Uncomfortable Questions About the Next U.S. President

As noted in a recent post, I frequently asked myself and others over the past year or so why Trump wouldn’t be elected, and although occasionally I allowed myself to think he would not, I never really believed that a significant percentage of White voters wouldn’t vote for him–or do something with their vote equally as stupid.  My realism or pessimism was based on two assumptions: the U.S. remains a deeply, perhaps fatally, White Supremacist nation (empire), and its misogyny is also difficult to over-estimate, even among women.

Now that Trump is President, I find myself asking questions that are, in their specifics, perhaps more alarming than “Why wouldn’t they -White Americans – elect a White Supremacist, sexually predatory, misogynistic, politically irrational man?”

Such as . . .

  1. Why wouldn’t Trump deploy nuclear weapons?  What is to stop him?  Not the military structure, and not the governmental structure, not the advisers he is appointing, and not his capacity to make sober judgments or think about consequences.  He embodies  nihilistic impulsiveness.
  2. Why wouldn’t Trump’s presidency approve of/instigate even more violence against Blacks, LGBQT persons, Latinos, the press, and anyone perceived to be Left of Himmler? We already know his administration will be White Supremacist and misogynist, and we already know the sadistic nature of his campaign and his rallies.  And we can see how racist police personnel and White nationalists are emboldened, further licensed to spread misery and lethal harm.  (The FBI warned in 2006 of significant infiltration by White Supremacists in American police departments.)  Trump’s apparent pick for Attorney General is the Segregationist  Jeff Sessions, who regards the NAACP and the ACLU as un-American and “Communist.”  For what this appointment might mean, see this article: Jeff Sessions
  3. Why wouldn’t Trump wreck the national and global economy?  His own business-management “style” seems to be reckless and sometimes hopelessly inept.  His main skills are bullying, cheating, and declaring bankruptcy. His personality is such that he focuses mainly on looting, and now he may loot the largest economy in the world. We also know how vacuous he is with regard to history, economics, law, and–well, anything involving complexity. You might even say his campaign was the anti-knowledge, anti-complexity campaign.  The debates made that plain.  One participant was informed and rational (Clinton); the other, not.

People recoil from such questions, and why wouldn’t/shouldn’t they?  They want everything to seem all right, and they just want to get through their day.   Plus a significant majority of White people expect great (positive) things from Trump, not great disasters, in spite of mountains of evidence pointing (along the Bayesian spectrum of probability) to the contrary.  They view is having been elected with relief and joy, ecstasy.

Few people find comfort in acknowledging the likelihood of enormous disasters because, well, such acknowledgement requires discomfort and discourages the normalization or minimization of evil.  I can’t seem to put away these and other questions only because they seem logical to me, but that’s probably not a good enough reason to keep bothering people with them (this blog post notwithstanding).

A final question, one that is, I hope, less dour, alarmist, and cautiously pessimistic–and more academic: Is there a future for rhetoric, for public discourse that is in some fashion tethered to reason, logic, and some evidence?  It now seems an eon ago that a lot of us were concerned about “truthiness,” that slurring/blurring  of accuracy, agreed upon facts, and well defined terms.  Now the greater problem seems to be a complete rejection even of discourse that pretends to be rational.  For one main rhetorical message of the Trump campaign was anti-rhetorical.  It was “Shut up if you don’t agree with me.” Secretary Clinton’s knowledge of and experience with policy and her debate-preparation meant almost nothing when pitted against the beastly irrationality of Trump’s movement. And  I lost count of the Trump supporters who proclaimed, “I don’t care what he says–I support him.”  That seems like a post-rhetoric, post-propaganda stance.  Cultish. Will rhetoric be relegated to a hobby played by people who seek escape from the futility of trying to stop what Trump and his gangs will do?

 

 

 

Why Did Trump Get Elected President: Coda

Statistics on the White vote vis a vis Trump:

Working class White voters 72 to 23 per cent in Trump’s favor.

White non-college-educated women: 62 to 34 per cent in Trump’s favor.

White college-educated men: 54 to 39 per cent in Trump’s favor.

White college-educated women: 51-45 per cent in Clinton’s favor (barely, obviously).

There seems to be no evidence, according to CBS news’s polling,  that level of income among White voters significantly affected White support for Trump.  Tentatively, we can entertain the hypothesis that the vaunted “rage” of White voters was focused on something besides economics.

Source: White Voters

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cbs-news-exit-polls-how-donald-trump-won-the-us-presidency/

 

Why Did Trump Get Elected President?

He and Pence won more electoral votes.  Reason one.

Other reasons I have listened to: The White working class was angry about its economic position, post-recovery.  This seems to be a favorite of both the gleeful Trumpers and the Bernie-Left.  I’ll accept it for a moment.  But then, of course, the obvious question is “Why did they channel the anger into support for a White nationalist, self-admitted serial sexual assaulter?”  Answer: something else about Trump besides his economic stance (which is at best nonsensical and at worst anti-working class) appealed to these voters.  You don’t have to be a political scientist to know this.  It was probably the White nationalism, although it could have been the sexual assaults.  Or both. Also, please note that if Black people express frustration or outrage, the most prevalent White responses are, “I’m tired of hearing about race.  My relatives were Irish [or whatever] and had a tough time. Why are they so angry? What about Black on Black violence? Blah, blah, blahgitty blah.”  (What about White on White White Supremacy?)  When White men  get angry, we are conditioned to genuflect. ” They were angry, so they voted for Trump.”  (Please nod in agreement; it’s the rules.)  Sorry, Bernie or Bill O’Reilly enthusiasts.  Your logic doesn’t pass.

Other reasons  I have rolled my eyes at: Hillary Clinton is corrupt.  Hillary Clinton kept her own server which had [actually, did not have]  classified material on it.  She is a nasty woman. She’s been in or near government a long time. She’s married to Bill Clinton.  Okay, whatever.  So thus it follows that a White nationalist serial sexual assaulter is preferable in this binary voters’ choice?  It makes no sense.  A child could see through the “reasoning.”

Another: “Both candidates were unappealing, so I a) didn’t vote b) voted for Johnson c)voted for Stein, or d) wrote in my cat’s name.  Terrific.  Both candidates were equally unappealing, so I decided to help elect a White nationalist serial sexual assaulter who is homophobic and xenophobic (etc.)  Note also that Trump deployed the “international [Jewish] banking conspiracy, too.  Remember who else used that?

The candidates were equally unappealing?  Sorry,  not credible.

When Trump announced his candidacy, I repeatedly told friends and acquaintances that they (White people) would elect him.  Yes, some non-Whites voted for him, but let’s get real: No Whites, no President Trump.  Anyway, I repeated my prediction for this reason and this reason alone: I wanted to hear an argument to persuade me otherwise.  Wanted desperately to hear one. Wanted to think the majority of Whites in this country had evolved, at least modestly.  I never heard an answer to my question that satisfied me, given what the USA is and always has been.  So I expected him to win, and when Florida started going for Trump, I concluded, “She’s toast.” (Sorry for the crass phrasing.)  Never have I hated being right than I did on election night.  My accuracy disgusted me.  I turned off the TV, vomited, and slept hardly at all.

A few observations to cut through the bullshit:

  1. After 2012, “Nearly half of counties [in the South and Midwest]that previously approved voting changes with the federal government have cut voting places [before the 2016 election].”  The number is 868.  The reasons are two-fold: 1) The Roberts Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, a White Supremacist decision. 2) White Supremacist, pseudo-Jim Crow governors, legislators, and/or secretaries of state said, “Thanks, Roberts Court!” and went about suppressing the vote in ethnic areas.  Several states passed Voter ID laws to further suppress the Black (for example) vote.  The GOP = White Supremacy = hatred for the Black president = Trump. This is called getting down to brass tacks, in my late mother’s lingo.  Did these White Supremacist actions get Trump elected?  I do not know.  It doesn’t matter.  We may know the GOP by its actions and its incapacity to denounce Trump.   We may know Trump by what he has said and done and bragged about. (The quotation is from  Ari Berman, THE NATION.)  See also Emma Roller’s “Willie Horton’s Heirs,” New York Times, Willie Horton’s Heirs and “No, David Brooks, Trump is the GOP and You Own Him,” by James Leo, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/3/4/1495734/-No-David-Brooks-Trump-is-the-GOP-and-you-own-him
  2. I hope you have cash in your wallet or purse.  If you do, take out a one dollar bill, a two dollar bill, and/or a ten dollar bill.  All bear likenesses of former slave-owners.  Washington inherited almost a dozen slaves when he was 11.  (Meditate on that for a moment.) By the time he died, he owned over 300.  Thus he presided over a concentration camp for decades.  Same for Jefferson: inherited slaves as a boy, ended up owning over 600, and presided over a concentration camp for decades.  He also had children with a slave woman. (No power differential there!) When biographer Fawn Brodie pointed this out decades ago, she was ritually attacked by White liberal historians (several of them on my campus).  Later, the DNA tests proved her right. (As if we needed the DNA test.)  Hamilton, beloved Federalist, White liberal hero:

“As the letter excerpted above reveals, Hamilton’s relationship with slavery is far from unblemished. It contains a bit of family business involving two of Hamilton’s sister-in-laws, Margarita Schuyler Van Rensselaer and Angelica Schuyler Church, and their desire to reacquire a slave named Ben who was, at the time, under lease to another political acquaintance. It is one of many such examples in Hamilton’s papers in which he acted as a financial agent for the sale, lease, or acquisition of slaves for his immediate family.” – See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/153639#sthash.KxD7migF.dpuf. From “Alexander Hamilton’s Exaggerated Abolitionism,” by

Now imagine a visitor from outer space who is given the currency, informed about the these slave-holding men, and then told that White Supremacist, serial sexual assaulter Trump has been elected president.  The visitor’s detached response: “Oh, okay. That makes sense. The country honors such men. Got it.”

3. Folks, it’s a White Supremacist nation.  A majority of college educated Whites in the South and Midwest voted for Trump.  College-educated. So much for the vaunted liberal-elite universities.  I have observed nothing to dissuade me from assuming that sizeable percentages of the student body, staff, and faculty at my liberal arts college either voted for Trump or did something with their vote that helped Trump get elected.   The schaudenfreude on campus on Wednesday was as thick as fog.

As a candidate for a job in African American Studies at my campus recently opined, “The law says you can, but you can’t.”  The post-Civil War amendments gave Blacks the rights of citizens and the right to vote, etc. (Except they didn’t.) Then came the lynching and other horrors after 1877.  Then came Jim Crow. Then came the mid-1960s civil rights legislation, much of it ignored in the South and often in the North (restrictive housing covenants, for example.  Note that Trump and Dad refused housing to Blacks).  Fast forward to “Stand Your Ground” and open carry.   A Black woman in the South stood her ground when she was about to be beaten up again by her husband.  She killed him with a gun because she (legitimately) feared for her life.  She was convicted and sent to prison.  She eventually got out, but that’s beside the point. The law says you can, but you can’t. Black men or women openly carrying guns?  Likely to be shot dead by a white man or woman and/or a police person.  Fast forward to events that spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.  People who say “All lives matter” are either gleefully indifferent to Black misery or are unable to absorb rudimentary linguistic subtlety in the English language.

I heard a Trumper at a rally, in response to something ugly Trump said about Clinton, yell, “String her up!”  People cheered.  Trump heard the comment and obviously thought it was appropriate.   Lynching-talk topped off by lethal misogyny.

4. White people from far Left to Far Right, can we please cut through the bullshit?  White people have never done right and made it stick for Black people.  Or for Latinos and Muslims, gays, lesbians, and the transgendered.  How many White people either voted for Trump or somehow knowingly enabled him to be elected?  A sizeable majority.  It’s moral depravity, and it never stops, and that’s why Trump got elected.  The rest is window-dressing.  A large majority of White people (many on my campus) would/will recoil from these statements (to say the least), go into wounded/outraged White-victim mode, and switch on the rationalization machine (and take it up to level 10).  They simply don’t have the moral character or intellectual maturity to fess up.  They are useless.

Donald Trump, the Ultimate Affirmative Action Candidate

After I watched the first presidential debate last night, I asked myself how someone as unprepared to serve as president, as ill informed about the world and national policy, and as badly composed could be the nominee of one major political party.   Many citizens must have been asking the same question, and I will add, although I shouldn’t have to, that the question pretty much ignores the politics of it all.  The perplexity has to do with the candidate, not his policies (?) or his Party’s policies.

It then occurred to me that Trump may be the ultimate affirmative action candidate, and here I am using “affirmative action” in the parodied, distorted sense its many critics have used it.  In their minds or in their cynical rhetorical strategies, affirmative action means that unqualified candidates take jobs that White candidates deserve because of liberals and their quota systems.  In reality, affirmative action mostly means this: because racism and bigotry have been at the heart of American history from the get go, perhaps some proactive (affirmative, as opposed to passive) steps to enlarge candidate pools should be taken.  I teach at a university that is “an affirmative action employer.”  All that has ever meant here is that the university advertises jobs so as to attract women candidates and candidates of color.  It has never meant that any department or program must hire person X because of that person’s gender or ethnic background.  Never.

But using affirmative action in the reactionary, parodic way, one may easily conclude that Trump is that affirmative action candidate the White Right has always warned us about.  He is completely unqualified for the job, if we take experience, temperament, knowledge of history, knowledge of global politics, grasp of policy, grasp of economics, ability to handle complexity soberly, patience, etc., into account.  But a mass of “angry White voters” wants him because they must have a White reactionary, and even a White Supremacist, president.  Birtherism is nothing more than an iteration of showing that “uppity” Black man who’s boss.

Trump’s supporters suffer from the cognitive dissonance of there having been a Black president for 8 years.  Even White evangelicals are flocking, so to speak, to Trump’s candidacy. Don’t laugh!   I’m just spit-balling here, but I can’t see evidence of Trump’s representing a Christian view of the world.  He is, for one thing, the Mammon candidate.

Even the media are in on the game.  They tend to normalize the horror he represents. They discuss him as just another Republican nominee, except for his fame and eccentricity.  The appropriate responses–incredulity, perplexity, outrage, urgency, figurative evisceration–are infrequent, at best.

Somewhere between 35 and 40 million citizens will vote for Trump–maybe more. They will do so because they must have a White male president, a White avaricious male demagogue, racist, misogynist, and xenophobe.  Qualifications be damned.  The country be damned.

 

The Normalization of Evil

My partner in political-language crime just sent me a link to a 2015 NYT article about fact-checking politicians:

The title is “All Politicians Lie–Some Lie More Than Others.”  (Obviously, the headline isn’t news, or shouldn’t be, to adults.)  The author goes on to list the “scores” of prominent politicians, with Ben Carson in the lead (at the time) with 85% of statements-checked turning out to be lies, or at least statements that are probably known by Carson to be a lie.  Trump was at about 75% at the time, President Obama at about 25%.

Should we care about such scores?  Of course we should.  Fact-checking is one way to cut through walls of bullshit the pseudocracy erects, even as those cuts seem to heal immediately, like a magic wall in a fantasy novel.

At the same time, one might reasonably ask of a candidate (for President of the United States) like Trump: Who cares if he’s lying?  He is a mentally ill White Supremacist suffering from megalomania and cut off from customary attention to consequences, common decency, and reality.  Why bother fact-checking when him he’s plainly unacceptable and makes the other candidate acceptable.  It, the election, presents us with  a binary choice between evil vs. ordinarily slippery.

A brief detour: I was listening to radio-coverage of the PGA golf tournament today as I was doing some home-maintenance outside.  A reporter interviewed Chris Christie and said, “How about Trump?! He was quite a golf stick.”  Citizens, this is the normalization of evil.  It springs from many sources.  In this case, the White privileged, right-wing nature of American golf, the notion that sports-commentary should never be “political” (and so you talk about a potential dictator’s golf-swing), the normalization of presidents with White Supremacist agendas: Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush.  Essentially, most media and most citizens have watched with insufficient alarm as the GOP moved toward this evil mess, dragging the Democrats rightward along the way.  Misogyny also got normalized along the way.

After I clicked on the link, I saw that among today’s headlines in the NTY were such things as why Hillary Clinton should fear a strategy that appeals to optimism and why the Democrats are gambling on “liberalism.”  First, since when is Hillary Clinton a “liberal”?  This is how out of wack our politics are.  She prefers universal healthcare, which all other capitalist, industrial nations have, she likes infrastructure bills, she thinks women should control their own bodies, etc.  She gives speeches to Wall Street.  How is any of this “liberal”?  Second, who gives a shit whether she’s liberal or not?  Or what campaign strategies the’s using?  She’s evidently sane, has normal adult restraint, and keeps up on current events.  Close enough. I really don’t care about her track-record at this point.  The people who voted for Trump put it out of consideration for me, and I hope it did for you, too.  That Trump is this close to the White House shows, among other things, the extent to which American White Supremacy and whatever Trump suffers from (besides White Supremacist birther insanity) is potently evil.

As Mr. Khan said in the interview that followed his rational speech about Trump, “Now is the time.”  The time to cast aside normal activities like support of Party, playing the game (as Ryan and McConnell are), fact-checking, poll-watching, golfing, etc.  First, stop the evil GOP candidate.  Then go back to normal programming.  Okay?”  Oy.

Racism, Police Reform, Protecting Police: “The Big Both/And”

Thesis: Both police reform and protection of the police must occur simultaneously and with the same urgency.

Two (of the most recent) executions of Black men by police, followed by five (of the most recent) killings of police offers.  Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas. The responses? Mostly either/or, especially from White folks.  That is, Black Lives Matter and other resistance-organizations have never even come close to advocating for or somehow approving of the killing of police.

For instance, a fellow posted a kind of advertisement on LinkedIn that asserted “Protect the Police,” all of the comments more or less said “just so,” and some comments said that if Black people want not to be killed by police, “they” should simply obey the law. A police detective from Tacoma communicated his heartbreak regarding Dallas and celebrated the bravery of police: entirely appropriate and understandable, and also it left much unsaid. But of course his purpose was to express grief and solidarity, not to cover all issues.

On Chris Hayes’s MSNBC show, Hayes, Jabari Asim (The New Yorker), and Eugene O’Donnell (former police officer, current faculty member at John Jay University) discussed President Obama’s speech in Dallas.  Hayes and Asim thought it was remarkable because it went beyond the usual safe political rhetoric. (Lawrence O’Donnell made the same point later, but emphasized that of all the 44 presidents, only President Obama could have made that rhetorical move–because of his background.)  That is, from their view, the President clearly and unambiguously acknowledged and supported the following points: racism affects policing, the police are asked to do way too much (especially in urban areas), the slaughter of police is as wrong as the slaughter of Black men and women and any men and women, police and other citizens need to empathize with the pain and outrage that protesters and others experience and express, and protesters need to acknowledge the pain and outrage experienced and expressed by the police.

Eugene O’Connell was having none of it.  While acknowledging that in that situation, the President was “damned if he did, damned if he didn’t,” he claimed that the President’s speech mainly offended the police nationwide. He went on to assert that the police are a para-military force that simply takes order from above, and if politicians and others want them to do or stop doing something, they just need to tell them. When Asim tried to mention something about police unions (and their resistance to reform), O’Donnell quickly shifted the terms of the argument and said that the whole discussion represented “elites” criticizing police and that “elites” simply don’t understand what police go through, especially in cities.  Oddly, he contradicted his early claim that the police will simply follow orders; not if the orders (the reform) is connected to the “elite,” it seems, and the elite seem to be anyone who is not police.

Hayes, I thought, responded appropriately to O’Donnell by simply saying that he (Hayes) had heard a different speech, and such widely different responses to the speech represented the problem the nation faces.

As many have stated, if you commit a crime, any crime, summary execution, obviously, shouldn’t be the cost–unless, obviously, you are trying to kill someone (police or not). That a majority of White folks (apparently) can’t wrap their mind around this is depressing, to say the least.  If you’re a Black person, a rational response to the police is to fear them.  If you’re a Black parent, you must have the talk with your children about racist policing and how to try to behave (provided you have the chance) when stopped by the police.  Bill DeBlasio referred to this “talk,” and later at an outdoor speech, almost all the police turned their backs on him in protest–simply for stating the obvious.  If you’re a Black parent, not having the talk would be absolutely irresponsible and potentially lethal.  And yet the police in New York blithely turned their backs.  Is that the grotesque over-reaction that lends itself to police report?  Maybe not.

As many have stated, the police form a human barrier between communities that the nation, especially the White nation, have simply abandoned with regard to education, jobs, infrastructure, mental health, addiction, physical health, and common respect.  Thus in many instances, their job is impossible.

You would think connecting the two dots–reform of policing, including racist policing and the wrong use of lethal force (dot one) and support of police by investing in communities and addressing urban (and rural) problems (dot two)–would be the obvious move for the nation, the states, and the communities to make.  Let’s put it even more simply: if the killings in Louisiana and Minnesota didn’t happen (and there is no good reason for them to have happened), the five officers in Dallas would probably still be alive.

But things are rarely that simple in the U.S.   If you call for police reform, then you must hate the police.  If you call for addressing the problems mentioned above, you’re told to shut up, it’s all the fault of people of color, I don’t live there so why should I care, let the police handle it, and so on.  Some police, especially their union reps, seem determined to oppose any reform. Politicians, especially but not exclusively from the GOP, seem determined to oppose addressing social problems and to acknowledging the experience of Americans of color (except for Ben Carson’s).

What would police reform look like? In part, it would look like the recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. (You may google it.) It would look like more training in de-escalation.  The State of Washington requires only 8 hours of such training for police.  The City of Everett, Washington, has decided to increase that to 48 hours. It has also started a program whereby social workers ride along with police officers to help address problems of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness.  It would look like taking seriously the 2006 FBI report about the serious problem of White Supremacists infiltrating police departments:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/5/21/1384553/-2006-FBI-Report-on-White-Infiltration-of-Law-Enforcement-You-Will-Be-Assimilated.

It would look like asking police officers where they think politicians should invest money.  It would look like surveying citizens, especially citizens of color, about their experiences with police and publishing the results. It would look like banning assault rifles.  It would look like leadership bringing all major constituents together in communities to work out police reform and social reform.

The City of Tacoma has participated in events at which they listen to the community about its experiences with police and its recommendations.  They started to get officers out of their patrol cars and into the community more, and they’ve added training to address inherent bias and inherent cross-cultural misunderstanding/ignorance.  Of course, Tacoma was shocked into creating a citizens’ oversight committee when a former Police Chief murdered his wife and children and then committed suicide. It’s also true that at least a bare minimum of White citizens in Tacoma have put their shoulders to the wheel, helping to fund important groups that ameliorate poverty, homelessness, addiction, and racism, and opening their minds to what people have color have to say.  It’s a start, at least.

I’m trying to follow the President’s entreaty (in Dallas and elsewhere) not to give in to despair.  It’s hard. Imagine how hard it is for most Black folks, especially those whose friends and family have been choked, shot, or beaten to death when unarmed or already restrained and even when having committed no crime.  Imagine how hard it is for over-stressed police officers or the families of slain officers.

Police reform would help the police. Addressing social problems, head-on and with serious investment, would help everyone, including the police. Rational gun-control would help the police and the communities.

It’s 2016, and the nation won’t connect the dots. More of the burden of connecting the dots must fall to White citizens and to the GOP and those who support it,  and if you know history, if you know politics, if you know statistics, if you’ve seen Trump,  if you listened carefully to the President’s speech, if you’ve watched Fox News, etc., you know why.  This is not one of those fake “fair and balanced” issues, even though, obviously, Democratic politicians, business people, and citizens have much to answer for, too.  The GOP is a White Supremacist organization with Trump currently at the helm, and it’s not even a close call.

 

Is Donald Trump the Most Honest Candidate Ever to Run For President?

Ladies and Gentlemen, Everyone:  I too recoil at the very idea this question poses.

However, because Trump is so transparent about his racism, bigotry, misogyny, self-absorption, cynicism, disrespect for the press, disrespect for all citizens (perhaps most especially his followers), indifference to  knowledge about policy, absence of curiosity about issues, disdain for charity (as a concrete practice and a spiritual attitude), fondness for the grotesque, hatred of process, willingness to commit war crimes, desire to flout law and custom, and so on, his candidacy cumulatively amounts to an eff-you to everything and everyone.  So much so that only people like him and people suffering from some kind of mental disorder or other generator of extreme irrationality it seems, will vote for him.

Of course, it would be easier if he would simply state, “I don’t care about anything or anyone, including myself.”  True, he boasts about possibly being the only person to run for the presidency and make money off it.  I think he means make money immediately, as Bill Clinton (for instance) has certainly cashed in. But he seems so reckless that even cynical profiteering seems beyond his interest and capability.  In a way, he’s an imitation grifter; he can’t really even get that right anymore.

It’s also true that he could be elected president.  That tells us much about the United States, about White Americans especially, and about the derangement caused (through no fault of Mr. Obama’s) by the election, twice, of Barack Obama–combined, of course, with willful ignorance, White Supremacy, bizarre White fantasies, and Whites’ own self-loathing. Can a nation that elected Barack Obama president turn around and elect Trump? Probably not, and of course I hope not, but you just never know about White Americans, and let’s face it, that’s whom we’re talking about.  The number of Asian Americans, Latino/a Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and citizens from other groups who will vote for Trump will hardly register in the data.  He is the candidate of disturbed and disturbing White America, or that section of White America that is so disturbed and disturbing.  That Fox News and other similar outlets assist Trump is all you need to know about them and their viewers, readers, listeners.  There’s simply no way to get around that.  By helping him, they, too, have dropped whatever scraps of pretense they held onto.

At any rate, Trump’s candidacy seems to say this: “I hate you all, I am the apotheosis of much that’s wrong with your country, and I dare you to vote for me anyway.  Did I mention I hate you?”

So, yes, even though Trump’s candidacy is all about dishonesty (he has probably set a record for lying–it’s not a close call), it is also about doing away with rhetoric that is in any way subtle, within bounds, and traditionally persuasive.  It’s as close to an “honest” punch in the face as it can get, and, not surprisingly, Trump  also “honestly” encourages violence at his rallies and in the streets. Can American handle this kind of “truth” about itself?  We’ll see.

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