Trump’s Victory: A Case Study in Fear.

by Pitt Griffin on December 26, 2016 · 0 comments

in Election 2016, Politics

Trump’s win gobsmacked liberals, the media, and no doubt some conservatives. It defied logic. How could people of faith support of a man of no faith – or even moral worth?  How could workers vote for a man who has consistently shafted the little guy?

His ascension was propelled by a claim of business smarts despite a career littered with failure and bankruptcy. Celebrated as a tough negotiator – he is but putty in the hands of flatterers.

So how did Trump win? Two things stick out. The American political system and the willing suspension of disbelief of a slice of the American electorate.

Patriots celebrate the Constitution as a glorious how-to manual for a new type of Republican state freed from the shackles of hereditary and arbitrary power. Its manifest purpose was to balance the competing needs of liberty and security. To give the people a voice in their government without it being subject to their passions.

As with most human endeavors, it is at best, the least bad of all the other possibilities. The Constitution was a fudge. It promised that the interests of small states and large, slave-owning states and free, agricultural states and commercial, would be attended to.

To this end, the founding fathers created the Rube Goldberg political institution known as the Electoral College. This monstrosity of anti-democratic machinations has granted the presidential winner’s laurels to the loser of the popular vote twice in the last five elections.

It may be that 52% of Trump’s acolytes believe he won the popular vote – but the facts are otherwise. Hillary Clinton may not have won the brass ring, but she was the choice of near 3 million more citizens than Trump.

In response, Trump argues that he played the game by the rules. That if he had had to compete for the popular vote he would have won it. Adding that he would have in fact won the popular vote if millions of illegal aliens hadn’t voted for Clinton.

The first contention is arguable – but we’ll never know. The second is pure smoke – a product of cynicism, paranoia, conspiracy or just plain stupidity.

As for the Trump voters’ suspension of disbelief, it is not unexpected. Americans talk a good game. We all imagine ourselves to be masters of our small patch. That if push came to shove we would spit on our hands and take the fight to the other guy. But in reality, Americans are a timorous lot – easily frightened.

The typical ‘real American’ grounded in ‘fly-over country’ places his faith in the absolute truths of the Bible, the Constitution, and his race. Trump played these poor, fearful folk for fools. Politicians from the birth of a nation until the present have kept the huddled masses scared of the bogeyman. Trump is just a proud member of the club

And who are these bogeymen? Where to start? Muslims, blacks, women, terrorists, foreign workers, socialists, atheists, gays – and the parade marches on.

It explains why the religious backed the heathen. Because he’s their Big Brother. They may believe that in the long run, God will have their back, but in the interim Trump will do the temporal work of ensuring their safety.

That’s the problem with God. The true believer knows that He’s all-powerful but He isn’t as available, or solid, as the guy pontificating from the dais – the one promising America will be great again. God may be the ultimate savior, but it doesn’t hurt the true believer to elect a little back-up.

This belief in the protective power of a demogogue blinds the feeble-minded to the nature of that demogogue. Trump’s abysmal business record is dismissed as cheap propaganda. His fans ignore his scam university, his foreign workers, his cheating, his misogyny and his creepy attraction to his daughter.

It’s no surprise; his base comprises people who have voted since 1980 for the very politicians who have stolen their wealth and diminished their prospects.

They aren’t shy in presenting evidence of their poor reasoning skills. They willingly deny science. Cling to millennia-old fairy tales as the explanation for life. Believe that medical care was better before Obamacare; that terrorists are an overwhelming force poised to ruin America; that raping Mexicans are already despoiling the flower of America’s white womanhood.

In short, they are willing to believe anything but the truth.

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