Après Trump, Le Déluge

DT won’t go away!  The most recent Quinnipiac Poll ( https://poll.qu.edu/poll-release?releaseid=3810) reports that 66 percent of respondents do not want Donald Trump to (re)run for President. Nonetheless, 66 percent of Republicans would like him to run again. (Not surprisingly, the same percentage of Republicans do not believe that Biden’s 2020 victory was legitimate.)  DT refuses to disappear and, as a result, the Republican Party keeps acting crazy.  What explains this?

Here are four explanations.

1.Psychological: DT is mentally ill; he has the  pathological variety of narcissistic personality disorder.  He craves attention and, therefore, since leaving the White House, he has been undergoing a form of withdrawal.  This situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Donald has been banned from Twitter and Facebook — as this was being written Facebook banned DT until at least January 2023 (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/04/facebook-says-donald-trump-to-remain-banned-from-platform-for-2-years-effective-from-jan-7.html)

Losing the competition for the US presidency would be hard on anyone — reportedly, Hillary Clinton was very depressed after her 2016 defeat — but particularly hard on DT because he has never been characterized as “playing with a full deck.”  After all, this is the guy who suggested a possible antidote to the Coronavirus was to drink bleach.  DT asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.  He proposed buying Greenland. And on and on.

Since losing the 2020 election, Trump’s aberrant behavior has worsened. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-other-than-that-happy-easter_n_60688dd7c5b6832c7937af52) And, he’s taking the Republican Party down the toilet with him.  Congressional Republicans seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome: “where hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers.”

2. Anthropological: An alternative explanation is that since June of 2015, when Trump announced his run for President, he’s turned the Republican Party into a personality cult.  In effect, he’s created a pseudo-religion featuring himself as the messiah.  This religion operates by the DT rules:
a. The truth is whatever Donald says it is.
b. Winning is everything. Whatever you have to do to win is acceptable.
c. The American system is broken and only DT knows how to fix it. Trust him.
d. The mainstream media can’t be trusted; there is no honest criticism of DT.
e. Salvation is letting DT have his way.

Some studies have shown that uneducated white males trust capitalism more than they trust religion.  These pilgrims trust DT to fix their lives.  Trump is their role model; someone who beat the system by playing by his own rules. Trump devotees believe if DT triumphs, they will triumph.  (If you think this sounds like Totalitarianism 101, you’re right.)

3. Sociological: A slightly different explanation is that Trump has provided a vehicle for millions of white, male, less-educated Americans to channel their resentment.  Writing in the Washington Post, Republican columnist Michael Gerson (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-is-now-just-the-party-of-white-grievance/2021/03/01/67679480-7ab9-11eb-85cd-9b7fa90c8873_story.html) observed: “One of the poisonous legacies of Donald Trump’s presidency has been to expand the boundaries of expressible prejudice. Through the explicit practice of White-identity politics, Trump has obviated the need for code words and dog whistles… The party has been swiftly repositioned as an instrument of white grievance. It refuses to condemn racists within its congressional ranks. Its main national legislative agenda seems to be the suppression of minority voting.” [Emphasis added]

Trump devotees feel they have lost their shot at the American dream.  DT provides them with an acceptable narrative: What happened to them is not their fault: they haven’t lost out because they are poorly educated or insufficiently motivated; they’ve been cheated out of their deserved opportunity by a conspiracy — promulgated by Obama and the Clintons — that shunted them aside and favored undeserving women and people-of-color.  (And Jews.)

in this context, racism and misogyny is okay; because DT says it’s okay.  The Trump resentment express is a closed system that says and does unethical, un-American, and violent things and then justifies them on the basis that they either aren’t being reported accurately or the targets deserve payback.  The resentment express theme is not only that “anything goes” but also that DT validates any behavior seen as favoring him.

4. Political: Finally, there’s a political explanation; the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt and has allowed itself to be taken over by DT because Republicans actually don’t have any ideas other than protecting the rich and powerful. Think hard: what policy ideas were promoted by DT during  his residency in the White House? (1) Cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy.  (2) Build the wall.  (3)….

Next time “mainstream” Republicans excuse DT by saying, “I never liked his tweets but he had a lot of good ideas;” ask them what ideas they are defending.  After cutting taxes for the rich and building the wall there were NO ideas.  Think about it.  Republicans were in total control of Washington for the first two years of the Trump regime.  All they accomplished was cutting taxes for the rich and powerful.  (And building a few miles of wall.)

When an American political Party is devoid of ideas they have no choice but to run national campaigns based upon personality.  So. Republicans were steamrolled by DT’s narcissism. At the time — 2015 — they felt they didn’t have a choice.  Since then Republican leaders have had lots of opportunities to chose the non-DT road but each time they have folded.  Because they are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Writing in Mother Jones ( https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/06/why-donald-trump-doesnt-need-facebook/?), veteran correspondent David Corn observed, “Trump still will inhabit a supersized role in Republican—and American—politics because of two important factors: money and fear.”  (DT is by far the biggest money raiser in GOP land.)

66 percent of Republicans would like to see DT run again because he’s alive and their other GOP choices are zombies.  Out here on the Left Coast, the Republican party looks like it is going over the falls.