possible explanation for their compulsive need to murder and mutilate beautiful and often endangered animals, and go out at night, incognito, to slaughter the homeless like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

And Ivanka, who is actually Jewish? She of the adorable children, reasonably priced shoe line, and Instagrammable Shabbat dinners in her picture perfect Upper East Side palace? Will she also be joining the circus, or will she, as I keep assuming, show us at some point that she actually knows better. Given her Jewish faith, is bearing even the small genetic imprimatur of Trump enough to congenitally protect one from feeling even the smallest twinge of shame? I don’t know, but I look forward to seeing her wrestle with the moral implications of her religious identity on television.

Oh, and what better meal to televise than that awkward reunion dinner with erstwhile friend, Chelsea Clinton, who you know the producers (being we, the American people) will pressure her into having?

OK, OK. I’m starting to freak myself out. But here’s why I’m clinging to the small vestige of comfort that a reality television show would provide in terms of transparency, like how they say the Holocaust could never happen on the same scale today because of, you know, social media: Twitter would out where those trains were going way before the Nuremberg Trials did, right? None of us will be able to say we didn’t know. And then maybe, just maybe, the few of us who are still sane—and free—will do something to stop it, before it’s too late.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.