Trump’s original “Drain The Swamp” slogan came toward the tail end of his campaign, one final three-word summation of his promise to sweepingly remake the federal government in his own nationalist, racist vision. Since then, as we all know, he has spent most of his time golfing, talking about Hillary Clinton, fending off accusations of Russian collusion, not passing a single piece of major legislation despite a Republican-owned Congress, and sitting in trucks. He has also quietly installed dozens of lobbyists into federal positions, making the swamp of corruption in Washington that much more swampy. Campaign promises are hard!
This morning, Trump took to Twitter to update that slogan to reflect this new reality.
This is confusing for a number of reasons, all of which, as you likely expect, were pointed out immediately by people within the hyper-competitive rhetorical ecosystem of Twitter itself. Some focused on the president’s seeming confusion about how to go about changing his own slogan:
But many more explored the richness of his metaphorical heirarchy of problematic wastelands, in which swamps are somehow better than sewers and in which there is something still below sewers that they could be drained into:
What would this sub-sewer sewer be? Like his invisible border wall or replacement for Obamacare, this is something that we’ll figure out down the road, apparently. Assuming a representative democracy and capitalist economy necessarily continue to create financial conflicts of interests and bureaucratic slow-down, Trump will soon be forced to update his slogan to be “drain the sub-sewer sewer in which the sewer was drained.” This could continue forever, a surreal cycle of rhetorical draining that ends, inevitably, in Jared Kushner being appointed to global head of sub-sewer drainage efforts. He’ll do great at it.
As the (failing) New York Times has pointed out, Trump is a lot better at branding political opponents than he is at policies. This is part of why he’s stayed largely hands-off in the health care debate, choosing instead to rail against Hillary Clinton (still) and the mainstream media. Thus, while he has failed completely to “drain the swamp,” that phrase alone had seemed like one of his primary political accomplishments. Now he has even fucked that up, because he is bad at everything.
But hey, at least he’s not trying to act like “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages” is a valid slogan for anything. Who would be crazy enough to try to make that stick?