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Trump Voters are Cowards. Among other things

February 21, 2016


Traditional political analysis fails. Political science clears out its desk of meagre belongings into a cardboard box and trudges outside to sit on the curb for a while to think about its life.   Psychology moves into the vacant cubicle.  Because there’s an immense human tragedy to consider.

There are 239,851 (or thereabouts) people in South Carolina who have given up on themselves and the world around on them to such an extent that they actually want Donald Trump to be President of the United States.  A brutal egomaniac, a landed aristocrat who owes everything to inherited wealth and who only opens his mouth to say things that are stupid and hateful and wrong should become the nation’s Commander in Chief.  Those 239,851 people must be in a desperate condition and severely in need in love and affection and light and reason and a bunch of other positive stuff to help them reconstitute themselves as viable human beings.

Now of course, the other Republican front runners are all horrible as well.  If Cruz had triumphed then a similar yet slightly difference large scale recuperative effort would be called for.  It so happens it was Trump who won last night and who will win and win again.  And when you consider his snowballing popularity, it’s painful to think of the millions of people in the United States who are so very very frightened.  Fear is what he’s offering.

When people praise Trump they use the phrase “tells is like it is”.  Trump tells it like it is.  Now of course, we all know that Trump “tells it like it isn’t”.  He’s been factchecked exhaustively and the percentage of things he says that are even vaguely true is tiny.  A team of chimps mashing keyboards will accidentally come up with the Complete Works of Shakespeare before Trump will produce a paragraph that is mostly true.  When challenged with cold hard refuting facts, with the things that “are” – he brushes them aside saying “well I heard different” or “I though it was something else”.   He is so far from “telling it like it is” that he doesn’t really care what “is” is.

(Many of Trump’s supporters will claim that Fact-Checkers have a liberal bias.  This idea that facts are contaminated at source is a very dodgy head space to be in.  Increasingly right-wing voters simply dismiss facts as “liberal” without having to either carefully refute those facts, or come up with any facts of their own.  Expertise or knowing what the hell you’re talking about is meaningless.  In a world of “truthiness” environmental scientists know nothing about climate change and the Pope knows nothing about Christianity.)

There are three explanations for Trump’s inability to grapple with truth in any way shape or form.

1)  He actually believes the things he’s saying.  He’s sincere.  In which case, he has a severe learning disorder, an intellectual disability which means that he should not be allowed to use cutlery without close supervision.

2.) He despises the United States and most of the people in it.  He thinks the United States is full of fearful imbeciles. He thinks its electorate are idiots and cowards and that he can get elected because there are enough people who are so passionate about staying frightened and stupid that they will do anything to avoid having to think like an adult.

3)  Actually I don’t have a number 3.

Trump, the quintessential landed aristocrat who has never known what it is not to despise just about everyone, has become King of Kickdown.  All his life he has successfully picked on people who are smaller and weaker than he is.  This is not about business acumen.  He has failed repeatedly at business.  This is about being wealthy and well connected enough to never have to take responsibility for failure.  Now there are many disenchanted folks out there (at least 239,851 in South Carolina alone) who are desperate to kick down to someone – to pick on someone who is, for the moment, smaller and weaker than they are.  And Trump is the king of that.

And let’s be honest – many Trump voters are racists.  Racists are, by definition, cowards.  Racists live in fear and want others to share their fear.  Politicians, while disavowing racism (though Trump barely bothers to do that any more) are very fond of racism, because people who are worried about people who are somehow “other” clutching at their heels will not notice as much when you kick them in the head.

Trump loves cowardice, because frightened people don’t fact check.  Frightened people are easy to manipulate.  And cowardly people look for short term solutions for their fears.  Trump will apparently do what other “establishment” politicians will not do.  He will build a gigantic wall and make someone else pay for it.  He will find some uninhibited way of bombing other countries that none of his predecessors have tried and this time, somehow the bombings will work.  There are some very easy, very simple and very violent solutions to all of life’s problems and it is important not to think too hard about any of them but instead prostrate yourself in front of a hereditary oligarch who says he can make it so.

Trump is winning the Republican nomination because he’s found that he can say things that are stupid and hateful and wrong and still find enough people who are prepared to commit intellectual suicide.  Intellectual suicide is a cowardly act – it’s a cowardly refusal to exercise the responsibilities of an adult.  Such cowardice at a moment of national decision – is borderline treasonable.




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