Anger/Fear: 2016

Anger and fear. Those are the words most often used by political pundits to account for the improbable rise of Donald Trump as the top contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But there’s another word I think better expresses his popularity: opportunity.

What Trump has unleashed may indeed have its basis in resentment and panic, but I think it has little to do with the economy or concerns about the tax code. Instead, I believe the real estate tycoon has opened up a safe zone for his supporters to finally vent their rage at a society rapidly jettisoning long-held traditional values, and at the minorities and immigrants they blame for this transformation.

I certainly understand voters who have been lied to for decades wanting to strike out against the Republican establishment. I would consider it a step in the right direction if, as the person to head that movement, they rallied around someone who had worked their way up from the bottom, a grassroots hero who at least understood the value of hard work. But what have they chosen instead? A whiny, spoiled orangutan-hued baby whose daddy has always been there to bail him out, who doesn’t care one whit for working and middle class families, and whose promises of walls and jobs and safety are as fake as his hairline.

The list of Trump’s business failings are well known at this point: multiple casino bankruptcies, failed branding ventures, employment of undocumented immigrants, long-reported ties to mob-run businesses and the promotion of a real estate training program that’s now the target of a $40 million fraud suit.

Trump’s moral credentials are just as suspect. This is a man who sees in no shame in comparing his sexual exploits of the 1970s to serving in Vietnam and simultaneously denigrates veterans who were held as prisoners of war; who mocks the disabled, disrespects women in the most pathetically juvenile fashion, and, most recently, seems to enjoy inciting violence against protesters and journalists.

It would be easy enough to point out that, should Trump become president, there’s simply no chance that he would ever: build a wall on the Mexican border; defund Planned Parenthood; order the military to murder the families of terrorists; or deport all Muslims from the U.S. Anyone who falls for those ludicrous promises simply has no understanding of how government works.

Middle and working class families should also pray Trump never gets the chance to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, since their pocketbooks would be hit the hardest. But then Trump’s supporters seem to care little about his policy positions, since they change day to day.

They also seem to care little about their own self respect. Has this country really produced stadium fulls of hollow-souled drones who will gladly raise their hands in allegiance to the latest carny freak like a bunch of credulous, simpleton toddlers. It’s a good indication of what many in this country truly worship — not intelligence, not moral rectitude and hard work, but Celebrity and Wealth!

I’m a member of the not especially well compensated middle class and I’m as disgusted and angry as anyone about politicians who year after year promise relief and a helping hand and deliver nothing. But I would sooner cut my right arm off than raise it in allegiance to another human being, much less a perverted clown like The Donald.

No matter what happens to Trump now, he has proven that a majority of Republican voters in states across the nation are willing to back a candidate unqualified in every imaginable way to hold elected office. Once you strip all the fantasy and myth away you’re left with….what? A ridiculous looking 70-year-old man with no discernible policy positions who excels at self promotion, whines like a petulant five-year-old, and is all too willing to not only play to his constituents most base and ignorant impulses but to openly call for violence against his dissenters.

The Donald Trump who’s going to rejuvenate our nation’s economy using his keen business sense, defeat our enemies with his military-minded toughness, and kick out all the bad people? The Donald Trump who’s going to “Make America Great Again?”

That Donald Trump doesn’t exist.

 

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