Donald Trump is not funny

Grab the popcorn! Donald Trump has made the 2016 Republican primary the entertainment event of the season! And though they admit it’s terrible, plenty of liberals almost hope that he gets the nomination — because it’d be comedy gold, and of course, because then Hillary would win easily.

The former reason relies on the logic of politics as entertainment, while the latter presupposes the theory that Democrats will benefit from right-wing overreach. There is literally no evidence of the latter theory, however — if anything, just the opposite. What could possibly represent a greater overreach than lying the country into an unnecessary and criminal war, all on the backs of the victims of 9/11? Yet lo and behold, Bush won reelection. And since then, the Republicans have been more successful wherever they’ve been more extreme. Obama’s unique personal appeal masks this somewhat, but the Tea Party has made steady gains during his presidency. On the state level, no overreaching Republican governor has been punished for his foolish and reckless policies — the archetypal Scott Walker not only survived a recall, but was subsequently reelected.

We also know that Republicans have been pushing to restrict voting as much as possible, and there have been strong suspicions of election fraud — in Florida in 2000, in Ohio in 2004, and in Wisconsin during the recall. If it can happen during the most important and closely monitored elections, it surely must be happening lower down as well.

Even leaving all that aside, if Trump wins the Republican nomination, that makes him more, not less likely to become president. And given what we know about him, that’s a frightening prospect. His business career does not provide us with much confidence that he will live up to America’s international agreements. He is a misogynist whose ex-wife has accused him of rape. His immigration plan amounts to ethnic cleansing, and he is not shy about stoking up violent emotions about immigrants — most notably when he claimed that Mexican immigrants were all a bunch of rapists. And when one of his followers was literally inspired to commit murder by his rhetoric, he did not appear to care at all. All this adds up to fascism — not as a slur, not as a rhetorical exaggeration to rally the troops, but literal, textbook fascism.

Some might say it could never happen here. Well, then exactly where the hell else could it happen? This is a nation where ethnic minorities are gunned down in the street by the police, and where the murderers hold successful Kickstarter campaigns. It’s a nation that is perpetually at war and whose military and intelligence services are well known to have used torture with impunity. It’s a nation where the powerful have perfected scapegoating and victim blaming to a science.

All of this admittedly plays into another favorite Democratic pastime — demanding people hold their nose and vote for unappealling Democrats in order to stave off the worst. I hope we don’t have to test how big a motivator that strategy is this time around.

5 Responses to “Donald Trump is not funny”

  1. Michael Caplan Says:

    This is exactly right – authentic fascism in American drag. The recent beating of a homeless Hispanic man by two of Trump’s “supporters” is just the beginning. His response? “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Ah, passion. Ah, greatness.

  2. Ruth Marshall Says:

    No, he’s really not – you’re absolutely right Adam. I’ve developed a lurid and unhealthy fascination with the train wreck of the American polity, mostly b/c I spent the past year researching the toxic waste being spewed by the ‘new’ Christian right. I’ve been comforting myself with the well-established research showing that while leaders and activists might be extreme, the great majority of people who sympathize or identify with them don’t really hold such extreme views, nor do these issues count as vote-deciding. But increasingly, I’ve been worndering if all those studies aren’t simply dated, and that we’re looking at something new/different. The fact that Charisma published a prophecy by one Jeremiah Johnson, where he claimed that God had spoken to him and told him that He was going to use Trump as His ‘trumpet’. The ‘prophet’ wasn’t prepared to make a case for Trump’s Christian bona fides – which would clearly beggar all and any belief – rather, he clevery cited Isiah 45, claiming God doen’t just use the good guys, “but He has also chosen to accomplish His will through men and women who have ignored and rebelled against Him. […] The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth.” http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/23916-prophecy-donald-trump-shall-become-the-trumpet. Glenn Beck brought the article up a few days ago, (despite having declared his show a “Trump Free Zone” a month ago) and while the three stooges he poisons the air-waves with all answered his query – “the Donald – God’s trumpet?” with ‘no way’ and mockery, Beck left the question open. I’ve been thinking about how easy it is for such twisted arguments to trump whatever Christian moralism or scirpturalism purportedly guides a person – you don’t have to buy it 100%, you just need a chapter and verse that can justify in a pinch. like my Nigerian friend who claimed he was “born-again from the waist up.” So it’s totally possible – history is littered with cases, and I can see it heppening right before my eyes. I often feel like screaming “wake the fuck up America! You’ve got your finger on the fucking button!” For the first time in my lifetime (or ever), our ‘left-wing’ party stands a decent chance of winning a federal election, and getting rid of our own ‘right-wing’ asshole that is Stephen Harper. I doubt it will happen, but even if it does, if you people vote for the Donald or another fascist populist, it won’t matter for shit.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    That prophecy is truly horrifying. Christians will convince themselves they’re voting for the katechon when they’re really selling out to the man of lawlessness.

  4. Michael Caplan Says:

    Were I apocalyptically inclined, I would agree with Rosenzweig:
    “War is no more immoral, i.e., irreligious, than peace. It is the men who are good or evil … The religious doctrine of peace, insofar as it is not simply an allegory of the condition of the individual soul, is an idea of a concluding era: peace appears at the moment when world history has run its course. Consequently religion does not regard this ultimate peace as man’s work but as a direct act of God to be prepared by a final and terrible series of wars. These wars are not to teach men the horror of war (men have known this all along, i.e., as long as there have been wars, i.e., history, i.e., human beings – animals do not wage war any more than they pray, laugh, write poetry) but to bring about the last definitive separation of men (as individuals) into good and evil ones; they are the last and strongest “temptation” to confront mankind.” [from “Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought”, presented by Nahum N. Glatzer, p. 38]
    Peace out …

  5. Another Very Busy Couple of Weeks, Another Absolutely Too Long Linkpost | Gerry Canavan Says:

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