Trump is the country's id: the desire of the moment, the impulse that must be gratified, untroubled by reason or realityby Diane Roberts / November 9, 2016 / Leave a comment
The United States has elected its own Silvio Berlusconi, a vain, vulgar, racist tycoon. Or is Benito Mussolini the more apt comparison? We’ll find out—the hard way. For all his conciliatory language last night, Donald Trump is still Donald Trump, the narcissist who basks in the adulation of his mostly white, mostly male, entirely rage-filled followers, the man with an attention span so short he makes George W Bush look like a scholar, the slimy lothario who boasts of assaulting women, the reality TV star who thinks that he can bend the world to his will simply by telling those of whom he disapproves, “You’re fired!”
What happened? People like me, members of the dreaded “elite:” university-educated, progressive, outward-looking, embracing of “alternative lifestyles,” maybe just that tiny bit smug about our cosmopolitanism and our tolerance, did not reckon on the anger and fear animating white people. They feel that America is leaving them behind. Many of them didn’t bother to vote. They distrust institutions; they think all politicians are corrupt and venal; they feel that the country in which they—white Christians—used to run everything, is increasingly in the hands of groups they don’t understand. Blacks. Gays. Latinos. Feminists. People who refuse to say “Merry Christmas.” In his Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance tried to explain it: the old American Dream which assured us all that you could rise economically through hard work and determination is no longer a reality for many. The truth is, it was always something of a fantasy: American upward mobility has been in decline for decades. If you’re born middle-class, you tend to stay middle-class; if you’re born working class, you struggle to climb.
Then along comes Trump and says out loud all those things white people have been thinking but were told by teachers and the media they should never express. Mexicans are rapists and murderers; black people are lazy; “political correctness” (known to most of us as common politeness) is ruining America. A lot of them actually like Trump’s tantrum-throwing and vows of revenge. They may not be able to get back at the boss who dissed them or the woman who rejected them, but…