Donald Trump's campaign emails provide a clue into his dark plans

In his fundraising emails, Donald Trump is announcing his evil plans for American society

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published May 2, 2023 5:40AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and his people keep sending me emails every day. They keep begging me for money to help the traitor ex-president "defend" America by winning back the White House. Often the emails are very suggestive and lurid, promising that if I give Trump and his friends my money that I will get invited to some type of secret meeting or private audience that is "exclusive" to special people like me. Other times the emails are hawking hats, mugs, glasses, beer "koozies" and fake mugshots of Trump being arrested for his obvious crimes against society – except Trump isn't actually guilty, as the emails tell it, he is being "persecuted" like Jesus Christ or some other type of martyr. [As I write this essay, I literally just received an email from Trump's people announcing that they are selling "MAGA MOM" t-shirts to honor Mother's Day.]

Some of Trump's emails are pathetic; he is too close to being a caricature of himself (if that is even possible given that the real "Donald Trump" does not exist and he is just a character and symbol, an empty signifier of sorts) as he begs for money to fight the "deep state" and "crooked" Joe Biden and the "evil" Democrats who supposedly want to turn the United States into Mao's China or Stalin's Russia. In reality, Trump is lashing out like a spoiled child who is mad that the other kids are being "mean" to him.

Some of Trump and his people's emails are actually very funny and entertaining in a dark way. Trump has natural comedic timing. Imagine all of the trouble, pain, and deaths of more than a million people in America from the COVID pandemic that we would have been spared if he had decided to host a late-night TV variety show instead of feeding his malignant narcissism unlimited fuel by becoming President of the United States and the leader of a fascist cult. 

In his fundraising emails, on Fox "News", across the internet and on social media, Donald Trump is announcing, publicly, every day, what his evil plans are for American society.

Trump's emails (and the larger MAGAverse and right-wing echo chamber and alternate reality of which they are a part) have a consistent series of characters and themes. Trump and his forces are part of a patriotic revolutionary struggle, under siege and losing their country, that will end in a "final battle" or some other apocalypse where the "enemy" will be vanquished or otherwise destroyed. MAGA is a force of destiny!

The specific enemy can change depending on the need of the moment but it is generally some type of Other such as Black and brown people, refugees and migrants from Latin and South America or some other place not sufficiently "White" and "Christian", Muslims, gang members, Black Lives Matter, "Woke" and its "mind virus", "Critical Race Theory", "reverse racism", liberals, progressives, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, "globalists" (which is just a thinly veiled antisemitic slur), the "liberal news media", "big media", feminists, "abortionists", and any other individual or group who resists Donald Trump and the MAGAs.

As I read these daily emails, I find myself saying aloud why did I do this? I agreed to get all of these emails and other messages. What was I thinking? But when I am on the verge of deciding to unsubscribe, or mark them as spam, another email arrives. It is almost as though they are watching me and gauging my interest, and I almost always decide that I must keep reading.

But why?

It is not so much an act of masochism but a reasoned choice that all engaged and responsible citizens should stay vigilant during this time of democracy crisis and disaster.

In all, Donald Trump and his people have a deep knowledge of his target audience and its pain and pleasure points. He utilizes the principles of narrative psychology, where individuals process the world and their personal (and other) identities as being mediated through the stories, both fact and fiction, that they tell about themselves and others. The messaging and storytelling machine of the Democrats, liberals, and progressives (with a few noteworthy exceptions) is pitiful by comparison. To make matters even worse, many of the emails sent by President Biden and the Democrats even look like Trump's fundraising emails in terms of the colors and layout. Politics is about branding; the Democrats with all of their big money consultants appear to not understand that fact (or are just willfully incompetent).

In so many ways, Donald Trump and his people's emails and larger messaging are leveraging the storytelling conventions and rules of the horror genre.

Consider the following recent email which was sent with the subject line "The Great Rebirth of American Freedom." For all intents and purposes, it is a screenplay that could have been written by Leni Riefenstahl or D.W Griffith:


I had an incredible time at the NRA Convention on Friday, speaking to a room packed with patriots who want one very simple thing… to be FREE.

The Left wants to take away your guns while throwing open the jailhouse doors and releasing blood-thirsty criminals into your communities.

They want to abolish your borders and impoverish your families while spending your money on endless and very, very stupid foreign wars.

They want to demonize patriots and persecute Christians while pushing the transgender cult on your children.

But with your support, I promise to lead the great rebirth of American freedom.

We will build a future where we are free of violence, free of crime, and free of fear.

When I am back in the White House, rogue federal agencies and Soros-funded DAs will no longer be allowed to treat honest, law-abiding Americans as second-class citizens.

When I am back in the White House, you will remember the glory days when America was a FREE, SAFE, PROSPEROUS, and GREAT NATION!

Of the many other hateful and dangerous emails with their encouragements to stochastic terrorism and other violence, this email is one of the most vile. Notice the following language, which is an obvious lie: "They want to demonize patriots and persecute Christians while pushing the transgender cult on your children."

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What do you do to the monstrous Other who is trying to hurt your children? You hunt them down and expunge them from society – violence is almost always the means of "purification." This is exactly what the Republican fascists and their forces are doing through means both "legal" and illegal (meaning violence and other threats and intimidation) through their moral panic against the gay community, generally, and transgender people in particular.

Transgender people are human beings who are not part of a cult. They are human beings who just want to be free to enjoy their universal human rights, human freedom, human liberty, happiness, agency, rights, and autonomy. Across the United States, Republicans are involved in a concerted campaign to take away the rights of the LGBTQ community. This is part of a larger anti-democracy and anti-human project.

I recently asked author and journalist Brynn Tannehill for her thoughts about the increasingly genocidal and eliminationist language and threats being made by the Republican fascists and their forces against the LGBTQ community. She emphasizes questions of human rights, the Constitution, and the inalienable right to self-defense:

There is a new GOP proposal on the horizon: ban transgender people from owning guns using red flag laws. It was recently proposed by Tucker Carlson, and echoed in the wake of the mass shooting in Nashville by conservative legislators like JD Vance and MTG. Some states, including Texas and Florida, have already been drawing up lists of trans people for unknown reasons.

Given how the courts, and most Republicans treat gun rights as the most fundamental of rights, and trans people have intermediate scrutiny, legally this is like announcing that that freedom of speech is being revoked for women, and that henceforth red state governments will be allowed to ban them from speaking or writing. Ever.

In reality, it's a distraction: a means by which to strip a hated minority of their fundamental rights. Trans people are .6% of the population, and constitute only 3 of the 2800+ mass shooters since 2018 (.11%).  Statistically speaking, trans people are less likely to be shooters than the general public, but studies also show they're four times more likely to be victims of violent crime. Republicans are always looking for a scapegoat for why mass shooting happen here so frequently: video games, absent fathers, lack of prayer in schools, lack of mandatory religious attendance, mental illness, etc... None of these are true, it's merely a diversion, and one that they're going to potentially make stick with trans people.

And it should scare the hell out of you.

Even as Republicans are declaring that "transgenderism must be eradicated" and passing hundreds of laws to do just that, they're talking about disarming trans people, while making guns easier to obtain for everyone else. It follows the pattern seen in Germany, where Jews were disarmed in 1933 and Reich law was amended to make it easier for everyone else. Access to guns wouldn't have prevented the Holocaust, the suggestion is asinine. However, the fact that GOP is moving on gun rights for trans people is a huge red flag that bad things are coming. It's a dead canary in a coal mine.

Because they inhabit a self-created world, an inverted reality and state of malignant normality, the Trumpists, the MAGAites and other members of the American neofascist movement actually believe that they are the heroes when in fact they are the monsters and villains in the story. And in that role, like many of history's greatest villains and evildoers, they also believe that they are the victims when in fact they are the victimizers.

In his fundraising emails, on Fox "News", across the internet and on social media, Donald Trump is announcing, publicly, every day, what his evil plans are for American society. It is up to you, the Americans, to listen or delude yourself into believing that denial is safety or this is all just some type of trivial "culture war" distraction when history has shown us again and again that it is not.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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