Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Trump Explained to Canadians

I get a lot of questions and comments from friends and relatives in Canada about Trump and his pronouncements.  Let me say first that I could not stand the guy before he started his campaign and I like him less now.

But who is Trump and what is going on in the USA?

It is easy to think of Trump as a political Don Cherry with his hair substituting for the outlandish suits.  But it's not funny and there is no hockey game to bracket his outbursts.

Trump is considered by many Americans to be an attention-hog with a big mouth, a bully, rude, racist, with a thin skin, he loves to win, does not think before opening his mouth, and plays fast and loose with the truth.  Like me, he is entitled to say and do what he wants within the law.  He is a classic demagogue, which I looked up in the dictionary and it should have his picture next to the description:

Why do people support him?  The polls show that the bulk of his support comes from older less educated white people, but others do support him.  I posit that they are mostly scared and he seems like the big leader on a white horse who is going to fix things.  "Make America Great Again" means we are scared and need someone to fix things.

There are a lot of scared white people in the USA today.

  • Well paying manufacturing jobs moved to China and Mexico, leaving poorly educated people few options for a middle class lifestyle
  • A lot of folks lost money in the dot com crash, the housing crash, and the great recession.
  • The US media loves to run stories that scare people: mass shootings, terrorism, disease, and the like.  It sells newspapers and gets people to watch TV news.  The reality is that crime is down, lifespans are increasing, and technology is making life easier, but who needs facts when you can be scared by some media commentator?
  • A lot of folks did not save for retirement and they are getting to retirement age.  It does not look good for them.  Note that Trump is the only Republican candidate saying he won't touch Social Security and Medicare, which is all these people for their retirement.
  • A black guy got elected president, which horrifies a lot of people who are silent racists.
  • Non-whites are doing well.  Asian immigrants are doing well in technology, the illegals are working hard and building solid lives for their family, blacks are making slow progress (and Obama is President), and a lot of whites are falling behind.  Middle income white lifespans are decreasing.
  • Military power is less important and less useful.  The US has lost a few wars lately in spite of spending more on the military than the next 10 countries combined.  Meanwhile, the real field of battle is economic, where China and other countries are kicking ass.
  • The US has lost a lot of its courage as evidenced by "helicopter parents" who want to protect their kids and themselves from falling off bikes, losing a baseball game, or having some person who is not white or Christian from another country pass the screening and move to the US, become a terrorist and then go to their favorite mall and shoot them while they are ordering a soy sugar free peppermint spice extra hot latte.  Never mind my neighbor up the street with the NRA stickers on his pickup, Tea Party vanity license plate, and the permanent scowl on his face, he is harmless.
  • These Trump supporters long for the good old days.  Yet they forget that the good old days (50's and 60's) had segregation and race riots, domestic terrorism (remember the Weathermen?), a lost war in Viet Nam, the threat of annihilation by the USSR, and half of Europe and all of China under communist oppression. We had some great music back then, but also an awful lot of problems.
But the USA will come to its senses and Trump will go back to being a reality TV star like the Kardashians.  We only hope he does not follow their lead and make sex tapes.

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