The Trouble With Trump

The United States is a strange old country. I suspect it’s a bit strange for Americans  looking at the place from within. I am fairly certain that it’s an even stranger place for those of us from other parts of the world, looking in from the outside. There’s a lot to love about the US. There’s a lot to be grateful for. There’s also a lot of pretty weird stuff that goes on.

There’s far too much religious extremism – the sort of stuff we would normally associate with either the Middle East or our own Medieval period. There’s some pretty shameful stuff that goes on, but that’s par for the course and something all countries have in common. There’s some pretty despicable stuff too. And then there’s Donald Trump.

It’s tough, but I’ve tried to view some of the main talking points of Trump supporters objectively. It’s tough, because Trump represents everything bad about the US to an outsider. A braggart, self centred, a bully, socially irresponsible and a role model for the worst side of the corporate world. These, needless to say, are just for starters, and on the milder side of his many faults.

I’ve tried to listen. But thus far, the talking points are difficult to take seriously. They are mostly a collection of conspiracy theories, gross exaggerations, outright lies and an almost endearing degree of self delusion. The scale of the catalogue of clear and demonstrable lies and self contradictions that Mr Trump has created do not deter the faithful from their support of his spoken word. They’ll forgive him anything, on the simple basis that he is not ‘establishment’ and they are fed up of the ‘status quo’. Sure. Those are great reasons. But not good enough. Not even close. Hitler met those qualifications just fine.

I know. I just went and brought Hitler into this. So soon, too. Trump isn’t likely to be the new Hitler, one hopes, but that probably has more to do with this being the US in the 2010s rather than Germany in the 1930s. But while we’re on the subject of the fuhrer, allow me to bring up one of the great questions of the 20th century. How did Hitler manage to take over Germany? What on earth were people thinking when they voted for a self declared messiah who advocated mass torture and imprisonment, war crimes, racial profiling, the singling out of a single religious group to be tracked, banned and assassinated, demeaned disability, closed down religious centres and defaulted on debt.

A man who has close ties to white supremicists, who is a white supremicist, who spread patently false information about groups of people he disliked, who harrassed political opponents through incitement of violence and the threat of imprisonment, who wanted to place limits on the press, who praised the violence of his own supporters, who lied repeatedly, who made clear his intention to plunder the resources of foreign lands through use of military force, mass deportation, dodgy deals with the Russians, inventing far fetched conspiracy theories of his own…oh the list goes on.

The majority of the list is, of course, not simply the contents of Mein Kampf, but is also Donald Trump’s manifesto. We know this, because he has been quite explicit. There are differences between the two, of course. For example, Trump is a sex offender  – his ex wife swore under oath that he raped her. He has made clear that he does not really think much of women beyond their ability to felate, fornicate and cook up dinner.

When a person votes for Trump, they endorse all of those things. All of them. They are ok with torture, racism, sectarianism, war crimes, misogyny. The lot. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. If he gets elected, he has a clear mandate on all of it, and those who voted for him, gave it to him. They planted their flag right next to his. I can deal with differences of opinion, and I have many friends who lean in a different direction to me politically and I respect their views.

But Trump goes beyond a mere difference of opinion. I personally would find it difficult not only to respect the views of a Trump  supporter, but to respect them as a person. That’s a really tough statement to make, I know. But when they voted Trump, they made their own statement. See above. Rational humans allocate respect, trust and credibility according to the behaviour and beliefs of others. And I am, I think,  rational.

To go back to the question as to how someone like Hitler could come to power. The question is being asked again next week, and Trump voters have the answer. Or, more aptly, are the answer.

We know exactly what sort of person Trump is. The next question is, what sort of person are you?

 

 

20 Comments

  • It’s pretty clear that you’ve made no real effort to understand Trump based on his own speeches and positions. Instead it appears that you are regurgitating the lies and distortions of the likes of the New York Times and others, all of which are working overtime to paint him as the next Hitler. Well, he isn’t anything like Hitler.

    Meanwhile, you seem to have completely ignored the fact that the Democratic party has resorted to all of the electoral and governing tactics of Hugo Chavez, including ballot stuffing, pay-for-play, rigging elections, and propagating a massive coverup of the above.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a particularly good choice this year. But a vote for Hillary is a vote for making the American government just as corrupt and ineffective as the Mexican government. While Trump has a lot of unsavory personal characteristics (completely irrelevant to being president, IMHO), he’s not some kind of crime boss who’s going to be auctioning off political favors from within the White House.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, Ma
    Where we’d like some better choices for president.

    • P.S. Whatever Trump’s misdeeds, they pale in comparison to Hillary’s deeds in Libya alone. From an interview with Julian Assange:

      Libya Is Hillary Clinton’s War

      According to Assange, Clinton’s emails reveal a plan, hatched months before the West’s intervention in Libya in March 2011, to make it the signature conflict of her tenure as secretary of state, and a podium from which to realize her presidential dreams.

      “Libya more than anyone else’s war was Hillary Clinton’s war. Barack Obama initially opposed it. Who was the person who was championing it? Hillary Clinton. That’s documented throughout her emails,” Assange said.

      “There’s more than 1,700 emails out of the 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails we published just about Libya. It’s not about that Libya has cheap oil. She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state something that she would use to run in the general election for president. So late 2011, there’s an internal document called the “Libya Tick Tock” that is produced for Hillary Clinton, and it’s all the… it’s a chronological description of how Hillary Clinton was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state.”

      But the scheme not only failed on a personal level, after Clinton was largely blamed for allowing a jihadist ransacking of a US compound in Benghazi in 2012, but also continues to haunt the country, which remains in a state of civil war, and Europe.

      “As a result, there [have been] around 40,000 deaths within Libya. Jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in. That led to the European refugee and migrant crisis, because not only did you have people fleeing Libya, people then fleeing Syria, destabilization of other African countries as a result of arms flows,” said Assange.

      Full story: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-05/julian-assange-hillary-made-fbi-look-weak-and-now-theyre-out-payback

      • I’m tiring of Assange. Wikileaks is a vital source of information. Assanges agenda driven interpretations of the data aren’t. It was a war of Bush and Blair’s creation. Think the Arab spring would have unfolded without Iraq? Think Isis would have come into being without the carnage they created? Really? The democracy domino effect was The aim, was it not? The French and British took the lead on Libyan policy and feebly so.

        Trump loves war. His words. He’s going to beef up the U.S. Military. His words. He’s going to destroy Isis. His words. Have you looked into what he thinks of Iran?

        Where will Trumps war be?

        • Obama, and, if she wins, HRC will continue Bush’s disaster of a Mideast policy. Trump wants to have a strong military so no one messes with us. It’s called deterrence. He would also like to work with the Russians to solve the problem of Islamic Terrorism together. And remember that NATO (despite promises it made prior to the reunification of Germany) has pushed itself up to the borders of Russia. Imagine the apoplexy here in the USA if the Russians overthrew an election in Mexico and installed a puppet. That’s what we’ve done in Ukraine.

          The current administration and likely HRC would continue all those disastrous policies, which is sowing the seeds of WWIII, a war that will likely (again!) be fought in Europe. HRC already has a record of disaster in Libya, and was instrumental in unleashing the wave of migrants into Europe. How could Trump possibly be worse?

          • Obama has extracted the US occupational forces from the Middle East, rebuilt international relationships burned by Bush’s administration, encouraged more relevant nations to take the lead in dealing with regimes and earned international respect in the process. To suggest he continued Bush’s policies in the Middle East is disingenuous, to put it mildly.

            But your second point is more interesting. The US has 10 or 11 operational aircraft carriers (China has one, the same number as the Russians) capable of deploying thousands of aircraft across the globe. The US has a nuclear arsenal of more than 4500 warheads. The Air Force consists of more than 5000 aircraft and the US Army has more than a million men that can be deployed. The country spends as much on defense as the next dozen or so countries combined.

            If the suggestion that Trump wants to beef up the US military for ‘deterrence purposes’ doesn’t set every alarm bell ringing, I don’t know what will. If the current US military is not already a deterrent, then give up. Nothing will deter whichever enemy it is supposed to be deterring. Perhaps Trump supporters think a new arms race is a good idea, though? Given the vast sums of money already pumped into the (corrupt!) military industry, I’d personally argue that the government should look at cutting back spending, working with other countries to demilitarise. History is on my side here. Arms races usually lead in one direction only. But regardless, the idea that Trump wants to build up the military for deterrence purposes is nonsense. Incidentally, have you ever read/listened to Hitler’s ‘Peace Speech’ on German rearmament…?!

            What has happened in Ukraine is far more the doing of the EU and related to trade rather than anything to do with NATO. That’s simply a misleading argument. But I love the idea of Trump working with Putin. What will his opening line be? ‘From one complete nutcase to another…’ Just for the record, Putin is a demonstrable dictator who has for years ignored treaties, protocols and agreements as and when it suits him. Whether this be assassinating political opponents abroad or jailing them at all, doping the nation’s athletes, sending little green men across borders, committing war crimes in Syria etc etc etc. The very idea that Trump will ‘do business’ with Putin is laughable and delusional. At best. Regardless of the very genuine complaints that Russia has with the West, Putin does business with and for Putin. Period.

            Hillary might not have covered herself in glory, but she doesn’t have a record of disaster in Libya, nor was she instrumental in the waves of immigrants coming to Europe. I appreciate that the right wing press in the US might paint the picture otherwise. Along with the WW3 claim, it’s simply partisan scare mongering. Not the sort of thing I pay undue attention to when the facts point in a different direction. I’d stick to more relevant policies. What do you think of Trump’s policies to repeal rather than refine the Affordable Care Act and introduce Health Savings accounts? How exactly is that going to help the ‘common man’? And what about his intent to repeal laws in order that people can once again discriminate against the LGBT community? Pence is adamant to repeal Roe v Wade too. Are you in favour of having the religious right wing hijack women’s rights again?

            Trump probably won’t be worse. On the basis that Trump probably won’t be president. He’ll whige about a rigged system. But the truth is, the reason Trump is likely to lose, is Trump.

          • I had a re-read of our conversation. Two weeks have passed since he took the oath. He wasted absolutely no time in proving me correct (and yourself incorrect) in every single point bar one. That being that I believed he probably wouldn’t be president. I underestimated not Trump, but the American people.

            It is a fact that he is operating like a crime boss and not ‘like a smart person’. His stance on the Mexican wall is extortion, which is a criminal offence for anyone other than Trump. It is a fact that he has repeatedly lied, throughout his campaign and into his presidency. It is a fact that he is not disentagling himself from the troubles in the Middle East. His stance with Iran will make matters far worse than even George W managed if he continues down that line. It’s a fact that many of his unsavoury personal characteristics have come with him into the White House. It’s a fact that he’s brought in policies which are senselessly discriminatory. It’s a fact that he has conflicts of interest with his business dealings. He’s clearly making no effort to drain the swamp. He’s simply jumped in and claimed it as his own.

            Trump has no sense of diplomacy, a key quality when engaged in matters of diplomacy. The media may get a little shrill. But any clear headed person should be able to see Trump for exactly what he is and to where the US is heading. That there are insufficient people with a clear head in the US is troubling.

            He’s a disgrace to the the American people in particular and the human race in general. And the world is an infinitely more dangerous place.

            I’m genuinely surprised that you of all people have swallowed such bilge. And so disappointed.

      • Dump Trump might be the topic, but Dump Disqus because the activity that was inspired with this thread. I’ve reverted back to WP comments. Two simple reasons. I’ve gotten fed up with the moderation settings. If someone is not commenting with a Disqus account, then it gets sent to moderation every time. I don’t want Norm and William’s comments in the mod queue! Disqus doesn’t allow me to change this, which is daft. Also, Disqus doesn’t work on Internet Explorer 7. As much as I dislike using IE7, it is the browser of my employer’s choice.

    • Not at all. I have little to no interest in US media. I watched most of the three debates. I’ve watched interviews. I’ve read through a fair bit of the guys website. The conclusion I have reached is that the ‘listen to what Trump says, not what the mainstream media says he says’ is possibly the worst argument made by Trump supporters. He behaves like a spoilt child. He is happy to make stuff up as he goes along. He is doing a fine job of alienating huge groups of people with the most awful insults. Like Sanders he does have a fair point regards the endemic corruption in US politics. Sadly, he is often vague and self contradictory when coming up with policy. But worst of all, did you ignore all the inflammatory, insulting, sexist, racist, divisive, incitements to violence and the catalogue of unpresidential nonsense the guy has come out with? He has no respect for anyone other than Donald Trump. You can cherry pick the stuff you like. But he’s said what he’s said. He is what he is. And no amount of Hillary hating changes that. Sourcing conspiracy theory to spice up arguments does nothing to further the debate either. His personal characteristics are exactly why he shouldn’t be president. Locker room banter, my back side…

      I’ll stand by my Hitler comparison, based on what Trump has said, not the NYT. Not everyone will see it. That’s the idea, I guess.

      • Did you see the Project Veritas videos? It’s paid henchmen of the Clinton campaign who are starting all the violence. And when do you hear of vehicles scratched and torched because they have a Clinton sticker on them? Who’s pulling up Clinton lawn signs? Who wants to start WWIII?

        Sadly, the Clinton side is FAR more violent and disposed to even bigger violence than the Trump side.

        And whatever Trump may have said on a hot mike eleven years ago is truly irrelevant.

        • I’ve found that organisations with the word ‘truth’ in the title (even if it is in Latin!) usually speak anything but. I hadn’t seen the video, still haven’t, but I get the gist from looking into them. It’s not investigative journalism. It’s a hard right political org looking to press home their message. Did they tell you what you wanted to hear? That is kinda the point. I pay it little attention, especially when the creator has a history of producing material that has been edited to prove his conclusion rather than reveal the actual conversation.

          There are similar sorts of things on the left side too. I watched a video yesterday that showed the nastier side of the people at Trump rallies. Horrible stuff. And probably fairly reflective of many people who would go to a Trump rally and ‘proves’ that the Trump side are definitely FAR more violent than Clintonistas. I wouldn’t overly promote that video though, because it’s probably not reflective of the majority of Trump supporters. So it would be misleading.Like the WW3 comment, this is all a bit far down the conspiracy theory avenue for me.

          What Trump said on that mike is very much in keeping with his charcter. It does matter. You want to elect a man who (almost certainly) raped his ex wife among other sexual offences. It’s what he is.

          Honestly Kim. You’re one of the smartest guys I know. I can’t quite believe you’re going with this stuff. But regardless, I look forward to a future photowalk in CDMX next year. We can chew over the result then.

  • I cannot fathom how any intelligent person could vote for that despicable man. I have neighbors… a nice couple with whom I get along well… that had an Obama sign in their yard in 2008. This year they have a Trump sign in their front yard. I don’t know how I am ever going to look at them the same way.
    (By the way, Gary, I posted a couple of comments on your earlier Mexico posts that never appeared. )

    • I’d hate to fall out with anyone just because they support Trump. I have no problem having friends who support Trump. But it is going to put a question mark over their judgement. It’s going to colour the way I perceive their views. Like I say, it’s a tough statement to make. But it is an honest one.

      I found your other comments. Sorry. Sadly, Disqus doesn’t allow me to automatically let commenters through moderation unless they have a Disqus account. I might have to revisit WordPress vanilla commenting…

  • Gary, Gary you hit the nail on the head!

    One of the things I can’t get my head around is the obvious blindness of the American public. That they are willing to forgo stability of someone who has spent her entire life working for the people in more than one position or another for the uncharted waters of a lying cheating mysogynist and one who has shown contempt for War Heros and prisoners of war and possibly a third of the population, Latinos!

    Are the middle class so blinded by his bull shine, that they are willing to allow him to run roughshod over them? As things stand today the US is like a police state. His guiding hand may strangle the country anyway..

    Roll on Tuesday I say, break open the schnapps crackle and pop!

    • It’s utterly unfathomable what those Americans see in him, why they can’t see through him and how they think his brand of dysfunctional, prejudiced bull will improve their lot. The race is tightening, but at this point a Clinton win is still by far the most likely outcome. Fingers crossed….

  • The long term effects of someone like Hitler, Trump, etc. shouldn’t be underestimated. Here’s a good example: Hitler is the cause of a tragic accident that took the lives of 150 people last year. How? Due to German privacy laws stemming from WWII, the psychiatrist who KNEW that the pilot of German Wings flight 9525 was suicidal was not able to tell anyone. Not even the management of the company that employed him. As a result he was able to fly the plane into the side of a mountain.

    Why? After WWII, in Germany it is illegal to record or report/share information about anyone’s activities. It does makes sense, after what Hitler did to the Jewish population, that Germany would implement measures to prevent a tragedy of that magnitude from ever occurring again. But 150 people ain’t nothing to sneeze about.

    With Donald Trumpet as president of the US, the KKK, Aryan Nation and all of the other trailer-trash idiots would feel empowered to once again promote their hateful ideologies, and the idiot would simply standby and wag his finger.

    Personally, I’m completely against hatefulness, bigotry and causing harm to anyone, but after the comments this idiot has made, I think it would be poetic justice if one of his loyal followers suddenly flipped and gave the jerk what he deserves.

    • And yet in many ways, today’s Germany is one of the best examples of western democracy, economic responsibility and social cohesion going. Perhaps we can make a case for a Trump presidency after all. Once he’s completely destroyed the US, the rebuilt model will be a great improvement on what existed before…

  • I am trying to get a fiber optic cable run back to my parent’s house. The cable people sent over a guy to give me an estimate, a Trumper he was in spades. He started with George Soros, to the cable guy he was a good buddy of Hitler. Soros was in middle school during the last dustup with Germany. Not to mention that he is Jewish. Here is a guy working with no benefits as a subcontractor for one of the biggest corporations on earth and he thinks unions are bad for the average working stiff. The poor guy was mouthing Russian troll talking points and just could not believe that the Russians would hire a warehouse full of people to push their agenda in cyberspace. At least ten times, he countered with “I read it on the internet”. I sent him on his way in one piece but really had a deep and abiding urge to pitch him in the pond.

    • The qualities required in order to be a Trump supporter are all the sort with really low bars. There are some otherwise smart people who’ve jumped in his camp, all of whom are really grasping at some very tenuous conspiracies and some very clear BS. But mostly, Trump supporters are the sort of people who should probably consider ‘deplorable’ as flattery.

      https://youtu.be/XUSiCEx3e-0

  • A guy meets a woman in a bar and after buying her a couple of drinks asks her “Would you like to come home with me?” “No way” she responds. He buys her a couple more drinks and asks her “Would you come home with me for 50 bucks?” She says “50 bucks! what kind of a woman do you think I am?”. He says “I thought we’d established what kind of woman you are, now we’re just haggling over how much you cost”.

    • He’s a stand up guy. There’s a certain presidential candidate I can think of who meets a woman in a bar, takes the drunk from her hand and knocks it back before grabbing her… wherever.

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