07 July 2017

Five-Star Phony

Business Week magazine is running a fascinating aticle that's an excerpt (link here) from a forthcoming book about how Donald Trump decided to completely remake his image from a progressive businessman into a hateful racist in order to win the presidency.

Prior to the birther controversy, Trump was highly popular with African-Americans and Hispanics. As the linked article notes, "The Apprentice was viewed by corporate America as the epitome of the forward-thinking, multicultural programming that all advertisers were increasingly seeking, especially after the election in 2008 of a biracial president....As unlikely as it sounds from the vantage point of today, Trump and The Apprentice, up through the end of the decade, were considered by advertisers and audiences alike to be a triumph of American multiculturalism."

And then Trump completely destroyed his own image. He decided to make a serious run for the presidency, and he determined the best way to do to that was to become a hateful racist.

"Trump had intuited, correctly, that a racist attack targeting a black President was the surest way to ingratiate himself with grass-roots Republican voters," the excerpt notes. "And so Trump, without batting an eye, proceeded to destroy the goodwill he had built up with minority voters as a way of appealing to a new audience.... From a raw political standpoint, Trump’s decision to adopt a set of views that offended and alienated minority voters, ugly though it was, turned out well for him.... An anti-immigration zealot, [Steve] Bannon eagerly encouraged Trump to do everything he could to build a political movement around white identity politics."

Once again, all this underscores that Trump is a classic demagogue. He doesn't say what he believes. He says what will get him votes. He doesn't fight for policies in which he believes. He pushes policies that will win him votes.

His relationship with a the LGBT community is a perfect example of this craven abandonment of values. Prior to about 2010, Trump was known to be pro-LGBT.

No more. He reinvented himself into a pro-evangelical racist, so that means he must pretend to support anything they want. They wanted hardcore anti-LGBT conservatives like Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. So Trump turned over the decision-making process for judges and justices to hardcore anti-LGBT groups like the Heritage Foundation.

He gets to be President. Millions of Americans get shafted as a result. That's a satisfactory tradeoff for him.

Demagogues have the nasty habit of turning into dictators. Second- and third-world history are full of examples of when that has happened.

The only thing stopping Trump at this point from going full dictator is ineptitude. In large part, his administration is failing badly. And the only way we may hope to survive his presidency is if that failure continues until his clock runs out and a new President replaces him (or his successor) in 2021.

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