Many moons ago, in the late 1990’s and early “oughties,” I had some interest in Donald Trump within the political sphere until he eventually faded into the background. But, of course, circumstances change over time; and while I do not recall thinking of Trump back then as a character with rather fluid and perhaps malign views, this is, regrettably, the way he has resurfaced and has chosen to conduct his campaign. To say that the way in which he has reentered politics is a disappointment would be an understatement.
While I don’t agree with many of the statements Trump has recently made, my recollection of Trump as he once was leads me to doubt the sincerity of those remarks, which suspect to have been based on marketing analysis regarding the zeitgeist of the base (I have a post here on Gallup polling data).
The questionable Trump remarks in themselves are, nevertheless, quite off-putting, and I generally get the point made by people who say rather flatly that they can’t support anyone holding those particular views. That sentiment is respectable enough.
Though I wonder about other instances of bigotry and divisiveness in politics, some of it spoken plainly while others are more subtle, that pass by without any word being mentioned. Many of us who were Republicans in 2012 were pressured to support the Romney campaign even though a frequent campaign theme was to disparage the unprivileged and crisis-stricken families of the Great Recession, leaving the impression that the party was being run by a bunch of unempathetic fat cats; and of course the stodgy, elitist brand of just deserts big government these people represented was to be our salvation by solving much more important issues, such as saving the republic from the Greece-style debt crisis that never happened. Romney’s loss, in my view, was a poetic justice.
And then there is the subtle bigotry of the main alternatives, which to me is the worst kind, where a party purports to be sympathetic toward the concerns of average Americans of all stripes and presents at least superficially plausible solutions to many problems, but behind the scenes, after the votes are counted, indeed care very little about impacting the status quo (I have a post about Clinton sympathizers down-playing the economic condition of the minority population here, and one about Jeb Bush saying our economic problems are because we are an ignorant bunch here.)
All of these types of bigotry and others are reason enough to be skeptical of the intentions and motivations of political elites. Yet, it does not seem to impact the views of insiders very much. It’s fine to disparage a group on the basis of income, or to label average people ignorant, as long as none of it has to do with race. It obviously is because we had no #Never Romney group, and no #No More Bush group, either of which I would have gladly joined with considerable conviction because everyone deserves to be treated with genuine dignity and respect.
In an article from WAPO Tweeted by James Patoukas, a proud #Never Trump’er explained his position in a very convoluted manner after complaining about the treatment he has received by Trump supporters. His reasoning, in my view, can be summed up in the rather hypocritical accusation of bigotry combined with an interesting twist of desiring to save the conservative movement from Trump’s destructive liberal democrat influence. I suppose it is possible to be a liberal Democrat and a far-right statist, but the accusation is a bit of a contradiction of terms and smacks of an assumption that conservatives have little capacity to think for themselves, and instead will blindly follow whatever mystical Trump revelations that may come in the future. To convicted and principled #Never Trumper’s, conservatives must be nothing more than blind sheep to be lead… perhaps to slaughter. But we average Americans are expected to believe that we can trust unempathetic #Never Trump’ers to respect us?? In all reality, this gentleman is just a bigot of another stripe with no pragmatic solutions and merely an axe to grind. Unfortunately, such people are a dime a dozen these days while “Rome” is on fire.