Monday, April 25, 2016

WHAT'S WITH DONALD TRUMP?

When we are visiting with friends here in the south of France, sipping pink and munching aperos, the question is inevitably asked. What's with you people and Donald Trump? We are, after all, the Americans in the room. As such, we are the de facto experts on the wacky world of American Presidential politics. Do you want truth, we reply? Are you ready for the truth? Can you handle the truth?

OK. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.

The Trumping of the Republican Party is primarily the result of two American political events.

The first was the election of Ronald Reagan. You remember Reagan? Trees cause more pollution than automobiles? Ketchup is a vegetable? Those may sound silly to you today but Reagan was The Great Communicator. The disconnect between rhetoric and reality became irrelevant.

I repeat in case you missed it. In American politics, the disconnect between rhetoric and reality is irrelevant.

Thus, Reagan was able to preside over a huge increase in federal spending, a huge increase in federal debt, and still claim that Big Government was the problem and that tax cuts would balance the budget. Thus, Trump could say that he would build a wall on the Mexican border, that the Mexicans would pay for it, and nobody in his audience laughed.

The second political event leading to the Trumping of the Republicans was the election of that Kenyan-born Muslim, Barack Obama. Obama's election confronted a vast swath of Americans with the shocking truth that being born with white skin, having a closet full of rifles, and holding a world view that failed to consider anything happening beyond your own little cul-de-sac was not going to cut it any more. And it was Obama's fault - Obama and everyone who looked like him.

That the next refugee allowed on our shores might grow up to be President was no longer a point of American pride. The next refugee was probably not going to be white.

Yes, folks. Trump represents the worst of America. And in a primary election in the United States, winners are decided by those voters that show up. Since only the most rabid, highly motivated voters tend to show up in the primaries, the winners are the ones willing to feed the beast.

Beware. The fringe right wing of politics with which Europe is so familiar and against which Europe is constantly on guard has invaded America with a vengeance. I have decided to leave the United States and live in France for a reason. And it's not about the wine and the cheese.

Well, not just about the wine and the cheese...








4 comments:

  1. I arrived in France during an election year and found myself having to explain why George W. Bush was elected when Al Gore had scored more votes. My new hosts couldn't believe how a presidential election in the powerful USA could resemble so closely one in a banana republic. Of course, this awkward phase was nothing compared to the conflict between W and Chirac about WMD and attacking Iraq! Having to explain "Freedom fries" to my smirking colleagues was not any easier ("but zey are not even French, zey are Belgian"). So what I'm saying is, get used to being embarrassed, Ira. At least our hosts are open-minded enough to realize that Americans are not all the same...

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  2. Thanks, but I'm not embarrassed at all. I'm living in a country whose politicians are criticized not for cheating on their wives but for cheating on their mistresses. The country next door elected Berlusconi. What does an American have to be embarrassed about?

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  3. Nothing , to me, Trump is a direct link to The Bush catastrophe . I credit Americans with the ability to learn after that episode. We all have to vote ...burying our heads in sand wont change the Fanatics rise to power ..... 1930 an' all that . England only votes when things get totally out of hand ...Wilson, Thatcher and Blair in my lifetime ...so hang on in there and VOTE .

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    1. I was quite surprised how easy it was to arrange for absentee ballots for the primary electronically. No muss, no fuss. Just about $5.50 worth of postage to mail ours to the States. We'll do the same in November.

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