Friday, July 31, 2015

Donald Trump - and GOP - Supporters Are Living in a Fantasy Land

I increasingly look at today's GOP and shake my head thinking WTF happened to a party that once embraced knowledge, intellect and rational thought.  But then I remember that the unwashed masses of Christofascists who have hijacked the party base and then suddenly the swamp fever that has gripped the GOP all make sense.  After all, these are the same folks who trust in the writings of unknown, ignorant Bronze Age herders to guide their lives and formulate their world view.  No wonder those supporting Donald Trump - and other GOP candidates - appear to be living in a fantasy land.  They ARE living in a fantasy land with little likelihood of coming to their senses anytime soon.  A piece in Salon looks at the fantasy world of these people and why Donald Trump is their pied piper.  Here are excerpts:
Even though I’m not a politician, I guess I committed a textbook Kinsley gaffe on “Hardball” yesterday, when I inadvertently told the truth about what I think of the 12 New Hampshire Republican voters Bloomberg assembled to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon. (You can watch, below.) I said they made me “sad,” and I made a comment about “the lowest common denominator” (more on what I meant in a minute) – and then my friend Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, had a lot of fun calling me an “elitist” and insisting people like me are why voters like that support Trump. Or something.

They’re not thinking. They want to be entertained,” I asserted.

That’s a big mistake in mainstream journalism, where the Very Serious People insist we must respect what Trump’s voters represent.  I failed to keep up the Beltway fiction that we must take these voters seriously because they’re “frustrated” with Washington, and thus their irrational anger and weakness for slogans over solutions is a symptom of a grave political malady in The Age of Obama.

But actually listening to those voters, it’s hard to take much they said seriously. Their Trump praise frequently reflects their Obama disdain. . . and their support of Trump’s “solutions” makes no sense.

There’s a childlike wishful thinking in these voters’ belief that Trump can solve all the country’s problems by being “tough.” And that’s what I meant with my reference to the “lowest common denominator” – I actually wasn’t referring to the voters themselves (in fact, that makes no sense); I was talking about the solutions they seem to embrace for the country’s woes. Pining for a “tough” guy who’s done well in “business” but is “one of us” is simplistic and a little scary. Most of that New Hampshire focus group seemed to want a daddy, not a president.

Steele put his finger on a dilemma – for his party. When people hear criticism of Trump’s voters, he explained, “whether it’s from the media or Republicans in the party, they go, ‘This guy,’ as the woman said, ‘he’s speaking to me. I may not agree with everything he’s saying, but he’s one of us. He’s a billionaire, but he’s one of us.’” That’s a genuine problem for Republican elites who disdain Trump but don’t want to see him mount a third party run if he doesn’t get the nomination. 

[S]omething less than 10 percent of eligible American voters currently say they support Donald Trump. That isn’t a mandate; that’s the same old angry, noisy, delusional minority of voters that persistently afflicts American politics. I’m not going to apologize for telling the truth: their support of Trump makes me sad, because their reasoning shows little or no grasp of what it takes to make political change in this country.

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