Nine months ago, it was virtually impossible to imagine Donald Trump as the apparent nominee of any political party in the United States, let alone that of a major one. Yet here we are. And although I understand the seething sentiments behind his rise, I am still incredulous that his “shtick” has actually worked.
I recently had a conversation with my Dad about whom he was going to vote for in the primary. When he told me Trump, it took me back a little, but then I delved a little deeper. My Dad was a Green Beret and still lives, eats, and breathes his military service. When I asked him what he thought about Trump saying he would “force the U.S. military to commit war crimes”, he responded with “oh he’s just spouting off.”
This statement made me realize that there really is no making sense of those who vote for Trump. They like how he speaks his mind, but then when he goes overboard, they chalk it up to Trump being Trump (boys will be boys.) They like his toughness, so much so that those who have been abused at campaign rallies actually draw the ire of Trump supporters. They eat up the nonsense he spouts off because they want to believe America can return to a “simpler” timed.
At 84 years of age, my Dad has a solidly middle-class quality of life that is much better than he could have envisioned as a young man. Despite that, I suspect he longs for the “good old days” portrayed in Leave it to Beaver and the Andy Griffith show. Yes, life was simpler then and the American Dream was very much alive (at least for some people.) The truth is though, no matter who gets elected President, America will never be going back to those days. Our country is less homogenous and more complex than ever and that trend will only continue.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning, the director, Rob Reiner, said of Trump: “The words that have been flung out from his mouth are insane. If he was not a celebrity, if Donald Trump was not a celebrity, the words that come out of his mouth, you’d see a guy in a park, a lunatic in a park on a soapbox, and you’d walk right by him. But the fact that he is a celebrity, all of a sudden, we’re all interested.” (I actually think it also has to do with him being very wealthy.)
Then, when one of the show’s regulars, Willie Geist, basically asked how Reiner explains all the millions and millions of people who like what they hear from Trump and are voting for him? Reiner said “Well, there are a lot of people who are racist.”
Much has been made of the shocked reaction of the hosts and regulars to Reiner’s comment because after all, any reasonable person could easily conclude not only are some of Trump’s supporters racist, but that he himself is both a racist and a mysogynist. Trump is the one who said:
- Immigrants from Mexico are “criminals”, “killers” and “rapists.”
- All Muslims should be barred from entering the U.S
- “81% of white homicide victims are killed by blacks” (The real number from the FBI was 15%)
- Some women are “dogs” and “disgusting animals” and that “it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
He also by the way, was the only presidential candidate endorsed by David Duke of the KKK.
The real shocker is that any thinking person would be remotely surprised that Trump is referred to as a racist, and I applaud Rob Reiner for saying what others haven’t. Reiner should “know one if he sees one” after all, he played Archie Bunker’s “Meathead” son-in-law on “All in the Family” for seven years. Come to think of it, Archie Bunker’s world is probably a place many of Trump’s supporters would like to revisit. Communities were less diverse, women didn’t work outside the home and deferred to their husbands, and political correctness wasn’t even a term yet.
The really depressing thing for me about the Trump candidacy is not the candidate himself; he’s just one delusional narcissist. What most has me down about the Trump phenomena is how many people have bought into his bullshit hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Trump supporters are bad people. Many of them are probably just people who have been dealt some hard knocks in life and are tired of things not getting better. It is scary though that even if Trump loses, his supporters will still be around and they’ll likely be even more angry and vocal. This will pose a problem for the next president to deal with. We certainly don’t need a country more polarized than it is now.
In the final analysis though, those who truly believe Trump is the answer are probably on the fringe. Most of us know that no president has the power to fix all that ails us and ultimately we need a steady hand at the helm. Who shows up to vote though, will determine what the future holds. It brings to mind the Thomas Jefferson quote “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
I’m advocating that for the November elections, you commit to voting and that you get one new voter to the polls. I’m calling it #YouPlusOne. The future of our nation likely hangs in the balance.
Ordinarily I’d agree with your call for people to vote but in this case I do not agree. True conservatives actually have no candidate left who they should support. Neither Trump nor Clinton is a conservative and if they vote for Trump the conclusion will be that they voted for a conservative. There only choice is to stay home!
YIKES Bill! Can’t believe you are advocating for people to stay home. I would NEVER advocate for people to abstain from voting. You can bet the crazier Trump supporters will be out en masse and we need rational voters to counter them. One of my main concerns is whether the Bernie supporters will come out for Hillary. The bottom line is that Democrats win, when voter turnout is big, Republicans win when it is small. With the potential for the next President to appoint four Supreme Court nominees, we MUST not lose this one!
Oops! “Their” not “there” in the last sentence. Of course it’s the spellchecker’s fault.
Linda, Great post! We are of like minds on this. A while back I wrote on the blog that, while the media was focused on candidates, the real story on Trump was the people who vote for him. That, and the parallels with Germany in the 30s, is scary.
Please crosspost to skyislandscriber. The readers there would be interested in your story. I’m trying to keep up but am disadvantaged being in Spain for another week. Communications are good, but the demands of retirement are compelling. 😉
I am almost at a loss for words. Yes, the Supreme Court appointments are important, yes, Trump seems to be mimicking Hitler’s call in his rise to power, “to make great again”.
The worse part of Trump’s rise to power is his racially motivated ideology that appears to resonate with millions of Americans. While I have never espoused many conservative viewpoints, this election it may be the folks of the conservative persuasion who save America from the disaster named Trump.
Our regret is the large number of normally non-voting people lining up all around the country to vote for Trump. Large voter participation in elections has resulted in our mind, Democrat candidates winning. Exception when Roosevelt Democrats took the wrong turn in the road and became Reagan Democrats.
Some want us to believe that a large swath of white, blue-collar Democrats is a fantasy. They don’t exist. Then they haven’t viewed a Trump rally. No one appears to be listening when Democrat leaning people and organizations attempt to call out Trump. Yet, when the most Conservative politicians cry about the foul smell coming from the Trump camp, people are taking notice.
William Kristol the editor of The Weekly Standard puts in place the real concern, Donald Trump does not have the character to be president of the United States and pushes for a conservative as an independent candidate for President. He may or may not succeed, but he certainly joins a growing chorus of Republican leaders we have never agreed with before.
You are right about the turnout for Trump. I just read that for the 2016 primary, 10 million more Republicans have voted than in 2012, but 5 million less Democrats. That was probably @Bill Astle’s point, but we MUST get Dems out to vote!!!