It would be very bad if Trump were re-elected
I recently read an article in The Washington Post that filled me with even more dread for our nation, and humanity’s future than usual. In the article, ominously titled “The 2020 election isn’t going to be close”, Conservative Hugh Hewitt argues that while the Democrats are understandably excited about the prospect of facing off against arguably the worst human being ever, let alone president, they should actually be filled with pessimism because Trump is going to be coast to an easy victory.
I wish I could say that Hewitt’s point of view represents nothing more than the partisan hackwork of someone deluded enough to actually believe that Trump deserves to win but I found his argument despairingly convincing, and not just because since Trump’s election I’ve lost all faith in American democracy, the American people and humanity as a whole.
Trump was elected to do two things: keep oppressed, persecuted minorities down through any means possible—whether that means separating kids from their parents at the border or banning the trans community from serving in the military—and kickstart the economy by being even more cravenly pro-business and anti-regulation than any previous president.
By seemingly every other standard, Trump’s presidency has been a disaster of epic proportions, something that will take decades to recover from. But Trump has largely delivered on these two fronts. The stock market is up. Unemployment is down and Trump and his administration are following through on their multi-thronged attack on immigrants, illegal or otherwise, the trans community, Black Lives Matter and various other vulnerable groups.
Democrats keep desperately hoping that character will somehow prove to be Trump’s Achille’s Heel. They adorably seem to think that once the American public comes to realize that Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic bully and deranged narcissist they will turn on him and vote for an opponent who represents a desperately needed return to decency and civility.
They don’t seem to realize that the American public did not vote for Trump despite his racism, bigotry and hateful, deeply narcissistic personality. No, they voted for him because of his racism, bigotry and hateful, deeply narcissistic personality. So when people like Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton assume the moral ground and attack Trump’s bigotry, they also insult the bigotry of his followers, the deplorables, who heartily embrace all the things about Trump respectable folks insist they should despise, like his cruelty and lies and deeply personal pettiness. They live vicariously through Trump sticking an angry middle finger up at everyone, including our allies and his own party.
In his opening video Biden seizes upon Trump’s response to Charlottesville, particularly his notorious words about their being “very fine people” on both sides as a defining moment in his political life and American politics and one of the major reasons he’s running for the highest office in the land, although as my friend Dave Weigel pointed out on Twitter, this is Joe Biden we’re talking about. I can’t imagine there was a moment in the past quarter century when he WASN’T thinking about being President.
Trump responded to Biden’s criticism with characteristic arrogance, deeming his response to Charlottesville “perfect.”
To a sizable percentage of the voting public, particularly Trump voters, the rancid bloviator in the White House’s response to Charlottesville was perfect. To them, and to Trump, this was not a historic skirmish between Neo-Nazis and Antifa but rather a conflict between people who supported Trump and his agenda of racism and cruelty, or violent thugs whose sustained criticism of the president represents nothing short of a violent rejection of democracy and the will of the American people.
Trump probably thought he was being gracious, big-hearted, generous, even, by affording people who have committed the ultimate crime of opposing him and his administration the same moral ground as people who take to the streets to support him and his ideas. True, some of Trump’s supporters in Charlottesville had Nazi armbands and were carrying Confederate flags, but that didn’t seem to matter to Trump as much as their support for him. Trump is the pettiest of chief executives: if you like him, chances are VERY good that he will like you, because that’s all that really matters to him.
Sure, Trump’s approval ratings are in the toilet, just as they’ve been pretty much his entire presidency. Then again, his poll numbers were also bad and that did not keep him from getting elected.
It would be a very, very bad thing if Trump were re-elected. He’s a hateful moron with a regrettable gift for exploiting the public’s ugliness, hate and paranoia for his own political and personal gain.
For reasons Hewitt laid out, Trump will be a tough opponent. It would be a terrible, terrible mistake to underestimate him in 2020, just as it proved disastrous the last time around.
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