The summer’s Trumpalooza tour looks to extend into fall, with “Make America Great Again” now under trademark protection. The Donald says he has no speechwriters, doesn’t read from a teleprompter, and changes his speeches because the news media carries every word he says live everyday. Well, anyone who has watched more than one of his talks knows he spews the same nonsense every time.  Even the laugh lines are the same. “You know the Saudis are making a billion dollars a day? Well, maybe not quite that much at $40 oil.   But, half a billion a day ain’t so bad.” Ha Ha Ha.

There was an additional riff added during his mansion-side chat Friday night, a non-fundraiser where attendees were to pay a hundred in cash to attend or make a check to “Donald J. Trump for President.”  Poor Uma Abedin made the Trumparade as the guy sporting his own hair tied Hillary’s assistant to government top secret emails to Uma’s husband Anthony Weiner’s wiener sexting scandal. Maybe, unbeknownst to us, those were the specifics of how he would deport the 11 million Hispanics he’s in such a panic about. “America needs to win again,” Trump repeats ad nauseum, reminding us of Charlie Sheen’s 15 minutes of fame, “Winning!

Most politicians do use speechwriters and one scribe, Barton Swaim, wrote a book about his time penning words of all sorts for South Carolina Republican governor and now Representative Mark Sanford. Anyone tasked with putting words on paper and thoughts in the heads of the powerful and elected should read The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics.

Swaim writes somewhere in his book the Governor (Sanford is never mentioned by name) had libertarian leanings, which was news to me. He was an extraordinary tightwad, and well, an all around A-hole. But the public loved him. Readers may remember Sanford catching fire after saying no to Washington’s bailouts after the financial crash and he was considered potential presidential running mate material.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 1.22.10 PMThen there was a certain “where did he run off to?” moment. Instead of hiking the Appalachian Trail he had fallen for a woman in Argentina.  In the conservative south one would think that would be the end of his political career, but no, he currently serves as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district after winning a special election on May 7, 2013.

The author explains that the governor’s office was expected to comment on all sorts of things happening in their state that no single human could know about. However, the Governor gave the impression of omnipresence.  “Once, I heard him tell a reporter, ‘I write all my own stuff,’” relates Swaim. “He said it with conviction, and I was standing beside him. At first I was appalled; he knew I wrote his ‘stuff’ or a lot of it.”

Swaim came to realize that the Governor truly did believe he wrote his own material “when he read language written deliberately in his own strange voice.”  The Governor constantly flew into rages about language that he deemed unacceptable or that didn’t sound like him. The author and others would be forced to write speeches, talking points, letters, and you name it, over and over again, never making the head man happy.

“Again,” the Governor would say handing back something Swaim or another staffer had worked hours crafting.  “He didn’t like to accept a document without first dismissing it as worthless,” Swaim writes. “Provoking a fight with the staffers who’d written it was his way of figuring out whether or not it was what he wanted.”

“You’ve got to dig deeper,” the Governor would say. “Don’t just tell me stuff any college flunky could tell me.”

Having written my share of letters to the editor, I was especially interested in how seriously the governor’s office followed the letters published in all the state’s newspapers.  The governor’s office even planted a few surreptitiously.

Swaim writes a long riff on letter writers. “The state, the nation, the world is in some respect ill-arranged, and they feel they have knowledge that can set it right.” Don’t I know it. “They want to see their words demolish the strongholds of prejudice and ignorance by force of logic.” He’s got that right. “Of course very few letters to the editor come anywhere near coherence. Mostly they’re fragments of platitudes basted with the rhetoric of outrage.” Ugh.

After working three years for the Governor, Swaim left a changed man. He worked tirelessly for long hours thinking “the answer to all our social and political problems was to elect the right people–good people with the right ideas and the courage to act on them.” And the Governor was one of those right people.

It didn’t take long for the author to figure out “something was wrong.” The public persona was 180 degrees from his private actions. After his ruin the Governor “could not find more than the paltriest shred of genuine self-criticism,” writes Swaim. “I believe he wanted to feel deeper remorse, but he looked inside and it wasn’t there. All he found was more of himself.”

And so it is with all politicians. To think things will change by electing the right ones is delusion. The author is even soured on democracy itself. Left to simple majorities, the successful politician is one who makes “us think well of them without realizing that that’s what they’re doing; they know how to make us admire and trust them.”

The trick in pleasing the masses is “not by actually doing wise and virtuous things with state power but by making the masses believe that that’s what they are doing, or that that’s what they want to do, or what they would do if more power were given to them.”

Yes, Donald knows what that is–winning.