The other day, Martin Zeichner posted this on a Trump thread:
Thank you for this post. I have also given the topic of “Why does Trump have any supporters at all?” some thought. I figure that it must be that Trump’s hard core base must identify with him in some way.
I think that it has a great deal to do with the fact that Trump is a baby boomer. He is of a similar generation to me being about 8 years older than myself. I also am from New York City and I am familiar with the neighborhood that has been shown in photographs.Jamaica estates
I was rebellious as an adolescent. It may be my own bias, but I think that a little rebellion on the part of children against their parents is a good thing (within moderation).
So what is the difference between Donald Trump and myself? How is it that he grew up with a lust for the power of the PoTUS and I didn’t. I think that there are many ways to answer these questions but I think that it comes down to anger. The baby boomers were and are an angry generation. They managed to pass their anger along to their least rebellious children. So now we have a whole lot of people in their twenties or late fifties into their seventies that are angry and have poor memories about just what it is that they are angry about. They have, for instance, memories about the rise in violent crime in the 1960’s and 1970’s that tapered off in the 1990’s due to the fact that the population was getting too old to indulge in the physical exertion that violent crime requires. Trump plays on these oldsters like they were a bunch of violins.
Trump is ignorant of economics, among other things. I think that his “You’re Fired!!” character from “The Assistant” resonates with the TV generation who like to think of themselves as ‘The Boss’. Meanwhile Trump is more like a ‘Boss Baby’ that just learned how to tweet than a ‘Boss’
I think that most of us agree that anger begets anger as lash begets back-lash, and back-back-lash. Trump’s and my generation is the same generation that was angry at the administration of Kent State University when the riots broke out. Or the people that liked disco. This was the generation that did lines of cocaine in the 1980’s. (remember when we were all shocked when W.J.Clinton claimed that he didn’t inhale? OMG a sax player from Arkansas that didn’t inhale?) Now that they are old enough to be considered elder statesmen, they want to ‘get back’ at the women and minorities that have been given reparations and benefits in the past.
Some of Trump’s critics have called Trump a genius at oratory or firing up a crowd or whatever. I don’t think so. I think that he knows how to get the job but he hasn’t got a clue how to do the job. I have actually known people like this.Trump with a presidency is like a mule with a spinning wheel. Nobody knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.
Why Trump continues to have any support at all is something to consider, given his predilection for lying at every opportunity, his utter ineptitude at anything requiring a modicum of intelligence and research, and his moral misgivings. In a recent piece “Conservative Eviscerates Trump“, John Ziegler made a number of interesting points, a few of which are pertinent here:
- Ziegler is not a “Cash-sevative” or “click-servative”. In the rational world, Trump is not a conservative, and nor, actually, are a good deal many of his supposed conservative followers.
- His only conservative positions are based in what his cult wants him to do. If they wanted the opposite, and cheered him for it, he would oblige in a moment. He doesn’t believe in anything.
- He now realises that the conservative right is actually held together with the glue of racism. Meeting people with extremism he used to think were just the “crazies” but now he realises they are mainstream.
- He was surprised that the Republicans continually did so well in elections because he knew that the majority of people didn’t believe in conservative principles. Now he realises it is ideals such as racism that bound and binds them (and not that the Democrats couldn’t get their act together).
- He understands the tension between media, audience and principle – think of Glenn Beck backtracking on his criticism of Trump after he lost audience, revenue and his team lost jobs.
- Conservatism in media is a business and not a cause. It’s a business pretending to be a cause, and this is a con.
- Given that conservative media is a con, there is no surprise they laud Trump as he understands the con better than anyone.
What we can see is that Trump isn’t so much driving his followers but reflecting them in allowing them to voice their inner dark conscience, and stoking those rabid ideals and feelings. It is a coextensive relationship that has a lot to do with “us” and “them” and thus racism.
Trump really is ignorant about a whole bunch of things and this is patently obvious as seen every time he opens his mouth. Whether it be concerning the Bible, foreign aid, trade (tariffs, interest rates etc.), the border, national security, national intelligence, climate change (or, in his mind, daily weather), foreign policy, and and and…
I still don’t understand how anyone with even the slightest intelligence and rational pride can continue to support him. Someone like See Noevo, a regular commenter here, loudly and proudly supports him, but he shows no rational pedigree in so doing. What is obvious to me is that in order to maintain a support for Trump, whilst still proclaiming to be morally upstanding, one has to employ extreme moral consequentialism. I will let all these moral misgivings go in order to see a greater good that comes out of Trump’s presidency. This is rather problematic in light of their often big claims fo religiosity. Consequentialism is only rarely accepted as an attractive moral value system by the religious. But there is no other way to explain the forgiving attitude towards the rest of Trump’s inept leadership.
Someone with moral and political integrity would admit “well, I do really disagree with this and this, but, on balance, I let it fly because I really value that and that.” Yet that never happens.
But what is it that Trump really stands for? What is it he is looking to achieve or has achieved that his supporters apparently want?
Here is what he appears to want to do or is doing:
- Cutting taxes for the rich.
- He claimed the cuts would be reinvested but they have not been.
- Cutting welfare for the poor.
- He said he could completely eliminate the federal debt in eight years. Instead, the federal debt has exploded.
- He promised to boost the wages, including a $4,000 pay raise for the average American family. Instead, wages for most Americans have been flat, adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, over the same period, corporate profits have soared and the rich have become far richer, but the gains haven’t trickled down.
- Advocates not paying taxes (so who should pay for all of the services the US government provides?). Keeping his own tax returns private, obstructing transparency.
- Allowing laws against abortion to be passed.
- Build a wall; keep immigrants out.
- He wants to bring back the coal industry even though it is not competitive and is environmentally disastrous (as well as being problematic for health & safety).
- He is anti-renewable technology, undoubtedly the future of energy business.
- He has rolled back an immense amount of environmental legislation.
- He is racist.
- He is sexist.
- He wants war with Iran (even though he had a platform of not getting involved abroad).
- Pushing for and succeeding in getting conservative judges across the smaller courts as well as the Supreme Court.
- Hugely raising the deficit – in the first eight months of the fiscal year, the deficit increased about 39% to $738.6 billion.
- Supporting Putin, long-time enemy of the States, over his own national organisations.
- Says he loves the North Korean dictator, who promptly executed his officials after the collapse of the US talks.
- To play golf and cost the taxpayer massively in doing so, after haranguing Obama for doing this (which he did far less) – $102 million and counting.
- Cost the taxpayer massively in family holidays – his family visit to the UK cost over $40 million.
- He has rolled back or attempted to roll back rafts of healthcare legislation so that healthcare will remain the domain of corporations intent on maximising profit.
- Campaign against socialism, but contradictorily (as above) claim that you are the defender of Medicare and people with pre-existing conditions.
- Campaign to drain the swamp whilst simultaneously employ them (Priebus, Tillerson, Pruitt, Goldman Sachs anyone?).
- America First: He promised to keep jobs at home and not leak them abroad. Instead, his tax law has created financial incentives for corporations to expand their operations abroad. His trade wars have made companies like Harley Davidson to move production overseas.
- Refusal to regulate gun industry and ownership.
So on and so forth. Trump keeps also making claims of successful bills and policies that were actually Obama policies (e.g. veterans’ bill). We can distil this down to:
Support rich over poor; coal and pollution over a clean environment; corporate healthcare over government provided universal healthcare; pro-fetus over pro-choice; in-group over universal humanity; his own family desires over the needs of the people he rules; moral scandal over clean living; obstruction over transparency; career politicians and those with vested interests over real experts in the field; gun deaths over gun laws.
And, as ever, I return to my standard claim: that idiots who support him wholeheartedly do so on the basis of single-issues (abortion, gun laws, immigration) and in so doing forgive him everything else. Everything. It goes back to what Ziegler said – that racism is the glue that binds the conservatives. I would say racism, gun ownership and abortion; otherwise, they don’t really care about fiscal conservatism and other conservative values. Those play a distant second fiddle to the real big ideals that drive their fervent and cultish support of the buffoon-in-chief.
I’ll leave you with another Zeichner comment in response to the above Zeigler article:
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