Donald Trump is currently the GOP front runner. The MOST important thing to understand about that fact is exactly how little that actually means. In 2012 approx 54% of the voting age population of the US actually turned out to vote. The Voting Age Population is 73% of the US population; which was 318 million in 2014. That means 129 Million people showed up to vote in 2012 just over ⅓ of the population. That’s not the number who voted for the winner, that’s everyone… total. This of course is a huge problem with voting as a whole (that’s another post.) Anyway, approximately 28% of registered voters are Republican. That means of 129 Million likely voters , 36.12 million of them are Republican. Let’s say that poll numbers were like mini election numbers, where every registered voter of a party actually voted for who they wanted to win their party ( this is giving far more credit than a poll actually deserves). Donald’s 35% of Republican voters would represent 13 million people, that’s 4% of America. 4% of America would vote for Donald trump right now. The actually scary thing is how little of america has to vote for a candidate for them to win (I promise that’s the last time I’ll bring up that voting, on a large scale, is a totally worthless system)… Voting sucks.. (ok now I’m done)
So why are people so worried about the 4% of Americans who like Donald Trump? Well aside from the broken election system, and how close 4% gets you to actually being elected (damn it, I’m sorry. It’s almost involuntary, almost.) I think a lot of it is that people are shocked at how anyone, even as few as 4%, could look at the ideas and projected ‘policies’ of a Trump white house and support them. How could anyone look at someone who, in reference to making members of a religion register with a state database, says:
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule”
I don’t believe it’s fear from the unknown that scares people about Trump’s ideas, far from it. Trumps ideas are all too familiar, they sound a lot like words the world has heard before, and the last time they were uttered things did not go so well. They are ideas from a political philosophy commonly referred to but rarely so accurately portrayed. These ideas are the ideas of fascism, they are familiar, and they are awful. Worst of all they are largely policies the American government engages in, but never so openly. Allegiance to nation over people, databases of citizens, genetic and religious profiling, an unabashed lust for preemptive violence in the name of security, these aren’t the retellings of the events long ago of WWII. We aren’t unexposed to these ideas, or them being acted upon by the government. We just don’t like to have to think about them, and the state usually doesn’t want us to either. Perhaps it’s because we like the version of America we’re taught to believe in. The version that fought against fascism, that liberates the oppressed, and that gives people a chance for a better, freer, life than any other place in the world. We like that version, because at our core, we aren’t a bunch of power hungry assholes, but that version of america doesn’t exist, and hasn’t for a very long time (if ever.)
Trump the politician is all of the US’s shit policies rolled up into one candidate, he’ doesn’t hide any of it, and despite that he garners support. How could he, let alone 4% of Americans look at theses ideas and not see the parallels to Nazi Germany and WWII’s Axis? The answer,to me, seems decades of propaganda. Propaganda in schools, in media, and in so many facets of the american life have lead us to believe that somehow when America does it, it’s different. This attitude is how we are taught to justify the Japanese internment during WWII, or the indiscriminate bombings that have killed millions of innocent people since America dropped the A bomb on Hiroshima. Just a few months ago American drones bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, killing 12 Doctors and dozen a patients, and it was talked about for maybe a week. For a moment imagine that headline said “Chinese Drones bombed a Doctor without Borders Hospital in America…” speculate on how you, and the world around you would react to that.
I doubt Donald fancies himself the next Hitler, he likely despises the name in many of the same ways you do. Donald and his followers don’t consider themselves fascists, they consider themselves patriots. Donald’s ego has long been his entertaining quality, and so long as he was playing the abrasive business man ‘firing’ largely annoying celebrities, it was OK. Unfortunately his ego inflated to the point where he forgot what he is, an entertainer and quasi business man. He is filled with illusions of grandeur that not only do we- neigh the world- NEED someone to tell us what to do, but that he’s just the man for the ‘job.’ His attitude suggests that he has largely followed his gut through life, he’s had enough money to take those bets, and more times than not come up on top, so it’s worked for him. The problem with this is that he has never been forced to evaluate his world view. Money (and corporatism) has largely shielded him from his mistakes, and he is just a man subjected to the same decades of propaganda the rest of America has been subject to. He believes that America’s actions are good by virtue of being American, and therefor doesn’t need to pay attentions to the parallels his ideas have to the dictators before him. His ego assures him that, if he is a dictator, he’s the one we need. His followers comprise of those who believe that American mythos, people who understand and support fascism, people that are just so anti-Obama they’ll support anything that feels different (Trump feels very different), people who fear what they believe are real threats to the aforementioned american way, and so much in between.
Yet, all things considered, Trump didn’t manifest these fears in people. That same ‘America is Great!’ propaganda has long established an US and THEM mentality. It’s predicated on collectivizing human beings and proceeding to dehumanize those collectives. It’s long placed a Vs. between the US and various THEMs throughout history. This mentality breeds throughout so much of America, and Trump’s ideas are simply a big blemish on a much uglier beast, The American Empire. It is of much less concern to those of us who don’t want to see Trumps world come to fruition, how people can support him, compared to what we can be doing not to propagate the environments in which Trumps ideas thrive. We could treat all people, even Trump supporters, as complex individuals who are trying to strive for what they believe to be happiness. We should strive to fight intolerance with tolerance. We shouldn’t give credence to ideas of dictatorial powers by supporting candidates who wish to use them in ways we see as beneficial. We can reach for a society that focuses on bettering ourselves, and those around us as much as we can. We can take responsibility for our actions, and our futures. We can promote the ideas of community and helping one another without sullying such altruism with the force of the state. Perhaps most importantly we can teach these things to our children. we can show them the way towards examining their worlds with reason, not myths or fear. If less people were looking for a political savior, the ground would be far less fertile for would be dictators.