We all witnessed that long-awaited battle between the final two contenders for the presidency. We all witnessed how collected and confident Hillary suavely explained her policy positions and reiterated her impressive resume detailing a plethora of experiences. Meanwhile, Donald Trump was practically foaming at the mouth, spouting interjections like a disgruntled child and repeating soundbites that were proven to be false.
Any objectively-minded spectator would conclude that Hillary Clinton undoubtedly won the debate. Although she was somewhat robotic in her demeanor, Clinton presented herself as poised and capable of handling the responsibilities associated with the office of the presidency.
However, to Trump supporter, none of that matters. Trump supporters are blinded by their unapologetic devotion to The Talking Orangutan. Their cognitive dissonance knows no bound. Since Monday evening, these people, whom Clinton had unwisely referred to as ‘basket of deplorables’, have continuously insisted that despite the debate moderator’s bias towards Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump emerged victorious in that war of words.
The majority of the country, and perhaps the entire world, wonder how any person could vote a man who is practically a parodying caricature of himself? You have to understand that Trump supporters aren’t attracted to the man himself, but an idea.
Many Americans have grown wary of establishment politicians, with good reason. Our elected officials have proven themselves to be self-serving, opportunistic and out of touch with the concerns of the average American. In fact, this is the root cause behind the increased enthusiasm for candidates like Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson and even Jill Stein.
Donald Trump is obviously the most well-known of these ‘outsider’ candidates. Since the mid-1980’s, Trump has cultivated an image of himself as a embodiment of American prosperity. After all, it was he who wrote The Art of the Deal (well, if we ignore Tony Schwatz, his ghostwriter), which is, allegedly, a testimony of Donald Trump’s genius and street-savvy business instincts.
Donald Trump has a reputation of ‘telling it as it is’. Of course, every fact-checking media outlet has disputed this claim but try telling that to Trump supporters. Somehow, peppering one’s speech with misogynist/racist remarks and vulgar rhetoric is equated with ‘telling it as it is’. I must have missed that memo. Nevertheless, Trump’s behavior appeal to the voter’s longing for a new brand of politician. A bold, unapologetic outsider.
Speaking of Trump’s misogynist/racist remarks, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. As I mentioned in a previous post, Trump has anointed himself as the field marshal in the battle against political correctness. In the name of multiculturalism and tolerance, any criticism against illegal immigration or Islamism is construed to be racist or bigoted. This imposed liberalism has resulted in a backlash, resulting in an elevated fervor behind Trump’s candidacy.
Today, the term ‘political correctness’ is all-encompassing umbrella term referring to anything that contradict the rhetoric espoused by Donald Trump, and the overall narrative of the so-called Alt-Right.
Trump’s performance in his rallies and the presidential debates is irrelevant. Trump supporters aren’t voting for a person. They’re voting for an image to their liking. An image that appeals to their primitive amygdalic instincts
Although I’m not a fan of the so-called ‘Sage of Baltimore’, I think H.L Mencken potently described our current situation when he said:
When a candidate faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas … men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people…..On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.