Trump - Normalizing Neo-Fascism
Donald Trump is both a megalomaniacal neo-fascist, and a feebly insecure invertebrate dripping with cowardice - who has somehow managed to stumble his way from pop-culture punch-line, to reality-TV pink-slip maven, to front-runner for the republican presidential nomination.
The prospects of a Trump administration have caused great consternation - not only amongst Beltway thought-leaders and party elites, but among the dregs of the rabble as well. First-time voters are registering in droves in order to stave off the prospective national embarrassment of a cotton-candy-coiffed bigot-in-chief. (To the point that democrats are dreamily envisioning the re-acquisition of the senate, perhaps even the house.)
The unsettling truth is that - aside from surrounding himself with garish & gauche yes-men - no one knows exactly what a Donald Trump presidency (knock on wood) would look like.
Sure, his campaign kick-off was headlined by his anti-Mexican “rapists & murders” tirade - whom he blames, along with China and Japan, for domestic economic woes. And yeah, he’s feigned interest in special identification and/or outright bans on Muslims, lazily claiming that "Islam hates us." He remains the oompa-loompa-orange face of the blatantly racist birther movement. He plays footsie with white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
But is Trump, the man, really the xenophobic ultra-nationalist that he purports to be? Honestly, it makes no never mind. He's just a bigot with a soapbox unless/until we hand him the nukes.
He has, if nothing else, done a great service in providing an accurate head-count of just how many knuckle-dragging, imbecilic hate-mongers are traipsing about the countryside.
Trump's hate-speech has given his band of nihilistic nincompoops permission to come out of the wood-work and proudly proclaim the bigoted views they before could only discuss behind closed-doors with their like-minded, mouth-breathing brethren.
Trump's simplistic supporters point to his telling it like it is. The disappearing of manufacturing jobs has gutted the middle class. Wage stagnation and social immobility have torn the American Dream asunder. Economic populism. Problem being – Trump's followers are none too sophisticated. (He's gonna find the best people to Make America Great Again, and make Mexico pay to build a beautiful wall, by making tremendous deals the losers in Washington are too dumb to make because we don't win anymore.)
In ignorance, they blame China for stealing jobs that greedy anti-American businessmen (including Trump) have giddily shipped overseas for a percentage-point increase this quarter. (Btw, no one seems to care about domestic wages being driven down by slave wages in China while they are sauntering to the checkouts with their shiny new iPads, Nikes, and dollar store trinkets.)
They blame Mexicans for driving domestic wages downward - when hundreds of thousands of American jobs to were outsourced to Mexico because US-based corporations fought for (legally bribed politicians for) NAFTA. American businesses rely on immigrants to do jobs that Americans just won't do - lettuce would be like $10-a-head without said labor. And about that dumbass wall - airlines will still fly people with visas right over any wall, walls force seasonal workers who'd otherwise return home into moving their families here permanently, and immigration from Mexico has been less than net-zero for five years now.
They blame black folks for violent crime, and for government spending on social insurance programs such as welfare and SNAP (food stamps). Trump's Klan rallies regularly feature violent assault on black and brown protesters. Trump laments the notion of free speech - that there are no "consequences" for peaceful protest. Not only has the candidate repeatedly called upon his brownshirts to physically attack protesters, he's promised to provide legal defense for those charged for the hate-fueled violent crimes he incites.
Trump’s popularity has been driven, largely, by white resentment. (Pasty pecker-woods paranoid that if they fail to maintain their tenuous grasp on power, they'd be treated the same way they've treated black and brown folks for hundreds of years.) And, secondarily, the yearning for an authoritarian strong-man who promises to protect his feeble knee-benders from the bad men and make everything all better.
To the sane, Trump embodies the worst of American stereotypes – racist & bullying, belligerent & blusterous, arrogant & obtuse…
He's childishly gullible - time and again hoodwinked by right-wing internet hoaxes. He’s troublingly insecure, especially concerning his manhood and finances. He's been fighting his "short-fingered vulgarian" label since the 1980s (Spy magazine), yet suddenly feigns ignorance of the satirical charge. Despite being born into vast wealth and name recognition, (aside from brand marketing, at which he is a genius) he is an utterly failed businessman whose ventures have been repeatedly failed and bankrupted.
He’s been thrice divorced. His ex-wife accused him of rape. He’s repeatedly and publicly proclaimed his physical attraction to his own daughter. He’s called women pigs and bimbos; he’s blamed criticisms on their bleeding.
Members of Trump's campaign staff have physically assaulted members of the media, which he incessantly attacks. He bans reporters who write negative things about him. Those allowed into his hate-rallies are confined to a designated pen and berated throughout. He promises, as president, to effectively shut down media organizations who report things with which he disagrees.
He reportedly kept Mein Kamph at his bedside. His mannerisms evoke Mussolini. He's repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin. He praised the Chinese government for the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of protesters.
He's attacked P.O.W.s for being captured. He's mocked people with disabilities. He's even managed to find himself embroiled with Pope Francis.
The adults hand-wring over Trump's campaign of idiocy, and attempt to chrystal-ball which uncouth gaffe which will finally sink him. To the contrary, these snippets of "political incorrectness" are his lifeblood. His popularity is not in spite of, but because of his open apeness.
In the past, he has described himself as “very pro-choice.” Now he claims to be “very pro-life.” Within mere days, he’s both said that he’ll appoint justices who’d overturn marriage equality (Obergfell) and that he’d work to strengthen LGBT civil rights. He’s given campaign contributions to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama – yet runs for president as a republican. He exclaims that “political correctness is killing us!” Yet insists that president Trump will “be the most politically correct person you have ever seen.” He incessantly attacks seemingly any & every ethnic group - yet he claims to have wonderful Muslim friends, insists that he’ll win the Hispanic vote, and proclaims to have ”a great relationship with the blacks.”
Donald Trump is a weather vane. He has no moral compass. Without tether to reality. Sans scruples. The Donald's raison d'etre is Trump, and Trump alone.
While it may be tempting to minimize his boorish ramblings & musings as empty campaign fodder intended to dupe gullible bigoted rubes - the most sinister aspect of the Trump Experience has been his keen ability to normalize into American society the fascistic qualities of ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. (And to make Ted Cruz seem almost reasonable in comparison.)