The Ingredients for Kool-aide
Evidently not everyone wants the head of their government to care for them, to care about their lives, or make decisions that are in anyone’s best interest but his own. A disturbingly formidable section of America does not care that they are getting bupkis from a government to which they pay their blue-collar minimum wage dollars as the federal taxes deducted from their check. In this administration it is hard to say that, at the federal level, the usual services like infrastructure, education, real police protection (not that under the corrupt influence of Barr), and certainly public health and FEMA relief, are being provided. According to a 2019 article, Trump promised massive infrastructure repair in his pitch. Three years later America is still waiting — and deteriorating. For instance, defects in a 108-year-old railroad bridge and tunnel cost New York commuters thousands of hours in delays. In Nebraska, a Trump pocket of voters, flooding caused by decaying bridges cost taxpayers almost half a billion in repairs. The irony here is that this is the same man that, as a real estate developer in 1980s New York, bought up decaying properties and actually made successes of some. The main difference is that in New York he was doing it for himself (and to get his father’s approval/money) and now he would be doing it to benefit 327 million people that have nothing do do with him — only that a third of them indirectly put him where he is.
The MAGAA people seem to thrive on the apathy evident in everything this president does. They see him doff his mask as soon as he enters the White House, his adopted home. After a bout with COVID, which he compares to the flu, he comes in like typhoid Mary. COVID Donny left his viral load in Minnesota, New Jersey, and the halls and corridors of the White House. He infected a number of staff, senators, Stephen Miller, Chris Christie, and his press secretary Kylie Mcenany. Obviously he does not care about what surely he can see is the end result. A government, comprised largely of people over 70, infected with COVID. His minions don’t care. Either they are too dense to see what is happening, or they just don’t care if a federal government exists at all, much less one that cares about them. His doctor at Walter Reed was spinning like a break dancer, ensuring that there is enough yarn left in the false narrative of COVID prevention to get his patient through to election day, perhaps as a much lamer duck.
The GOP has always promoted this kind of self-sufficient mentality, this kind of I-can-take-anything-life-throws-at-me dogma. Fostered by an ignorance (if even acceptance) of science, a profound reliance on religion is the remedy for any eventuality, even a pandemic. Trump is the furthest thing from a Christian on god’s green earth, using tear gas and flash grenades on people to be seen holding a bible, but he will play the part if it gets him what he needs. This party’s accedence, particularly the ones who, in spite of their efforts, have not moved past the trailer park, do not move with life. They repeatedly fail to acknowledge that anything has really changed in race relations, economic and environmental needs, science, or the very practice of religion. Those in the party who have made it, the one percent who never needs or wants for anything, perhaps has never had to their entire life, are secure, occasionally walk to the balcony ala Marie Antoinette, and have no concern for anything, happy to live out their days as the world decays. They are stuck in time, political, social, and economic road apples, moles on the back of America that remain the same as the rest grows. In 2020 the GOP coalition is becoming more working-class. Trouble is, its agenda is not. The GOP coalition itself, though, is getting smaller. Fifty percent of Americans identify as Democrats, while 39 percent have the absence of mind to vote for a man who advocated the grabbing of pussies. Incidentally, the religious leaning, faith-based right really pays homage to the evolutionary concept of Darwinism. Trump’s “herd mentality” is fundamentally natural selection. It is survival of the fittest in its most nascent manifestation.
The elephant is noted for its memory, trained, and given no real incentive, to forget the traditional ways that keeps many, including themselves, in chains. The end of that chain may be less than a month away. The GOP voting base is becoming increasingly working-class. If the “blue tsunami” forecast hits in November, there will be implications for the aftermath of the Republican party. We have seen the catastrophic failure of a president, his party — the likes of which has not been replicated since Herbert Hoover — while its leader intimates that Americans inject disinfectant into their arm as thousands die in a pandemic, one who (possibly elucidated by COVID aiding drugs) “walks away” from negotiating a relief package after putting the economy in the greatest recession since WWII. In the past months even non-college educated whites are getting wise to his game. This was the main demographic he could count on for their gullibility. That handicapping factor in America dies hard, prevailing enough to make a showing in polls. Trump still sits with a 20-point lead in this demographic. They no doubt comprise his base, the same red-capped troglodytes who wait sans mask with baited droplet breath to chant “lock her (or any Democrat) up.” His tenuous grip on a surprisingly sizable minority of nonwhite voters has barely loosened. CNN, Monmouth University, and NYT polls show his support from minority groups basically unchanged from 2018 exit polls — which was only marginally higher than those of 2016. So why this phenomenon, after the pandemic and ensuing recession has disproportionately taken their toll on these groups? Faith, an eternal hope for a better tomorrow? Perhaps it is the same obstinate refusal to change what is not working, what is imperiling millions, that compelled Lyndon Johnson to threaten Humphrey if he changed policy in Vietnam.
I’d like to try to understand what the better part of America sees as insanity. Educated professionals, those pulling down 200 to 300K a year who might actually have (had) something to gain with Trump, have jumped from the Titanic of presidents by now. Like the ill-fated 1912 ship, the upper classes were able to leave first. The second and third classes were in some cases held from getting off the ship into lifeboats. Here, in Trumpland, the GOP is becoming a haven for the working-class. They are Johnny-lunch-pails, 9–5, meat & potato minds of mediocrity. Impervious to change, they are reluctant to do anything that might impair their ability to put food on a table for their family. It defies logic. It is grossly negligent and counter-productive. But I think I get it, and it is deeply disturbing that the land of opportunity, of the American dream, has recoiled to the point where people are systemically sucked into the world of a charlatan.
While writing Vote for America: A Common Guide to Electorates what I found about them and the history of America’s electorate was encouraging. Incrementally, each election cycle spinning to and fro, the flexibility of electorates has endured wars, strikes, racism, natural disasters, economic disasters, presidencies of oscillating favor, and epic tragedies. In 2017 the most mean-spirited, unlikely, inexperienced candidate ever was brought to the political stage by a very small percentage of disgruntled Americans intent on shaking up Washington with an outsider. That was what began the “realigning” of the GOP, and subsequently the shifting of the electorate. After the 2020 election, both will be changed for a future no one wishes to be foreseeable.