Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Demagogic Candidate

Bob Lord at Blog for Arizona makes some chilling observations about Trump as a demagogue. It's not so much about 2016 as it is about 2020. It's not so much about Trump per se as it is about the next demagogue who is smoother but who is nevertheless a right-wing totalitarian at heart.

Demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

How closely does Donald Trump fit that description? Any less so than Hitler, Milosevic, or Netanyahu? Hardly.

Yet we still discount him. I shudder.

So do I. It's fun to make fun of Trump. His outrageous claims. His silly hairdo. His ignorant base.

Which of the last three phrases does not belong? That base of support for Trump is a serious and scary phenomenon in American politics. They do not care about his outrageous bogus claims; they celebrate the anti-science and rejoice in what they know that isn't so. They do not care about his hair; it's his bravado macho attitude that gets them juiced. Therefore:

All of the predictions about his demise are winding up false. We’ve seen how every time the so-called experts predicted an outrageous remark would sink him, they’ve been wrong. But now we’re seeing that his support is not limited to a small slice of the Republican Party.

So can he win? Yes. Will he win? Most likely not. But if he does not win, a sigh of relief is not warranted. The election of 2020 is just a political nanosecond away.

Do I think Trump, as the Republican nominee, could win next November? Actually, no. What worries me is how close he could come.

And how the table is being set for the next demagogue who comes along.

All of the ingredients for disaster are in place. An illiterate populace? Check. Extreme inequality? Check. A significant minority who feel threatened, angry and resentful? Check.

Throw in an unsuccessful “centrist” presidency for the next four years, a painful recession, and four more years of record-breaking assault weapon sales, and the explosion of 2020 will be like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

Don’t discount demagogues.

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