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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump’s Slide into the Base

The President’s obsession with his core supporters reveals who he really is and is debasing our country like no other.

It’s tough to do, but I am characterizing August 15, 2017 as the second “Day of Infamy” in U.S. history.  For it was on that day that President Donald Trump lost whatever declining moral standing he had when he defended elements of the white supremacist/neo-Nazi crowd in Charlottesville, Va. on August 11-12 as “ very fine people” while criticizing those who are standing up to racism and bigotry as “extremely violent.”
 “What about the alt-left? They came charging at the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?... I think there’s blame on both sides,” he said during a combative, unfiltered press conference in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower.

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of to them a very, very important statue and then renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

Trump, who claimed he closely watched the events of that fateful weekend in which Heather Heyer was murdered when a vehicle driven by one of the Nazis slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters and two police officers who were killed in a helicopter crash monitoring the protests, was unable to unambiguously go on a verbal rampage against the neo-Nazis and racists.  Instead, he gave false moral equivalence to the two sides in the clash.

Trump apparently had the sound off on his TV; otherwise, he would have heard the anti-Semitic, Nazi chants “blood and soil,”  “Jews will not replace us” and the homophobic "Fuck You,Faggots" among others carried out by torch-carrying white supremacists and KKK members.

Fine people indeed.

Trump was roundly criticized when on Saturday he gave a brief and tepid condemnation of racism in general but not the individuals who carried the torches. He said “many sides” were responsible for the mayhem. 

Then on Monday, he gave the “hostage speech” off of a teleprompter saying some right things but it was clear to any observer, he was simply not into it and appeared he was forced by staff and aides to rectify the wrongs from the earlier attempt.

Then came the horrific performance on Tuesday, the 15th when an unplugged Donald Trump crashed and burned to the dismay, anger and sadness of much of the world.  That is, except for former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and others of his ilk who applauded the president.

What’s behind this? 

One can surely make the point there is racism in Trump’s royal blood given his father having been arrested in 1927 following a KKK rally though there is no evidence that the elder Trump was part of the organization. 

There are examples of his record on race relations.  Trump reinforced this reputation by surrounding himself in the White House with the likes of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.  And let’s not forget the birtherism movement he led, his comments on Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, a federal judge of Mexican descent, the Gold Star Muslim Khan family and others.

Regardless of what prejudices he holds inside his soul, there is one glaring fact that must be considered: he thrives on his base. 

As approval ratings decline, he is comforted by the fact there is a small but enthusiastic sector of the population that adores Trump.  This is his lifeline.  This is his fix.

He sees himself as a victim, treated unfairly by the “fake news media,” the establishment Republicans and Democrats, and he and his followers must battle the odds.  This base of support provides him the blood to exist.  Trump must be adored.  Trump must be adulated.  Trump must be idolized. And Trump must be unquestioned.

In his nearly eight months in office, Trump has made absolutely no attempt to reach out beyond his base to try in some manner to unify the country.  He never made the effort, and it looks like he never will.

Bizarrely, Trump holds campaign-style rallies even months after the campaign is over to re-invigorate his ego.  There he blasts the media and re-litigates the election by bragging about how big the victory was, demonizing his vanquished opponent, and spews a lot of nonsense that these people swallow whole and without question.

He cannot afford to risk losing this support.  His ego and depraved narcissism demand it.  Many in his base are either the same racists who took part in Charlottesville or like-minded folks.  Trump’s demeanor on the campaign trail, his post-election period and ever since the inauguration has made it comfortable for racists to surface from under their rocks and show themselves.  Thus, the pathetic, disgraceful, and disgusting performance the last few days.

As the rest of the country (and the world) continues to observe this president with horror, one can imagine them thinking, “Mueller time can’t come soon enough.”

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