Friday, October 14, 2016

First as Farce, Then as More Farce ... Let's Avoid the Tragedy

As Trump’s campaign continues to implode from the inside out, his rhetoric has taken on an increasingly vociferous and irrational edge (Salon). Of course, that has been the general tendency of a campaign that has been farcical from the very beginning, but now stands beyond its hateful and fear mongering foundation as a truly tragic moment in American political history. Trump is not only using the his usual xenophobic, sexist, racist and “end of world” proclamations to send his dwindling supporters into a frenzy, but has upped the ante by claiming an international conspiracy, led by the Clintons, to undermine U.S. sovereignty.

This all comes, of course, on the back of more revelations each day of sexual misconduct by the Republican nomination (The Atlantic).One should, of course, be careful in giving credence to all the charges now levied against Trump as inherently true, but following the lead of his own words, one must admit that more than a little truth lies beyond the more than half a dozen women who have now come forward to claim sexual harassment or outright rape (HuffPost).

Trying to confront these charges, Trump has now turned to the most insidious of propaganda techniques. Speaking to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump opened up his remarks by claiming that a global cabal of shadowy “special interests” had looted the American economy and destroyed local manufacturing. “The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” Trump said.

“We’ve seen this first hand in the WikiLeaks documents, in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends and her donors,” he added.

Rhetoric like that is sometimes described as “New World Order” conspiracy theories, which posit that there is a coordinated, hiding-in-plain-sight effort underway by “them” — bankers, secret societies, Jews, socialists, whoever — to eliminate national boundaries and rule over a totalitarian global state. This sort of nonsense is the meat of much of Alex Jones’ lunatic commentary. Trump, representing the Republican Party and finding himself backed into a corner, is now committed to boxing with these shadows. (qtd from Salon article referenced above)

Beyond this “new world order” conspiracy is a new one being pushed by supporters of Trump, that the release of the “sexual assault bragging” tape was a conspiracy by a turncoat Jewish conservative, Dan Senor, with other GOP elites to undermine the presidential bid of Trump (TPM). There were already hints of anti-Semitism in Trump’s rhetoric on occasion, but now he has decided to add the most sinister element of the old Fascist playbook to a campaign that has already employed the vast majority of those strategies. We have the classic xenophobic charges meant to displace the blame for our economic malaise. There are the tacit and more direct forms of racism that have led to a rejuvenation of the KKK and other white supremacist groups. There is the jingoistic and ultra-nationalistic rhetoric of destruction and “restoring greatness” through force and (fill in the blank) cleansing. And now the turn to scapegoating Jews for his own failure to run a viable campaign.

On top of this, is his increasingly dire warnings that the election will somehow be stolen in a country where voter fraud has been all but eliminated (Vox). He has called on his troops to stand outside voting locations and challenge voters, making sure that mythical voter fraud does not steal an election he now appears to be losing by around 8 or 9 points. In the latest instantiation of where this might lead us, armed Trump supporters “protested” outside a (TPM).

I had been balking at the notion that this is the most important election of our lifetime, particularly given the damage wreaked by Reagan and Bush and the historic victories of Obama in the past two elections, but I am starting to believe that rhetoric. This is probably the most important election of our lifetime, and its sole goal now is to ensure that mounting fascist creep in American politics does not hit full throttle. Vote Clinton to restore some semblance of sanity back to a country in clear disrepair!   

P.S. One interesting aside, not really warranted in the piece above, is that only 12 or so of Trump’s 22,500 employees have given $200 or more to his campaign (Reuters). Wow, what support for their boss!

No comments: