The mountebank and the decrepit: A nation chokes on its own detritus (Part 2)

LAST week, we explored Trump’s appeal and diminishing electoral position. To the extent that he has it, his support is real and strong; but it is as narrow, in electoral terms, as it is narrow-minded. Trump attracts those who would rather keep America a racially unfair nation where whites enjoy the right of first refusal for all that is beneficial. They want America to regress as if it is possible to go back in time and relive yesterday’s evil. While this is impossible, Trump and his largely unenlightened cohort have done a rather proficient job at giving that old evil a breath and vitality that the naive and innocent did not think possible in this day and time. Because of his appeal to the whip and chain of yesteryear, Trump holds sway with 40 percent of the overall electorate.

This means he commands scores of millions of supporters, given America’s population of roughly 350 million. Thus, his ability to pack and fill stadiums and convention centers on his campaign stops is not surprising. He has an emotional appeal unequaled by most politicians. His appeals to hate incite his supporters toward a sort of mass consciousness where rational thought is, in part, suspended and factual knowledge is disregarded if not censored. His supporters know little, learn nothing but believe an awful lot. In general, belief should be founded on knowledge. Trump supporters cast aside this general rule. To them, fact and knowledge are minor irritants to be shunned so that they may believe whatever their bile tells then to believe.

To be fair, all human beings are guilty of this journey into bias to some degree. The wise and prudent minimize and limit the discrepancy to the slightest extent possible. However, Trump’s troops glorify in the abandonment of veracity. All they know is that they believe; thus they believe they possess a knowledge that transcends mere facts. Thinking themselves possessors of the great truths, their way is but a feast of ignorance served on a platter of multiple hatreds. They love Trump because he hates the same things they do and he is guided by the same brusque impulses and prejudices that define their existence.

During his most recent public appearances, Trump’s recurrent theme was that he is saving the white-populated suburbs and all that concept conveys from lawless urban dwellers and their low-cost housing. If anyone knows a tad about American history, they know Trump was essentially saying that he was the only thing protecting white America from the black onslaught. He is the racist Horatius at the bridge defending his culture and country in solitary courage from the black and unwashed. This dreadful theme has been a feature of racist propaganda since the advent of slavery in America centuries ago. It has led to the lynching of many black men and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Trump might as well just blurt out that he is, “Saving the white race from the “ni##ers” to get his message completely in the open and dispense with the innuendo.

In a certain sense, Trump is trying to re-prosecute the American Civil War in a modern social setting. This is not a novel idea. Since 1980, Republicans have done this with a degree of electoral success but with more subtlety than Trump displays. Trump is almost as stark as those segregationist politicians who stood against civil rights in the 1950-60s. Those politicians maintained themselves in office but they could not halt the most basic reforms.

The country has changed demographically since then. There are more black, brown and other people who vote. In the main they both loathe and fear what Trump represents. Unlike his segregationist predecessors, Trump will not be able to maintain office simply by raising hate. Commanding but 40 percent of the electorate, Trump holds a loser’s hand unless unusual circumstances come to his aid. His only possible legitimate salvation is a low voter turnout. Then he could perhaps squeeze out a win as in 2016. However, all indications point to a high-volume election with most new and additional voters lined against him. Thus, Trump has resorted to the desperate tack of calling the election an imminent fraud. He has instigated Republican-controlled state governments to undertake all manner of tricks and deceptions to divert or diminish the vote.

Now, black people will be faced with a great question once Biden ascends to the White House. Will they listen to the black establishment and watch blankly as Biden does as he promises to do – nothing. Or will they protest as they should because Biden’s indifferent nothingness will not be all that distinguishable from Trump’s visible animus. The wasteland grows.

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