May 24, 2016

At Politico, David Cay Johnston tells us about Donald Trump's mob ties:

Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.

Johnston gives us stories like this:

In Atlantic City, Trump built on property where mobsters controlled parts of the adjoining land needed for parking. He paid $1.1 million for about a 5,000-square-foot lot that had been bought five years earlier for just $195,000. The sellers were Salvy Testa and Frank Narducci Jr., a pair of hitmen for Atlantic City mob boss Nicky Scarfo who were known as the Young Executioners.

There's a lot more where that came from, including a summary of the many shady aspects of Trump Tower's construction (concrete purchased from mob bosses, mobsters helping to conceal Trump's use of undocumented immigrant demolition workers, etc., etc.).

But stories about Trump and the mob never go viral. Major media organizations don't pick up on them. Michael Isikoff wrote a story about Trump and the mob back in March and that didn't break through, either.

I'm not sure why. Maybe it's regarded as old news -- the same way that Republicans shrug off all of Trump's old moderate-to-liberal positions, we all seem to be shrugging off the sleaze in Trump's past.

Or maybe it's believed that you can't make a fortune in East Coast real estate without some ties to the mob. We assume he just had no choice.

Or maybe we think it's sexy that Trump has mob ties. That's my theory. It gives him an air of danger. And, of course, mobsters have been heroes in popular culture for decades now: The Godfather and its sequels, the Scorsese canon, The Sopranos, Scarface, rap music (remember, the generation that grew up on gangsta rap, which includes a lot of white male fans, is just now entering middle age). We like organized crime. When we think "corruption," we think of government mismanagement, not organizing crime figures tossing people into the river in cement overshoes. That's not corrupt, that's exciting.

If I'm right about that, it's rather shocking: Trump has ties to mobsters and we don't care. But I think that's the case.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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