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The Political Outsider: Embraced to Strangled

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By Richard Gagnier

At times in our history such as these, as we now prepare to watch Joe Biden, an illegitimate winner, installed as our new President; it can seem to me that we’re caught in a political world that is largely illusion.

Despite all the seriousness, many commentators attach to the sausage-making processes attended to by our representatives, it currently feels to me as if it’s all – every issue, every politician, pundit, fact-checker, every YouTube personality – that it’s, in total, the well-worn sho-biz antics of a street magician. No trick’s going to turn out except how the magician wants it to, despite his playing up the possibility of someone actually being cut in half, or actually disappearing.

We observe a continual, relentless, dressed-up presentation of representative democracy, of course, but nonetheless, it seems clear at the moment, that the sense of possibility we are sometimes encouraged to feel might be nothing more than the necessary sleight-of-hand to distract from what is essentially a rigged and predetermined game.

So thank God for brief respites.

In the world of political illusion and distraction, Donald Trump, and Carl Paladino before him, were rule-breakers, strange uniquely American pioneers. They were men who, in high-stakes manner, called out the sham, and broke the fourth wall of politics time and time again.

If you’re not from New York State you can be excused for not knowing who Carl Paladino is, but he was in my experience Trump before there was a candidate Trump, and, in fact, Carl Paladino acted as Donald Trump’s campaign co-chair in New York State in 2016. Paladino will be known to some of you for his having run against Andrew Cuomo in 2010 for the governorship of New York State.

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