By Craig Hardegree | 

Trump is a brilliant politician. Maybe the best I’ve ever seen. And the sooner liberals realize that, the better they’ll be able to devise a smart strategy to keep him from becoming president.

Every time I’ve written about the inevitability of Trump becoming the nominee or his very real chance of becoming president, I’ve encountered people who think any recognition of Trump’s abilities and chances is a flirtation with wanting him to become president.

If you’ve ever walked in the woods in Georgia on a hot summer day and suddenly encountered a rattlesnake, you know what it’s like to come face to face with existential danger.

You don’t laugh at it; you don’t mock it; you don’t spit in its face; you don’t take a sideways slap at it; you don’t point out that it doesn’t have the same reasoning skills as you or that its brain is too small to hold the wealth of knowledge it would need to keep up with your superior intellect.

No. Your heart begins to beat faster. Your breathing gets deeper. Your senses elevate to high alert; your ears listening and eyes scanning, learning the most you can about your situation…the pattern of the snake, sound of the rattler, slightest movement. You begin stealthily stepping backwards as you gather your wits to devise your strategy.

You live to walk another day because of your healthy fear of the snake and your sincere respect for the snake, both based on your early recognition of the snake’s cunning skills and abilities.

Rattlesnakes Sweetwater
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Douglas County, Georgia

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There are different types of “sin-eaters.” A “fixer” is a type of sin-eater. The fixer is deployed to make past indiscretions disappear, eating up the sins by destroying evidence. In earlier times, a type of sin-eater attended funerals, sitting with the body of the dearly-departed, drawing the sins from the body so the spirit could enter the next world blameless, while the sin-eater roamed the community between funerals as an outcast; a leper; too full of the sins of others to be approached.

The most familiar type of sin-eater is the scapegoat; one who takes on the sins of others and is then sacrificed to wash away the sins. Ancient cultures interpreting drought as punishment from a god for collective sins, would seek to transfer all the sins of the community onto one pure child or virgin and then sacrifice the sin-laden being in order to rid the society of collective sins. Jesus was a scapegoat sin-eater, taking on the sins of all mankind before becoming the supreme substitutionary sacrifice for the world.

Mayan Temple Sacrifice
Temple of the Frescos Mayan Ruins at Tulum on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Human sacrifice by extraction of a still-beating heart was an integral part of Maya culture. Photo © Craig Hardegree. 1998.

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As I understand sports — and I don’t, but to the extent I have cobbled together a rudimentary understanding of what all the fuss is about — the general gist of each season is to work towards one big game at the end of the season, where the two best teams compete. And in most sports, “best” is defined as “winningest” and is largely synonymous with “most popular” or “most-loved” because in sports, everyone loves a winner. So the two biggest and fastest and strongest and winningest teams, largely evenly-matched and equally-loved, end up in the final battle.

And, yes, I understand that the lovers of each team are also the haters of the other team so each team has its share of haters. But usually that’s not too-awfully lopsided. There usually isn’t an almost universally-held national revulsion against either team; they both enjoy similar levels of support from roughly-similar numbers of supporters so the final battle is a close contest between equals.

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Professional wrestling is different. It’s more soap opera than sport. It’s loaded with seemingly-irrelevant drama. There’s a narrative; a story line that runs through it. It’s similar to other sports in funneling everything down to one final epic battle. But it’s not about the biggest and the fastest and the strongest and the winningest — it’s about good and evil.

And they are never evenly matched.

The bad guys may even be the biggest, the fastest, the strongest and the winningest, but they are not loved or widely supported in spite of their physical prowess, because they are also the meanest and nastiest and lowest-down vermin who will stop at nothing to win. They are almost universally hated because of it.

So while other sports spend the season selecting the two best; wrestling spends the season selecting the best and…the absolute worst — the sin-eater; the one who has taken on the sins of all bad guys throughout the season and now stands as a sin-laden untouchable leper, ripe for sacrifice by the remaining forces of good.

And on that epic day, the good guy stomps the epitome of evil; he sacrifices the lone loathsome sin-eater.

And nobody cares and everybody cheers.

And the good guy stands gloriously victorious; redeemed, vindicated…invincible.

1 Victorious Trump
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Don’t forget, Donald Trump is a professional wrestler. That’s not an insult; not a joke — it’s a fact. He has literally been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Laugh, at your peril.

c Trump Hall of Fame HeartAgree Blog

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And herein lies the genius of Trump. While the Republican party and the general electorate and all of the media were expecting the season to end with a World Series or Super Bowl matchup between the two strongest candidates, Trump was systematically funneling the season down to an epic matchup between their best and their worst; between their most popular and their most hated; between good-by-comparison and evil-by-comparison; between victor and villain; between Trump and Cruz.

And now as the party and media suddenly realize they let this thing go too far; suddenly realize they shouldn’t have repeatedly hit the snooze button back when Trump was “only” insulting President Obama and Mexicans and Muslims and people of color; suddenly realize the grave risk they took by only considering his effect on ratings; suddenly realize it’s time to turn to an alternate…the second-best is not even in the game. All that’s left is the most-hated most-despised vermin in recent political history:

“[Ted Cruz is] Lucifer in the flesh! I get along with almost everybody. I have as many Democrat friends as I do Republican friends. But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life. Over my dead body will he be president.” ~ John Boehner, Republican Former Speaker of The House of Representatives and Presiding Convention Permanent Chairman of the 2012 Republican National Convention, April 27, 2016.

“I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I’ll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination.” ~ Peter King, Republican US Congressman from New York, April 19, 2016.

“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate and the trial was held in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” ~ Lindsey Graham, Republican United States Senator from South Carolina, February 25, 2016.

“I just don’t like the guy.” ~ George W. Bush, Republican Former US President, October 18, 2015.

Trump even has experience dealing with Lucifer:

a Lucifer and Trump
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If you’re tempted to downplay the genius of Trump by saying his strategy of following the wrestling model instead of the baseball/football model was a logical choice obvious to anyone, consider this:

Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who teaches people how to get out of debt. For his part, it’s a relatively easy concept — tap into a gullible pool of people willing to pay big money for a load of books and several seminar sessions that can be boiled down to one principle: “eat beans and rice on staycations while you eliminate debt by paying off the smallest to the largest, leaving the greatest debt until the end.”

Debt-elimination isn’t the only area where the accepted wisdom is to eliminate the small and easy problems first, then concentrate on the largest, most difficult problem. Time-management: identify the small time-sappers, get rid of them first, then work on the larger things. Marriage-counseling: decide who’s going to carry out the trash and scoop the litter box before turning to “are we going to sell our home and relocate closer to his job or stay next door to her parents?”

But Trump did the opposite. He started with the biggest obstacle.

b CNN Polls

Cruz had been a hated figure since he first arrived in the senate in 2013. Trump could have easily focused on Cruz first. Instead, he formed an alliance with the easiest to defeat and focused on eliminating the best alternative-to-Trump; the reasonable one; the one to whom people would happily turn if Trump were to implode or voters were to finally wake up to the dangers of Trump — Jeb Bush.

Trump masterfully encapsulated each opponent into a WWE-style persona, reducing the complexities of each down to a simple moniker.

After successfully driving Low-Energy Jeb out of the race on February 20, Trump had a second opportunity to focus on eliminating Lyin’ Ted. But he declined and turned his attention to Little Marco — another attractive-to-the-establishment candidate to whom conservatives would happily flock if Trump eventually imploded or conservatives eventually awoke from their slumber. Trump unmercifully denigrated and humiliated Rubio, driving him to such a point of desperation that he committed political suicide by compromising his own principles and code of honor.

If Bush or Rubio were still in the race today, the establishment might have a fighting chance to take the nomination away from Trump. But because of the genius of Trump, the only remaining alternative is too nasty and vile to be seriously considered.

Watch Trump tackle, pummel, and shave the head of fellow billionaire and pretend-rival Vince McMahon in the Battle of The Billionaires:

2 Trump choking opponent
3 Trump pounding opponent
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