Ready for the finale

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 10/30/2020 11:22:59 PM
Modified: 10/30/2020 11:22:50 PM

You-know-what is happening on Tuesday, when it all comes down to Four More Years of MAGA or Oh, Lord, Any More and I Will Lose My Mind.

The undecided voters are committed to their indecision — so I don’t imagine readers will turn to this column for guidance. I can reveal that the 2020 Dan Mackie Poll shows Joe Biden leading 92% to 8%, based on a representative sampling of people I know. This poll is entirely scientific. You can claim anything is. Masks don’t help, the climate is fine, Abraham Lincoln just endorsed our president.

As a retired journalist who thought you could uncover the truth and change minds, I have been in a chronic state of political inflammation since 2016. As a faithful Valley News Forum reader, I know that I’m not the only one. Liberal-leaning counselors should be standing by. If conservatives lose badly they can turn to Fox News for comfort. Or should I say succor?

Four years in, I’m still flummoxed by the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. (I was not flummoxed by Ronald Reagan or either of the Bushes. Even with Richard Nixon you knew where he was coming from.) Trump seems like a deeply troubled con artist. He has divided the nation like no one in my lifetime.

Trump’s rise to prominence was powered by reality television. To distract myself from checking the polls every 15 minutes, I spent a little time imagining he’d been born just a little earlier, when he would have had to guest star on network programs to get into the public eye. My TV Guide has entries like these (programs will trend a little older because so do I):

Leave it to Beaver: Hugh Beaumont, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers. New kid in town Donny Trump befriends slick-talking Eddie Haskell and launches a blistering campaign against the Beaver, calling him loser, chubby cheeks and a boy of low IQ. Trump is winning the day until Ward Cleaver intervenes with a wise, fatherly chat — and reports Donny to the authorities. Child and Family Services appoints a special prosecutor.

The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin: Lee Aaker, James Brown, Rin Tin Tin. City Slicker D.J. Trump nearly hoodwinks the soldiers at Fort Apache into buying worthless dry land, but young Cpl. Rusty knows something is wrong when Trump confides he hates dogs, which Rusty considers un-American. Rin Tin Tin saves the day and amazes everyone by conducting a forensic examination of Trump’s books, barking out the results. Good boy! He also brings the jaws of justice to the backside of Trump’s sidekick, Dusty Rudy.

Gilligan’s Island: Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr. Businessman Donald Trump is embraced by filthy rich but likable Thurston Howell III and his wife, Lovey, when he washes up on the island after his bankrupt cruise liner sinks. He’s accompanied by mysterious pal Rudy, who tries to frame Gilligan for the theft of coconuts. The gang seem hopelessly divided after the Professor reveals he’s a Democratic Socialist and challenges Trump, who wants to be king of the castaways, to a democratic election. In a somewhat unlikely plot twist, the Harlem Globetrotters wash up on the island too, changing the demographics and swaying the results. Trump disputes the tally, but the closing credits cut his rant short.

Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington and a cast of thousands. Lord Donald from the Trump Tower claims the Iron Throne, without providing any evidence of royal lineage. Henchman Rudolph the Unraveling produces false documents defaming his rivals. Spoiler alert: Trump holds a giant rally outside Winterfell, calling the dragons a hoax until one appears in the sky and he gets hot under the collar. Very hot. A rare feel-good ending for GOT.

There are so many possible roles: a blustery regional manager on The Office, a pompous diplomat on MASH (possibly a Russian agent), something odd and memorable on Seinfeld — playing himself. I’m thinking Kramer gets a job at the Trump Organization and squares off against scheming Rudy Giuliani. Hilarity ensues.

It’s likely that Trump couldn’t have risen to the top when TV programs had scripts and plots that (mostly) made sense. Reality made up on the fly is his thing. The Apprentice may have changed history, which will baffle and amaze future historians.

Next week he confronts a possibility that many performers have before him: cancellation. As the results come in Tuesday I won’t be able to avert my eyes. My wife, Dede, can take only so much politics, but I’ll say “Don’t touch that dial.”

It might feel better if we did, but four years in we have no choice but to see this through to the end.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at

Valley News

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West Lebanon, NH 03784


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