Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump’s Alternative Reality Rally in Pennsylvania

To celebrate his 100th day in office with not a single legislative success to show, Der Trumpenführer held a campaign style rally in Pennsylvania, one of the states responsible for inflicting Trump on America.  This is Trump's preferred venue since typically only his delusional, reality free supporters show up and he can avoid speaking to the press which has the inconvenient habit of asking hard questions and pointing out the fact that he's lying.  Indeed, during the rally of deplorables, Trump lashed out at the news media and "fake news," even though the only fake news is what comes out of Trump's mouth and the mouths of his propaganda ministers and Republicans in general. The tactic of attacking the free press has long been favored y dictators and would be authoritarians.  A piece in New York Magazine looks at the alternate reality of Trump and his very frightening followers.  And yes, there were members of hate groups in open attendance.  Here are excerpts:
President Donald Trump emerged with a wave and a clap of his hands from behind a blue curtain at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Expo Center in Harrisburg on Saturday night, underneath a sign that read PROMISES MADE PROMISES KEPT.
He wanted, he said, to commemorate his first 100 days in office with the Pennsylvania voters who had helped put him there. But he also, he made clear, intended to provide counterprogramming to the events taking place back in the swamp: the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the constellation of related events wherein the fake news media and the rest of the Washington elite dresses up and schmoozes from cocktail hour on Friday until hangover brunch on Sunday.
Entering a Trump rally in the year 2017 requires you suspend your critical faculties to a degree, since the people there — most of all the president — seem to be under the impression that the campaign is ongoing, that Hillary Clinton remains Trump’s most formidable foe, and that they are united against the creatures of a swamp controlled by … someone else … it’s not clear who. Several times Saturday night, the crowd chanted, “LOCK HER UP,” seemingly unaware that Clinton retreated long ago into some woods in Chappaqua.
In a less surreal time, the president of the United States would be at the dinner, which supports the White House Correspondents’ Association. . . . . Not showing up, then, was both a fuck-you to the media which Trump publicly pretends to hate and a thank-you to his fans who still believe he is a different sort of politician. One man walked around the floor of the stadium holding a sign that read MY PRESIDENT SKIPPED THE DINNER TO GIVE US OUR DESSERT. He proudly stopped before the press pen to ensure we all got a good look.
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” — he lowered his voice mockingly — “without the president.”
As the crowd erupted in cheers and whistles, he smiled.
“And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much, larger crowd and much better people, right? Right?”
The space holds more than 7,000, but tickets for the event — like all Trump rallies during the campaign — aren’t sold; they’re offered for free on, and they aren’t required for admission. And while the crowd was substantial, it didn’t fill the room. Seats remained open in the stands, and space remained available on the floor.
[T]he people in attendance were excited — one man, sporting a long ponytail and a leather vest, turned to the person next to him when Trump started talking. “I love him,” he said. And they provided a stark contrast to the scene back in Washington, where people are dressed in gowns and tuxes and pretending to like each other. Studding the crowd were rather menacing-looking members of Keystone United (previously KSS, or Keystone State Skinheads), which the Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes as a white-supremacist hate group. 
Outside, a man who said he was named Jeff Thomas wore a green Pepe the Frog mask — a symbol of the alt-right — and waved the fictitious flag of “The People’s Republic of Kekistan.”
And while the crowd was animated by Trump’s claims about his accomplishments — executive orders he’s signed, the Supreme Court justice he got confirmed (they chanted “build the wall!” although there is no concrete plan to do so) — they seemed to take the most delight in feeling, finally, a sense of superiority. “

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