For some time now, I’ve stopped trying to figure out Donald J Trump. We’ve got him cold. We know who he is, how he acts and will act, what single objective motivates him (total selfishness) and how devoid there is in him any sense of common community or decency toward others.
Instead I’ve concentrated on trying to figure out his supporters, our fellow Americans who see in him the “strong man” Richard Rorty famously predicted in 1998, would come to power on the backs of resentment of educated “elitists.”
Blogs I have written reflect my changing view of his primary supporters.
I bought the idea as reflected in their own 2016, voting booth exit interviews that much of it was based on the loss of jobs, earnings, downsizing of middle class economic opportunities and the like. I thought we ought to redouble efforts to help those people quoting Lincoln’s two Inaugural addresses – we are brothers and must not be enemies.
But as time passed and nothing Trump did that offended traditional American values and worked against our Countries ability to continue as a World leader reduced the ranks of his supporters, I swung toward the belief that his hard core supporters can not be redeemed through economic help, that their grievances are based on fear of and bigotry toward “others” (ethnic, religious, class). I believe these fellow Americans whose support fuels Trump’s ability to destroy our Country as we have known it must not only be resisted, they must be defeated.
There is a review in the Washington Post this morning of three books that explore all this. I commend it to you.
The next test of Trump vs the Rest of Us comes on Tuesday.
I do not myself have confidence in the broad outcome of the elections. The political analyst consensus is a “likelihood” that the Democrats win Majority in the House but the Republicans retain and even strengthen their Majority in the Senate. Democratic control of the House would reduce Trump/GOP “bloodletting” but the Senate’s ability to confirm future SCOTUS nominees (and lower court judges) would remain unchecked.
But what happens if the election returns do show a razor-thin Democratic victory in the House? Will Trump and his supporters accept it, abide by the rules of Majority control?
I’m not talking about violence in the streets, I’m talking about a refusal to participate in ordinary rules of parliamentary business. I was amazed in 1995, after its Victory in seizing control of Congress that the GOP (Gingrich & Company) moved to shut down the U S Government if they didn’t get their way. Fortunately, Clinton and the majority of Americans pushed back successfully…although the GOP has returned time and time again to brandishing the “shutdown” tactic – my way or a broken highway. If next January a defeated House GOP simply boycotts the legislative process, what then would be the possibility of violence in the streets?
On the other hand, how should we conduct ourselves if the GOP retains both Houses after Tuesday? There are no “moderates” left in the top ranks of the GOP and instead of working across the aisle in the spirit of compromise I think we would see a flood of new selfish, hateful actions and a resulting increase in the bigoted actions of Trump’s supporters.
As to my question of how we should conduct ourselves if the GOP retains both Houses, I’m not sure just now about tactics but I am sure we must resist vigorously.
History shows that compliance with an evil brings no safety. Hoping that time will moderate the damage is an illusion.
In a fight to retain the America we knew, there is no substitute for victory.