“Why are they so popular? What is the attraction? How can so many Americans be in love with an unrealistic, pie in the sky socialist on the one hand and a fake tan, fake teeth, fake hair, fake everything casino owning creep on the other?”
The Republicans actually have an impressive line up of candidates. They aren’t angels, but they’ve got ideas, policies, experience, money, expertise, brains and energy. Even Hillary Billary Clinton comes to the game with experience, expertise and brains. She may be as corrupt as a cesspit, but she’s been around long enough to know how to turn on the lights and get a good team around her to run the country.
But none of that counts because America has stopped thinking. David Frum makes a great case here about why that might be…
The angriest and most pessimistic people in America aren’t the hipster protesters who flitted in and out of Occupy Wall Street. They aren’t the hashtavists of #BlackLivesMatter. They aren’t the remnants of the American labor movement or the savvy young dreamers who confront politicians with their American accents and un-American legal status.
The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description.
You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.
Why do conservative, Evangelical Christians think a thrice married, bankrupt Trump is great? Why are liberal young people (who are supposed to be suspicious of old white guys) flocking to Bernie Saunders? Because they’re not thinking, and they’ve turned they’re brains off not because they’re dumb. They’re not thinking because they’re mad.
They’re mad at the corruption. They’re frustrated by the establishment same old same old. They’re fed up with the feds, angry with the immigrants, worried about war, tired of political correctness on the one hand and stupid bigotry on the other.
They’re so mad that they’ll fall for anybody who offers them a quick fix. They believed the “hope and change” mantra of Obama and now they’ll believe the “I’ll Make America Great Again” bromide of Trump.
This is true enough, but there is another sickness at the heart of America.
Everything seems like chaos. We’re living through enormous cultural, technological and societal change and most Americans don’t have the roots to keep stable or a star to steer by.
What I mean is that we do not have a shared creed and belief system. We do not have a shared ambition and aim, and without a vision the people perish.
So what are the angry Americans really looking for? Let’s be honest. They’re looking for a savior. They’re looking for someone who will solve the problems and make things good for them again.
They want someone who will make them happy.
If I’m right, then the situation is even worse than the most pessimistic of the prophets, because when a people stop thinking and cry out emotionally and irrationally for a savior the society is ripe for a dictatorship.
To put it bluntly, when people are ready to sell their soul for a savior….
….that’s exactly what they will do.
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