Finger Pointing Time
(VANCOUVER ISLAND) Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating of a presidential candidate in history. He is roundly despised by the Republican rank and file as well as the leadership, who even supported Ted Cruz, who was called “Lucifer in the flesh” and “a miserable son of a bitch” by John Boehner the former Republican House Speaker to oppose him.
Nevertheless, he is virtually guaranteed the nomination of the “Party of Lincoln”. And now he has a clear shot at the brass ring; the White House is within striking distance.
How on earth could this have happened, what went wrong with the great experiment in democracy that was the USA? While the world either laughs its collective ass off in a moment of staggeringly appropriate schadenfreude, or shudders with horror and revulsion, we are all looking around frantically to see whom we can blame for this unthinkable nightmare. Surely the US as a whole is better than this? What can be done to reverse this terrifying roller coaster that might actually deposit a hate-filled, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, poorly educated, ignorant, strangely orange blowhard on the steps of the house previously occupied by Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and most recently, Barak Obama?
Well, for starters, let’s not look at the rise of Trumpery as being entirely due to either Trump himself or Trump and a small coterie of raving lunatics. There is nothing small about the number of raving lunatics who have already voted for Trump; after Indiana that number is well in excess of 10,000,000. And there’s the answer to the question of where to place the blame.
Trump is, of course, all the things said about him…racist, misogynist, xenophobic etc. etc. But I don’t believe he is in any ideological or focussed way. He is just casually a misogynist; he has no respect for women and doesn’t really care who knows it. Ditto with his views on African Americans, Hispanics and any other people of colour. What he is above all other things is a master manipulator. In his rallies, he speaks extemporaneously and eschews cue cards and teleprompters, and for very good reason. Trump reads his followers in precisely the same way a “gypsy” fortune teller reads her subjects.
In a cold reading, the clairvoyant starts with a few general observations and then tunes the reading whenever a chord is struck. If she offers something that doesn’t resonate, she shakes it off and moves on to something that sparks a reaction and then follows that path. Trump plays his crowd in that same way. At his rally he focusses on those lines that garner the biggest reaction; after just a few readings rallies he knows to the letter what outrageous remark will get the crowds going. “Build a wall?” Applause. “Build a huge, beautiful wall!” Thunderous applause. “Mexico will pay for it! Trust me!” Pandemonium, swooning, cheering.
Trump has used that technique like a master; but you can’t blame him entirely…he gets his cues from the audience. There are at least ten million people out there who agree with every hateful, nasty, vulgar, disgusting idea that he mirrors back to them. And at the election we will see just how many people are willing to cast a ballot for that monstrous platform. The people themselves created Trump in their image.
And this sick, perverse groundswell has been given its upbringing by the Republican Party. The term of the Obama presidency was a graduate course in hatred, intolerance, and abuse. The GOP in carrying out their sworn mission to undermine Obama at every turn, to deny him any accomplishment, even at the expense of the country have shown how representatives of the people can shake the very foundations of a democracy and make it cease to work. The GOP unleashed that monster in the form of the brain-dead simpletons who now worship their creation…Donald J Trump. Trump didn’t expect to win the nomination, didn’t even make any preparations for an extended campaign much less a campaign for the general election; there is a palpable absence of any iota of understanding of what an actual November victory would entail. No, Trump is here, challenging the country and daring the people to put him into the White House.
Why? Because the Republican Party laid the groundwork and prepared the people. Then the people created Donald Trump and now we have to deal with that. If I had any religion at all, I’d say God help us all, because the people sure as hell haven’t so far.