Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Trump Isn't Funny Anymore

You should go read this story about a guy who went to a Trump rally.  It's funny in a sardonic, can-you-believe-this-shit sort of way.  A lot of the people at the rally were easily mockable, so they were mocked.

But as the author slowly realizes, this really isn't funny.  First of all, Trump is literally incoherent.  His remarks have no cohesion, no progression from point to point, no facts, no basis in reality and no basic grammatical structure.  He should be a joke.  To paraphrase Henry Adams, Trump should have been an impossibility, he should have lived in a cave and worn skins.

But right now, he's about as plausible a GOP nominee as you can imagine.  Does anyone really thing Tailgunner Ted Cruz can unify the party around him?  Does Marco Rubio have a plan?  Is Jeb Bush awake yet?

And the tone of these rallies is really, really disturbing.  And that's why Trump isn't funny anymore.  He's basically giving license to the worst impulses of the angry white guys who got screwed over by Wall Street and blames it on the Mexicans and blacks.  He's channeling their racial resentment into a movement that is perfectly OK beating up protesters.

It's no longer hyperbolic to compare these things to fascism.

And with the endorsement of fellow grifter and mental incompetent Sarah "Bible Spice" Palin, Trump is really in a place where he might actually win Iowa.  And then New Hampshire.  Ezra Klein has written persuasively that a Trump defeat would happen because Trump loses.  And since his campaign is based on being a winner, defeat might have the effect of undermining his entire appeal.  But he has to lose first, and locking up the Talibangelicals would go a long way towards putting him on a winning streak.

And what's truly scary in the short run is that Trump's willingness to violate every taboo, ignore every norm will combine with the Republican tendency to back whatever their nominee or party supports.  Once Trump rips the lid off the racially infused white resentment and gives it full flower and voice, that will become the positions of one of America's major political parties.

The GOP has already demonstrated that it is barely more than a coalesced tantrum against the 21st century.  Cleek's Law is in full force.  Anything Democrats do is inherently wrong.  Negotiate the release of American sailors and political prisoners in Iran?  That's weakness!  And as much as you want to scream WTF! at these people, they constitute about 45% of the American public.

Trump can't win.  I believe that.  But he can do damage simply being who he is and having the GOP follow his lead.  In the end, a Trump nomination will cement the doom of the Republican party among millenials, Hispanics and women.

But he could do real damage to our already fraying social fabric before he is done.

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