Friday, July 22, 2016

Donald Trump's Fairy Tale Moment...

Maybe it was a sixth sense that something truly awful was happening… But around 3 am here in London I found myself wide awake, wrestling with a bout of acid re-flux and insomnia. So I got up, quietly made my way down the hall from the bedroom to the living room and turned on CSPAN.

The stage was set in  ALL CAPS glory with “TRUMP! “emblazoned in larger than life letters above a wall of American flags. After a graceful and well spoken introduction by his daughter, "The Donald" came out. Soaking up the adulation of assembled masses of Republican National Convention delegates.     Clearly savoring the moment, Donald Trump smiled, and began his speech, accepting  the Republican Party's  Presidential Nomination.

After watching  the speech,  my first impulse was to sit down at this keyboard and  write a massive, detailed point-by-point rebuttal  of everything Trump said last night that was either an out and out lie or at best, wildly contorted half truths taken deliberately out of context.    But you know what?   It doesn't matter.  

 The past three days, watching the sad, very very angry spectacle that was the 2016 GOP convention, one thing has become all too clear;    People who support Donald Trump for President of the United States don't care that he is lying.    The reason is  very simple,  they like the lies.    The lies affirm their world view and confirm their beliefs.     

The victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary is the culmination of the shift  of the Republican Base away from facts.  Well, OK,  not all facts.  But away from ANY facts or information that doesn't support their existing view point.   When confronted with facts that contradict those views they simply ignore them, if  facts don't match the talking points, they simply don't exist,  or are part of an "elitist  conspiracy" to discredit their point of view, obviously.

This isn't new. What we saw this week in Cleveland is just the end result of what has been happening on the American Political right since 2008.

For the GOP base, if you believe President Obama is a foreign born Muslim, even his actual birth certificate will never convince you .  It must be a fake, because your belief in the Birther conspiracy  is more important to you than the truth,  so you can never accept the fact that the President of the United States is an American, born in Hawaii and a practicing Christian.    

For the GOP base the talking point that both the deficit and national debt  have "skyrocketed" under President Obama is so sacrosanct  as to even defy Math. The fact that the numbers prove otherwise simply doesn't matter,  "Math clearly has a "liberal bias".  

Likewise If you believe the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was the result of  "Hillary Clinton hating America", and was the worst attack on Americans since Pearl Harbor,  there is no amount of facts or logic  that will dissuade you of that notion.  Even nine Republican led investigations, clearing Clinton of any negligence isn't credible to you .  They all must have clearly been co-opted by  "The Clinton Machine".

Unemployment must be up, (it is down). Violent Crime must be on the rise (it isn't, it has fallen).   America clearly IS the highest taxed nation in the world (actually No, we rank 30th out of 34 industrialized  nations).  

I could go on and on but  why?    If you really want to see for yourself the Washington Post has an excellent fact check of Trump's speech here.     But what's the point?  Trump voters  have no interest in reality. 

Last night has shown the world, that in 2016,   the Republican Party has adopted  willful and aggressive ignorance,  as their overarching  political ideology. 

The New York Times is reporting that should he be elected, Donald Trump plans to hand all responsibility for  domestic and foriegn policy off to  his Vice President, and his role would be, (according to his son) simply to "Make America Great Again".  

"One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. ... according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply."

Did you catch that? Let's be clear here, because this is important. If you are voting for Donald Trump this November, you are voting to elect Mike Pence as essentially  American Prime Minister with Trump as some sort of ceremonial head of state / constitutional monarch.

Friends of mine on both sides of the Atlantic have been asking me on a near daily basis what I think is going to happen come November.   They  nervously point  out that no one expected Trump to get this far, and ask me to seriously handicap the possibility of a Trump victory in Novmember.

I take a deep breath, and remind them that winning the GOP nomination and winning the General election are two very different things.  I dutifully point them to Nate Silver's careful and detailed  assessment, of polls, voter demographics, social and economic trends.  All of which give Trump about a 20 to 25 percent chance of winning.    Honestly though,  who knows?   I would like think that the great mass of the American electorate sees Donald Trump for exactly what he is;  A narcissistic sociopath  with delusions of political grandeur.     

Which then begs the question, of those who are voting for Donald Trump.  Why? If you are a Trump voter, I can only surmise that you clearly have decided that facts do not matter,  and you want to see Trump  set fire to American democracy,  just to watch it burn. 

No plans,  no policies  other than banning all Muslims and building a wall.   No answers other than "believe me, it will be great!"


What the world saw in Cleveland, Ohio last night will either be the death knell of the Republican Party as we have always known it.  Or, the death knell of American Democracy as we have always known it.  Either way,  it  will be the triumph of willful ignorance over common sense.

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