Friday, March 18, 2016


"What is wrong with you people??"

I have some friends overseas and they are pretty aghast that Donald Trump is doing so well in American politics.  The idea that he might be the next president seems incredible, even horrible to them.  They can't really articulate why this seems so bad, other than a sort of presumed list of evils that the man must be guilty of.
This reaction is not just limited to the United States.  Some even in the Republican Party are horrified by the man's success and think him a monster.  Some are turned off by someone saying that the country needs to wall off immigration for a while until we get things sorted out.  Others are shocked by the idea that he wants to prevent people from immigrating to the United States based on religion (Islam).  But most just seem to have this visceral reaction of shock and negativity.
At their worst, some people in the US fear he might become some sort of authoritarian dictator, the next (whispering) Hitler.  This is probably tied to the realization that President Obama has essentially turned the presidency into an unquestioned absolute authority that ignores the constitution whenever it gets in his way, uses political agencies to target and destroy political foes, and is never, ever seriously questioned by congress.
So what is Donald Trump's appeal?  I'm asked this and I see people bring up this question online quite often.  Why would anyone vote for him or support this buffoon? they ask.
Well here's what I think and you can take it for what its worth.
In Trump's case I don't think its so much people being fooled as it is people being finished with politics as usual. And by that I don't mean 'burn it down.' 
What I mean is that everyone knows politicians lie, from start to finish. None of them keep their promises, even the well-meaning ones can't. A political promise is practically synonymous with bovine feces. 
So Trump is just spouting trash, whatever comes to mind, regardless of consistency, and his supporters don't even care, because he's not about the specifics or the promises, he's about a brand: The Trump.
What is that brand?  America was great, and has been diminished, it can be great again.  We should protect our borders and control the flow of immigration, which is obviously out of control.  I'm tired of political correctness, social justice warriors, and everyone worrying about being offended.  You don't like that?  F**k you, next question. He doesn't have his list of things he's pushing. He's doing a more stream of consciousness association campaign: come in with me and be a part of this.
Its a bold, in-your-face declaration of rejection of what has happened to the nation over the last nearly 8 years, especially the last few, and of the constant attitude of offense and cringing, whining and screaming babies who demand people be punished for making them feel bad about themselves.  It is opposition to a new breed of people who not only "think they have all the answers—everything is settled, and people who dissent are not merely wrong, but actually guilty of something approaching a crime," as robby Soave puts it.  Or, actually a crime as some would make it.
President Obama did the same thing, but in a manner that was pleasing to academics and folks both hoity and toity. Trump is more crass and street level. The end result is the same: he's not selling specifics, he's selling a feeling and associations, he's selling a brand of personality and approach that people are deciding doesn't sound so bad in office. 
Obama's droning baritone voice was filled with impressive-sounding lines that dazzled listeners and made them feel as if they were part of something intelligent and new, but actually were empty when analyzed for content and meaning.  His campaign was the first of this new kind, selling a brand rather than convincing voters.
Compare that to Hillary's more traditional "I'll feed you a line of outrageous BS and you pretend to believe it" politics. Her style is old fashioned and I question how effective it is in a modern race.
This doesn't mean Trump voters are stupid or emotionally manipulated saps, not any more than Obama voters.  It just means that Trump's appeal isn't his impressive resumee or his sterling lifestyle or his fantastic hair.  It means his appeal is to represent a large portion of the country that is horrified and enraged with the direction of the nation, what's happened to their home, and the betrayal of both political parties.
Will that be a winning approach?  We'll see.  While its true he's up against one of the most spectacularly awful, corrupt, and physically unpleasant candidates in modern history - perhaps ever - he's also up against a determined and almost desperate legacy media, a massive money engine, and the Democratic Party political machine.  I expect Hillary Clinton to win.
Either way, I'm voting for Vermin Supreme.  Its not like my vote matters in Oregon anyway.
*UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has written a great article about the origins of Donald Trump; basically he says the people rejected what the GOP was doing several times (Tea Party, voting several elections) and finally have given up on the party entirely.  And its all at the foot of the elite, establishment Republican Party, its their fault.


vanderleun said...

"We fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail. "

GAHCindy said...

He doesn't hate America. He identifies with Americans as his own people and sees other nations' leaders as competitors, not co-conspirators against their own people. After the crap sandwiches we've been served for so long by globalists, that's enough. Competence, class, wisdom? Not important anymore. It is enough that he doesn't hate ordinary Americans. Sad, but that's where we are.

Anonymous said...

Trump has spent his entire career paying bribe after bribe after bribe in the form of 'contributions' to campaigns and organizations favored by the establishment powers, be they Dems or Reps. This is just the price large business concerns ALWAYS have to pay just to get business done (I know this from personal experience). I think this is one of the reasons the establishment is pushing back so hard against Trump. They can't believe that an outsider who had to pay to play will be their boss.