My profound insights into Trump

Trump hugging flag

I have no insights into Trump. Whatever the sources of his appeal, I am utterly blind to them. Whatever he’s offering, I don’t even have receptors for. Most of my family is conservative, but they all hate him. My inside informants into the conservative mindset are therefore useless here. To me, he seems like a charlatan and a fool, in a way that is immediately, overpoweringly obvious. I know we are all rightly suspicious of universals in this day and age, but I suspect that anyone, regardless of cultural background, is fully capable of recognizing Donald Trump as a worthless blowhard.

We are dealing with a phenomenon to which I radically lack access, even indirect. And so to those commentators who say that this should come as no surprise, that this is a natural outgrowth of America or whatever other too-knowing-by-half bullshit is filling all the column-inches, I feel I must say: please, just shut up. A cartoon character, a literal professional wrestling contestant, is one economic downturn or one scandal away from becoming the president. We’re allowed to be surprised, we’re allowed to be afraid, and we’re allowed to reject the cold comfort that at least Donald Trump is a total nihilist and hence his presidency would be an exciting throw of the dice.

15 thoughts on “My profound insights into Trump

  1. As someone from a pretty rural community I do know a lot of people that unironically like trump. I would say his appeal is 1/2 overt racism (these people honestly think that the Republican Party isn’t racist, because it’s level of racism is saturated into every single one of their work and social interactions, fish/water etc.) and 1/2 hating the elites that run their party so much they’d rather have the party become totally unelectable then deal with them one second longer.

  2. My father supports Trump while only a few weeks ago, he was sending articles to me about what is won’t with Trump and any he wasn’t a good candidate. When pressed for his readings for supporting him, my father said,”Because I support WINNERS (emphasis his) not losers”

  3. From outside the US it appears that part of the appeal of Trump is the call to return industry to post-industrial America, to move against the outsourcing of industry by attacking free-trade agreements- ie vs NAFTA and TPPA… so much of his support is from those areas and sections of america hit by post-industrial decline- hence his langauge of ‘regaining pride’ hit a raw nerve
    Or I could also go theoretical and invoke James Clifford’s “every post- contains the possibility of a neo-” whereby the post-political mood has, via Trump beome a populist neo-politcial mood; that is, Trump speaks the ugly language of all those who felt excluded by politics but felt there were pragmatic “common sense” solutions…

  4. I think what you’re pointing to Adam, and that some commentators seem to be missing, is that it is quite easy to drop some post facto explanations on to the phenomenon of Trump–from left or right perspectives. However, no one that I know of was warning of this possibility a year ago: we were all prepping for a Clinton/Bush showdown. I defy anyone to show me a prediction that someone besides a Bush/Ryan/Walker type would emerge out of the GOP field, or, let’s not forget, that a self-avowed socialist would capture 45% of the vote on the Dem side. What does the man say? The Owl of Minerva or some such.

  5. Echoing Mike Grimshaw comments above, I think he speaks to the losers from post-industrial America. I think it is telling that he reduces international relationships to domination or being dominated. In so doing he projects nationalism onto class antagonism.

    If you associate trade with decline of a particular mode of production which you stood to benefit from (comparatively speaking), and then associate your personal position as being typical of America as a whole, I can see how Trumps message could appeal.

    His anti-establishmentism appeals as he rejects the PC elites who act as slaves of foreign masters.

  6. It wouldn’t be a comment thread if people didn’t miss my point. And it wouldn’t be the internet if people didn’t always adopt a tone of cynical knowingness about literally everything.

  7. Sure, but I think it’s telling that the only people who “predicted” Trump could become president were the writers for the Simpsons. Only when it’s your job to come up with the most cynical contingency does President Trump even enter your mind.

  8. I am increasingly reminded of the the alternative history of Philip Roth’s novel ‘The Plot Against America’…

  9. “Democracy” means we get what we deserve. This nation elected G.W. Bush twice and he gave his friends what they wanted. The result is the economic gap now so evident even conservatives notice. Trump knows how to sell. Americans know how to buy. So what has changed?

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