I'll Never Understand Trumpism


Content Warning: US politics / Trump

As other thinkers have opined in the last week (1, 2), it's utterly baffling to many of us that ~70 million people voted for Trump after seeing what he was like for four years. I share that sentiment wholeheartedly, and I don't foresee ever understanding it. I said this at the end of 2016:

I felt, and continue to feel more strongly every day, that he's a psychopath, a liar, a moron, a narcissist, a swindler, and a bigot. That such a person should be the most powerful man in the world is excruciatingly scary, though right next to it is my terror of my neighbors who believe that such a man is an idol, a person to be emulated, a person to be placed in a position of leadership and authority. I am utterly incapable of understanding such a viewpoint. I hear rumors that some people voted for him not because they like him but because he'll challenge the status quo or "drain the swamp" or whatever. But, of course, even if he manages to follow through on all his promises, voting for such a person is analogous to detonating a pack of C-4 in your house because you'd like to take up the carpet: maybe the carpet will be gone when you're done, but so will the rest of the house. And if he does follow through on all his promises (which may be doubtful, but nevertheless a possibility), then he'll undo years of progress for minorities, women's rights, international relations, energy reform, and a plethora of other absolutely vital issues.

The last four years have proven to me that I was not only not mistaken, I may have even underestimated how bad things could get. To be clear, I don't think I underestimated Trump himself — in fact, I think I had the measure of him from the beginning — but I do think I underestimated how easily the Republican party would bend over and let Trump do whatever the fuck he wanted with no checks or balances whatsoever, how hypocritical they would be when he broke norms and committed treason even though they had screamed bloody murder over Obama wearing a tan suit and Hillary keeping emails on a private server.

Look: I have beef with Democrats on some issues. Democrats are the party I most closely align with right now, but I definitely don't root for them unconditionally like some people do for their favorite sports teams. But the most constant insult levied against the Republicans in the last four years is that they value "party over country," and it seems competely obvious to me that that's true. They try to act as though they have a monopoly on morality and patriotism, but the truth is that they're utterly corrupt and treasonous.

But let me return to my main reason for writing this post, which is that I am completely flabbergasted by people who like and support Trump. I get that "reasons" are offered, like that people thought he was going to drain the swamp or that he was going to champion their political agenda. It could potentially make sense to me that people might have voted for him in spite of disliking him personally if they believed that he would advance their causes. That's a sad calculation to have to make, if true: it would suck to be a conservative who would've had to choose between someone who'd been your political enemy for decades (Hillary) and someone who disgusted you but who was going to help you get what you wanted (Trump). And presumably, some people did make that calculation and decided to vote for Trump while holding their noses. But what absolutely confounds me is that there are lots of conservatives (perhaps a majority) who seem to like Trump. Sorry; "like" is too mild a word: lots of conservatives are foaming at the mouth with rabid love for Trump. And that's what I just can't understand. He's one of the shittiest human beings ever to walk the earth. Why not be rabidly in love with someone who actually cares about the things you care about, someone who's an effective and inspiring leader? Why love someone who throws toddler temper tantrums on Twitter, who spends more time golfing than doing anything else, who has virtually no political beliefs whatsoever and who will say and do anything so long as people fawn over him, who cares only about himself and some of his close friends and family members but has not a single moral or patriotic bone in his body, who can hardly string words together to form coherent thoughts, who's willing to work with Russia and Ukraine to put himself in power and keep himself there, who pretends to go to church once in a blue moon and be a Christian even though he's the literal embodiment of the traditional "seven deadly sins" (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride), who obstructed justice when it came to himself and cancelled it altogether when it came to Eddie Gallagher but who's willing to use Bill Barr and the entire weight of the justice department to investigate and prosecute his political enemies, who lies indiscriminately and compulsively and without compunction, who throws his closest allies under the bus if they don't immediately and enthusiastically follow out his commands, who doesn't pay taxes, who was born with a silver spoon in his hand but who nevertheless runs all his businesses into the ground and is millions of dollars in debt. I don't get it. I don't understand what anybody, even conservatives, like about him. He's a small man, a mentally and emotionally and morally retarded buffoon, a grifter and criminal and traitor.

I thought that after four years of hearing from Trump's supporters, I'd begin to understand why people voted for him. But I just don't. I really don't.