People may joke or roll their eyes about this election cycle, and I get that it’s ridiculous, but I hope enough people realize this turn of events is no joke. A plurality of Republican voters has tossed aside the party leadership, and as well the ideals of this nation, and nominated a man unfit to serve in office. The Republican nominee is a self-avowed authoritarian – a demagogue with zero respect for the Constitution or the established tenets of representative democracy. He has said he will torture terrorist suspects and kill their families, contrary to law. He has said he alone will decide who can enter the U.S. based on religion, contrary to law. He has said he will “go after” journalists who portray him unfavorably. (This is already happening to reporter Julia Ioffe, who wrote a perfectly legitimate profile of Trump’s wife. She now receives death threats from Trump’s anti-Semitic white supremacist supporters, or “brown shirts in training” as I like to call them. It’s a disgusting affront to the First Amendment and a sobering reminder of historical episodes of fascist media suppression as a precursor to seizing power.)
Here’s a news flash for the burgeoning KKK wing of the “new” Republican party – your nominee does not necessarily believe anything he says, including the veiled promises he’s made to all you fearful racists. He calls Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers” because that’s what YOU believe. He says “no Muslims” because that’s what YOU want. He smiles and shrugs as his supporter/thugs beat up black protesters because YOU like it. He is using you and does not actually respect your twisted views (not that anyone should). In fact, you should know by now he respects no one, not one person, who is not himself. All of his positions are pre-polled to reach an audience the rest of us thought was dying out like bitter Confederate war widows. But no – it turns out ignorant nativist white trash xenophobes are the largest contingent of the Republican Party now, and a populist demagogue has corralled them all into his pro-wrestling-style campaign. Together, he and his “new GOP” supporters represent the very worst of America, the scum at the absolute bottom of the political barrel.
But it gets worse – now that he is the presumed nominee, the rest of the party is putting on a creepy side show aimed at “unifying” under this petulant man-child. With the “pragmatic” support of a party establishment that not-so-secretly loathes him, a pathetic, pathologically insecure half-man, a man the entire media industry laughed off as a joke, now has a very good chance of becoming the next Republican “president”.
The Republican Party, up to now the target of his lowbrow tactics, is converting itself from a pathetic victim into a simpering national embarrassment by adopting him and his non-philosophy, his non-agenda that is whatever he whims it to be on a given day or at a given moment. The party is trying to pretend this is just another election cycle and their guy is just another candidate.
But this is not a political movement hoping to reshape a national party. It’s a white nationalist populist revolt attempting to hijack a democracy (albeit one severely weakened by a corrupt oligarchy). If this country were true to its stated ideals, the Republican nominee would get 0% of the vote and we’d be having a real political contest instead of this national farce, this cheap media circus/reality show/train wreck of a political cycle. The fact that an ignorant bigot will be the choice of approximately half of Americans is a national disgrace that threatens (as it did in 1964) our very existence as a democracy. Anyone who votes for him does not understand what this country is about or the principles it was founded on. (And I am well aware they are probably proud of their ignorance – you know, because it’s not “politically correct” like those sissies in Washington.)
We are turning out to be a much dimmer beacon of freedom than we thought we were, much less intelligent, and now we are flirting with moral bankruptcy. The rise of this know-nothing populist freak, this profoundly uninformed man-baby, means we risk being extinguished altogether by an uncontrollable monster that half of this nation has created in order to destroy the other half. But it won’t work that way. We’ll all burn in that mindless wildfire of fear and loathing.
And when the nation finally realizes to its collective horror that it has elected a self-worshiping demagogue – one who blithely quotes Mussolini and has his followers perform a “Seig heil” salute at his tense, violence-tinged rallies – when we see him dividing the country into “loyalists” and everyone else, as he destroys what’s left of foreign relations, and as he scuttles the world’s most important economy to the point of collapse, our newly elected playground bully will simply shrug and say, “I’ve said all along that this is what I was going to do.”
Or, as the Orange One himself said when asked recently if he was going to “play nice” now that he’s the presumptive nominee: “You win the pennant and now you’re in the World Series — you gonna change?”