David McReynolds :
Donald Trump, the unexpected guest
with my curry

When I found my young friend, the attorney, was considering voting for Trump, it suggested to me that Trump might win.

Donald Trump mouth open

Feed me! Grab from No Holds Barred / YouTube / Creative Commons.

By David McReynolds | The Rag Blog | July 15, 2016

NEW YORK — A few weeks ago a couple of friends invited me to dinner at a nice little place, Heart of India, on Second Avenue and Fifth Street. One friend is a multi-talented master of film, and the other is a lawyer. I got to the restaurant early, and the first one to arrive was the young lawyer.

We were making idle conversation, waiting for the final friend. I was rambling on about how I had never seen any candidate so totally shredded as Donald Trump. The late night show, The Daily Show, every comic strip, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Daily News.

EDGELEFT

Poor Trump was the butt of endless jokes, savage, without mercy. (Trevor Noah on The Daily Show does a particularly effective job.) I said the only comic the conservatives had on Trump’s side was Dennis Miller, of Fox, a stand-up comic whose sense of humor had stood up and left him years ago.

I said that it must be very hard for anyone to admit they actually like Trump, given this barrage of hostile humor, mocking everything from his tiny hands to his strange hair. And it was at that point that my attorney friend said he rather liked Trump and thought he might vote for him.

I was stunned, not sure if my friend was joking, but it seems he was serious.

It is worth looking at the reasons why anyone would consider backing Trump.

It is worth looking at the reasons why anyone would consider backing Trump. Leaving aside Trump’s racism, there are some points which Trump supporters believe justifies their support.

Some of the attacks on Trump reflect points where he has deviated from the “accepted norm” but where he might be right. My lawyer friend said he was tired of the attacks on Trump based on the mutual praise between Trump and Putin, saying he saw no reason why a productive working relationship couldn’t be established with Russia. I’d say score one for my friend — the attacks on Trump on this issue reflect Cold War positions held by almost all of his opponents in the GOP primary.

When Trump aroused a storm for suggesting he would meet with the North Koreans, why was this so swiftly dismissed? Hadn’t Obama said in 2008 that he would meet with the Iranians? Given the dangerous tensions with North Korea, who could oppose any move to explore a detente? Why mock Trump for his partial support for the nuclear deal with Iran — isn’t that a step in the right direction? And while one may find Assad a bloody dictator, why was it so wrong for Trump to suggest a settlement in Syria might involve leaving Assad in place? After all, the U.S. seems quite happy to leave the Saudis untouched.

Given the dangerous tensions with North Korea, who could oppose any move to explore a detente?

So too with Trump’s original statement that he would take an impartial view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If anyone is serious about resolving that conflict, isn’t that the way to open negotiations? Granted, I think Trump’s original views on this topic have changed — Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire whose billions dramatically outrank those of Trump, is said to have pledged $100 million to the Trump campaign, enough, I suspect, to insure that Trump finds his way back to total support for the Israeli position.

So, too, with Trump’s pledge to aid our veterans. If, like me, you are a skeptic, knowing that Trump seems to think his time in a military school qualifies him as a veteran, and if you are aware he carefully avoided serving in Vietnam (so few billionaires did!), look, for a moment, at the massive frustration the general public has with Washington, the deadlock of our politics, the failure of the Veterans Administration to provide urgently needed care to veterans.

Or consider the impossible lines at our airports as the TSA, skilled at getting us to dump our water bottles or shampoo, but unable to find weapons (which we later learned made it through when the system was tested), lines which make us miss our flights, and you can begin to understand why the deepening silent fury of the public can turn to Trump. Perhaps, the thinking goes, a businessman can get the job done.

I remain baffled at my young friend’s
view of Trump.

I remain baffled at my young friend’s view of Trump, but surely it is important for us to try to understand one another. If we cannot dialogue, we are lost. My own view of Trump was beautifully summed up by Michael K. Vlock, a Republican investor who has given millions to the GOP in recent years and who said of Trump, to whom he will not be giving funds:

He’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard.

I’d go a bit further and say I find Trump (whom I suspect is a mental case) so gross, boorish, and egocentric that I am baffled that he has any followers, let alone the support of my bright, decent young attorney.

But let’s look at some of the things that should worry those who are convinced he is doomed to lose by a landslide.

Let us realize that Hillary does serve as the best argument for Trump.

First, his opponent is Hilary Clinton, who, on foreign policy, is a hawk and who, as the State Department report on her email shows, is a liar. One can half-way understand the generally decent Republicans who fought Trump all the way (even backing Ted Cruz, who, if it is possible, is worse than Trump), finally deciding that if the choice is between Trump and Hillary they will choose Trump. (This is still an impossibly wrong choice, in my view, but let us realize that Hillary does serve as the best argument for Trump).

Second, the reason Bernie Sanders has done surprisingly well is because, for working people, for the middle class, the past 10 years has seen their real wages drop, and has seen money concentrated in the 1%. (The Clinton’s themselves, with a net worth of over $100 million, are part of that 1% of the 1%.)

While much of the problem of the past eight years has been the congressional deadlock, for which the GOP must take full credit, it remains a deadlock — the government is not working. Trump seems like a strong man, one who can build walls, save jobs, make the wheels turn.

While trade deals, such as NAFTA, bring us lower-priced shirts, the cheap labor of Mexico, Vietnam, and China invites investors to shift their factories out of the country. Those trade deals put money in the hands of the very rich, leaving the towns and cities of middle America empty of factories and jobs.

Finally there is the elephant in the political room — the issue of racism.

Finally there is the elephant in the political room — the issue of racism, of the fear of the shifting color of America. White America will, in a short time, be a minority, and those of color — Hispanics, African Americans, Asians — will make up the majority. This accounts for the huge (white) crowds Trump draws, and the edge of violence in his speeches.

We cannot afford to ignore the danger that Trump will win white voters away from the Democrats. Nor can we trust the polls — as I suggested at the start of this, people have become embarrassed to admit they will vote for Trump, but this doesn’t mean that, in the privacy of the polling booth, they won’t vote for him.

These are not normal times — the rise of Trump is a mirror image of the astounding rise of Sanders, both are reactions to a very deeply troubled period when America seems to have lost its way, when wages have not risen, when government seems stuck. I do not mean that the two forces are the same. Sanders, whatever you think of his proposals (and I support them) has waged a decent campaign, appealing to our better angels.

Trump will use dog whistles.

Trump is a deeply racist candidate. No, he will not call Obama a “nigger” — times have changed too much for so crude a term. Trump will use dog whistles. But I ask those Republicans who may realize some elections are better lost than won, to look at Trump’s past.

A man who was brought into court over his issue of racial discrimination in his housing. A man who took a full page ad in The New York Times to call for the death penalty for the “Central Park Five” (the five black youths originally found guilty of the rape and beating of a white woman — and who eventually won their release when proven innocent). No, he didn’t call Obama a “nigger” — but he put money and time into the campaign to discredit the first African-American president by suggesting he was not an American citizen, by joining his voice with others who suggested Obama was a Muslim.

At a time when the police shootings of black youth have shocked most of us, Trump has gone out of his way to give unconditional support to the police. Polls taken of those serving in the military suggest that Trump has wide support there.

Trump may have legions of supporters who do not regularly make it to the polls.

When I found my young friend, the attorney, was considering voting for Trump, it suggested to me that Trump might win. That despite all — the Hispanic vote, the women’s vote, the labor vote, the African-American vote — despite all this, Trump may have legions of supporters who do not regularly make it to the polls. It is ominous that in the primary voting the GOP turnout has exceeded all records, while on the Democratic side, it has not matched previous records.

I still do not think Trump will win, that there is a strong chance he had never hoped to win the nomination, only to do well, and that he would be horrified if he had to live in the White House. His campaign has been so unusual, consisting of insulting all the Republicans whose support he needs, failing to build a campaign organization, to raise funds (and no, there is absolutely no chance Trump will fund his own campaign — he has never in his life risked a dime if he didn’t think it could turn a profit), and his illusion that a general election will be similar to a Republican primary.

We will see. But I ponder the thought of my young friend giving serious consideration to voting for Trump.


Edgeleft is an occasional column by David McReynolds. Read more articles by McReynolds on The Rag Blog.

[David McReynolds is a former member of the staff of the War Resisters League and has long been active in socialist politics. He is retired, lives with his two cats on the Lower East Side, and can be reached at davidmcreynolds7@gmail.com.]

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8 Responses to David McReynolds :
Donald Trump, the unexpected guest
with my curry

  1. I keep going deeper into the notion neither of the Big Two parties want to actually win. They’re both poised to hit us with what could be World War Last. And even if the US “wins” it will be a huge political liability, it will be very unpopular, and nobody wants to take the blame for it.

    In other words, each party wants the Other in “power” when the airborne faecal matter violently impacts the rotary atmospheric circulation device.

    As for his appeal among those whom the Established Politicos refer (although not loudly now) “the great unwashed”, I grew up in El Paso and Ft Worth. Mostly.

    White and poorly educated groups tend to be really damned bigoted. That I was among that community, went to church with them, went to school with them, etc… doesn’t give me any extra whit of right to call them ignorant. It’s just a fact.

    The anti-Hispanic furor in the mostly Hispanic town of El Paso, every bit as white in nature as the anti-black factions in Ft Worth, Cleburne, Dallas… And Colorado Springs. Up here, one county over, Fremont County, was the first place outside the Confederacy to have a local Klan.

    I know, it’s fear begotten in ignorance. The less literacy = more hate is a time honored traditional algorithm, mostly because it’s the truth. I’ve heard things, racist things, that would frighten me if I were the type to give in to fear. Ignorant and to the point of stupidity, but the people believed them.
    STRONGLY.
    And I, equally strongly, wished and still do that people I would generally think of as salt of the earth, didn’t actually believe that. The first people I met up here were hippies in a neighboring town Manitou Springs. It gave me a false sense of the relative enlightment of El Paso Co. Colorado vs El Paso Co. TX.

    So, yeah, Trump has his legions of doom.

    One neat thing that hangs on Racism… racists are ashamed of their racism if criticized properly. Not so much accuse the offenders of ignorance, but ASK them why exactly they hate.

    It’s a lifetime learning curve and I believe I’ll get better at talking people down, rather than shouting them down. Damn I hope it’ll Timely bring forth fruit . The whole world needs it.

  2. Extremist2TheDHS says:

    Ahhh .. how elitist of Brother Jonah. And to a degree the author too. Only poorly educated racist white trash could possible consider voting for Trump. But I can see why you cling to that position. To admit that Trump has an appeal to educated, race neutral middle class voters is to undermine your whole classist narrative. The would force you to confront the reality of just how wrong you are .. and have always been about grass roots politics.

    As for the claim that its intellectual dishonest to vote for a candidate while also finding many significant faults in him and his positions .. I give you as evidence, the Rag Bloggers. As a collective group you have been voting for and supporting Obama while holding your nose at many of his policies that you find disgusting.

    Get used to the sound of “President Donald Trump” !

  3. Or not. The idea of them being White Supremacists isn’t the same as “white trash” and he does have a lot of support of people who aren’t very bright. He’s lying to them and they’re eating it up with a spoon. And he spews his contempt on them as well, promises to govern with lies. Witness his repetition of how he “fucked” Moammar Gadafi. Meaning, I guess, he gets a sexual thrill from robbing people. And then hiding behind his wealth when it comes to the cops NOT arresting him for Theft By Fraud. I know quite a few people (not trash) who have spent time as guests of the states for defrauding an innkeeper, that’s the way it’s written here.
    Meaning not having the money to pay for their meal or motel room so they skipped out.

    Trump gets away with it because HE is the elitist and has the cops on his payroll. They should watch him very carefully as well, he’ll “fuck” them the same way. A sorry cowardly real estate investor who was born with a silver spoon. Just another Rich Bitch.

    And, by the way, your white supremacist comrades aren’t going to “take america back”. You never owned it in the first place. That won’t change regardless of who is in the White house.

    Oh, and what really hurts the feelings of his mob… we’re allowed to marry their daughters and make brown babies with them. Once you’ve gone brown, you know.

    Not really. I don’t give a damn about who is white or not, the so called caucasians are the most mixed “race” simply by location, they and especially Europeans have been rolled over by back-and-forth wars of conquest for a very long time.

    They believe they’ve conquered America, or say so at least, and turn it around and say they have to take it back? Please.

    Where are you going to put it when you “take” America? It’s really fun to cross the past of an elitist who thinks a poor person like me is an elitist. Have fun with your hate-fest in Cleveland and beyond. Just remember, Whites ain’t any better than anybody else. You’re just people. Like everybody else.

    Trump is a liar and a thief. He tells you in advance he’s going to lie and steal and you still follow him. Too bad.

    By the way, I don’t have my original birth certificate either, and when next I’m confronted by either Minutemen or other representatives of the Klan you’ll not get me to ‘show papers”.

  4. Cross the PATH.
    Donald Chump is only one face of a corrupt and evil system that was in the world since the times of Nimrod. He won’t change anything either by losing or winning an election.

  5. Dude is like Andrew Jackson in a few ways. A thief, who got his fortune with which he was born enhanced with government subsized real estate deals. And The US Gov’t has subsidized ALL the real estate sold here. The Louisiana Purchase, for instance, which Jackson gleefully stole and sold. Bought at Taxpayer expense, even though the King of France and the King of Spain didn’t have a clear title. The Cherokee and other nations did, but weren’t consulted. His disciple David Crockett was “born on a mountaintop in Tennessee” at a time when any Anglos would have been Illegal Aliens because the entire future state of Tennessee was in the holdings of the Muskogee Nations including the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chikashaw, Shawnee, Natchez, Baton Rouge, Choctaw, Kikapu, whole bunch of nations represented. The French and Spanish just sold the whole package, including the people.

    Stolen land, which was subsidized all the way. When the original owners contested the rip-off bastards, the Army used a lot of manpower and money all provided by the Taxpayers to get rid of us.

    Just like Trump. Selling land that he didn’t create, he never picked up a shovel or a hammer himself, never took up the gun to defend “his” property. Too fzzzing delicate, rich bitches can’t be bothered fighting or building the properties themselves, hell, that’s what Peasants like us are for.

    Theft based on earlier thefts and the punk ass elitist bitch says they’ll “take America back”.
    Where are they going to take it? America is two very large continents and really aren’t portable. The guy’s a punk, so what would one call the disciples of a punk?

  6. m’kay. I had an encounter at the Social Security office yesterday, with a Trump Disciple. A little background, I had an industrial accident in 1992 wherein I got really badly messed up in the feet and legs. It was in Texas with the Right To (get fucked up at) Work Law, none of the parties had Workmens Comp but all said they did, the pendejo who thought it would be a smart idea to save a few bucks and not buy a second ladder, just took the one to a second jobsite and have us walking up and down a conveyor belt to get on and off the roof.

    The Trump Disciples call people who have to take “welfare” to survive lazy and people who get injured at work are “Stupid”. Even the lady from Arizona who was there at the Social Security office badmouthing everybody else.

    That’s Trump-o-nomics in action. The SS office has high security, poorly done in fact but that’s another story. It was the impetus of her diatribe.
    So I published this on antiwardotcom and notmytribedotcom yesterday. Hatred and terrorism at the social security office.

    Which I’m putting here verbatim. It’s not Trump himself, it’s his Disciples. He’s a real estate thief, born with a silver spoon from War Industries, and a consummate pedagogue. But it’s his Disciples, may God save us.

    Quote:

    I was there today about my pending SSI. We had a bit of a wait getting in, Security guards were letting in only a few at a time, after enough had left out. When I got in, 5 minutes before my appointment, there were 20 more stacked up at the front door waiting permission to enter. The floor plan was about ten rows of chairs, most of them so close to the ones in front that it is difficult to walk through. There’s three that are wide enough to allow a wheelchair through. All seats facing away from the windows. Metal Detectors. The terrorists (in Washington) have one. One of my fellow sheeple said that Mr Trump was going to end Terrorism by closing all the borders and deporting all Muslims. Said that they were here to get welfare (what happened to “for purposes of killing real Americans”?) here and in Europe. That immigration should have been stopped a long time ago. She was a white woman from Arizona. A litany of pure hatred. No, Donald doesn’t have to make incendiary racial slurs. He himself doesn’t count. His own racism doesn’t count. Because his Disciples are getting far into the hate trip.

    What will happen when (if) he wins and only then finds out he won’t have the power to do half of the stupid shit he promised his Disciples? What if he sincerely doesn’t already know? What would the lunatic mob he’s stirred do when they find out they’re not going to Take America Back.? Where are they going to take it? If they tried to take just North America back to Europe it wouldn’t fit.
    /quote.

    We the Peasants have some post election violence to look forward to, (and that statement ended a preposition with)
    Whether Trump wins is irrelevant, if Killary wins we have the same level of War on Terror hysteria awaiting us.

    It’s not so much that I hate so-called “conservatives” who conserve nothing and spend all the nations resources for centuries to come, a lot of them really ARE ignorant. Some blame the FDR and LBJ New Deal and Great Society but really, a lot of the FOX audience and Trumpistas would not have had running water, far less electricity or television or even telephones if left to the tender mercies of Wall Street.

    The telephone company (there was only one) wasn’t about to string wire to some podunk village in Appalachia or the Ozarks or Cleburne, Texas. Not enough profit. Same with the electric. Same with adequate nutrition or health care so we wouldn’t have an infant death rate that would fit right in with the 1840s and most of those who survived would have rickets or scurvy.

    That’s not opinion, that’s Gods own truth, take it or leave it.

    Maybe that’s what Trump and his Disciples want, and times to which they pledge to take us “back”.

    Scream all you want about the word “ignorant” being applied.

  7. Fast edit. When I mentioned the Terrorists have “one”. Damn.

    I hate when I mess up a bit. It is of course “won” as in: The Rangers never Won a world series in their entire history even when they were the Washington Senators since the end of the Civil War, which was Won by the anti-slavery faction thanks be to God.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What I wonder about is why neither Hillary or the media picked up on Michael Moore’s Trump assessment — he never meant to be The candidate, he was just negotiating with NBC and the situation ran away with him.

    I fear the worst. He will be elected, when the going gets rough, resign, and then we will have Mr. Pence, who exceeds all previous records of scum.

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