Donald Trump is an asshole. I think that’s clear enough to everyone by now. He’s a raging id monster made of narcissism, spite, and arrogance, held together with an orange angora and spray-tan spackle. The increasingly plausible idea that he might actually win the White House in November is unsettling and his presidency would, at best, be totally ineffectual (because he doesn’t actually know anything about how the government works) and at worst mire the United States in multiple unwinnable long-term military conflicts while bankrupting the Treasury with a combination of regressive Tax Cuts and impractical Mass Deportations.
Trump’s blustering, overweening personal style would almost certainly degrade the dignity of the presidency even further than Congress has worked to degrade it the last eight years. His tendency toward holding personal grudges and airing them in the press and on Twitter would alienate most any other world leader, and his single-minded, zero-sum obsession with “winning” — a very black-and-white concept in an increasingly gray world — and his apparent compulsion to answer any slight, no matter its source or relevance to the bigger picture, would make any kind of diplomacy nearly impossible. It’s hard to imagine how a Trump presidency would be anything but an across-the-board disaster (except for the media, which would regard it as four years of consecutive Christmases) and though every election of my lifetime has been touted as The Most Important In A Generation, there might actually be some truth to it this time.
But can we ease up on the Nazi talk?
Trump is an asshole. We know this. He would also be a terrible president. But for all his many, many faults, he’s not taking his orders from God. He’s not out to fulfill the Book of Revelations. He doesn’t have it in for gays and he doesn’t really care about abortion. Even his racism is more about xenophobia and nationalism than it is about race: for all of his offensive comments on the campaign trail, he really hasn’t said anything demeaning about Welfare Reform or The Takers or the 47% or any of the other old reliable dog whistles. Indeed, his biggest issue, the one he returns to again and again no matter what the question, is how we’re getting killed on trade by Mexico and China because their leaders have outsmarted ours (a strange insistence for a supposed White Supremacist to make) and that he’ll use the tax code to force American companies to bring back the working-class jobs that NAFTA and other trade agreements allowed them to outsource. If successful, such a play would benefit the racially diverse working class at the expense of their less diverse economic betters — again, an odd priority for a supposed White Supremacist.
This message, which is really the core of his whole campaign, is not so different from Bernie Sanders’ core message. It’s only because his delivery is so incredibly dickish that it’s been mostly overlooked in favor of his latest bullying tactics against his opponents, or his primary-color solutions to immigration and terrorism.
And the appeal of those primary-color solutions to immigration and terrorism (Build A Wall and Bomb Everyone, respectively) lies entirely in their lack of nuance. These government phonies — on both sides of the aisle — have wasted enough time talking and negotiating and dillying and dallying and changing nothing, Trump’s supporters are saying. We’ve tried the scalpel and the patient is not improving, so why not reach for the chainsaw? Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.
The fact that Donald Trump has all but locked down the Republican nomination with a central campaign issue pretty much identical to Bernie Sanders’ suggests that Republican voters were never voting for tax cuts for the wealthy or keeping gays from getting married or The Sanctity of Life or anything else. They weren’t even voting for the Republicans. They were voting against the Democrats, and they were voting against the Democrats for one very simple reason.
Democrats are pussies.
Democrats would rather stay out of a war because they’re pussies who can’t fight. Democrats feel like they need the safety net because they’re pussies that can’t hack it in the private sector. Democrats are politically correct because they’re pussies that can’t take a joke.
All these years the Republican party thought they were winning elections because their voters were as dedicated to “the conservative movement” as they were. But they don’t really give a shit about that. They never did.
What Trump is really proving is that all you need to sell a far-left trade policy to Republican voters is a spokesman whose every thought, word, and deed is dedicated to proving that he is not a pussy.
This, even more than trade or immigration, is Trump’s central campaign message, and it’s the reason he’s having people tossed from his rallies. Remember when the Black Lives Matter protesters stormed the stage at a Bernie Sanders rally, and Sanders just stepped back and let them have the mic? Trump saw that as proof positive that Sanders, like all Democrats, is a Grade-A Pussy.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but that doesn’t make it any less true: From a policy perspective, Trump, for all his many, many faults, is still the least objectionable Republican candidate in the running. He may be an asshole — and he’s a huge, huge asshole — but the other guys are fucking crazy. If I had to pick a president from the remaining Republican field, I’d pick Trump every time. Granted, that’s like picking Hepatitis C over leukemia, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s Disease, but it’s still a relatively easy choice.
And calling him a Nazi or a Hitler doesn’t do anyone any favors. I’m not saying he’s not racist, but he’s a lot closer to Archie Bunker than to Adolf Hitler, and as pretty much any of our grandpas would agree, there’s a meaningful difference there. You could make a case that he’s a fascist, I guess, or an authoritarian, but a Nazi? A Final Solution, Concentration Camp Nazi?
The story from last week where Trump asked the crowd to raise their right hands and promise to show up and vote for him, and then everyone freaked out and said he was doing a seig heil is self-evidently ridiculous. The case against a Trump presidency is strong enough without bringing the N-word into it. It’s not going to change any of his supporters’ minds — they’re just going to think you’re a pussy making yet another politically correct mountain out of yet another molehill because you’re too much of a pussy to Do What Needs To Be Done, and dig their heels in even further.
And if another Hitler ever really does come along, who’s going to listen to the people screaming about it when they said the same thing about the one-term reality TV star-turned-president who turned out to have no understanding of how to actually run a government and presided over four years of total gridlock?
This guy is an asshole and he’d make a terrible president, but as depressing as it is, the fact remains: we could do worse. We could do a lot worse.