In less than six months’ time, Donald J. Trump, the racist billionaire, has achieved what six decades of liberal discourse–from Noam Chomsky to Bill Maher–sought and failed to accomplish: he has revealed to the general public the foundational deplorability of the American conservative ideology. Praise be unto him. By openly embodying the worst aspects of his nominal party’s belief system, its classism and xenophobia and bunk economics, Mr. Trump has inadvertently made explicit what the linguistics of right-wing demagoguery have long worked to keep subliminal. Myopia. Fear mongering. Absolutism. After literal centuries of partisan stalemate, Trump has become the ultimate self-arming weapon, a Trojan horse in the war between right and left, and the modern GOP has been made to look a laughingstock. It now seems unlikely that a Republican president will darken the halls of the White House anytime in the near future, all thanks to Donald Trump. For this crucial cultural service, he is to be commended. May history kiss his boot bottoms.
Since announcing his candidacy at Trump Tower, in June, Mr. Trump has mounted, again unintentionally, perhaps the most symbolically mineable Presidential bid in history. A real estate mogul turned reality star, Trump was uniquely qualified to demonstrate the impotency of the political establishment in the face of America’s two most influential commodities: wealth and celebrity. Unlike his fellow Republican candidates–and nearly all Democratic ones, for that matter–Mr. Trump approached a political campaign in the most apolitical fashion, by being purely, unapologetically himself. That self was hateful, misogynistic, and borderline psychotic, but it also represented the lone platform (Bernie’s included, see: guns) that didn’t seem to pander for the sake of being elected. The fact that Trump’s “strategy” of nationalist peddling succeeded says a lot about the lack of American social progress, more about the dearth of honesty in politics. Is an honestly backwards candidate any worse than a falsely progressive one? If the American public has to choose between the Scylla and Charybdis of Trump and Clinton, this will be the presiding question. It’s a vital question, with vast implications, and it doesn’t get asked without Donald J. Trump.
In 2015’s political climate, Hillary Clinton is a progressive the way Barney was a dinosaur: she may resemble a jurassic lizard in superficial ways, but beneath her garish costume there’s a man singing empty songs to children. As a figurative foil for Trump, Clinton functions perfectly, but that shouldn’t make her presidency any more attractive in reality, especially for the few thinking people left in this gutter society. Where Trump represents an impossible return to a phantasmic white America that never existed, Clinton portends a realer, no less frightening future, a continuation of the current unequal regime, one that propagates economic and racial inequality while claiming to combat them. In truth, Clinton and Trump are two halves of a novelty coin–despite their supposed differences, whatever side it lands on will result in a strikingly similar, frustratingly stagnant America. But whereas Clinton’s dark cloud looms with no discernible silver lining, Trump’s surprisingly does. His campaign suggests that Americans could stop flipping that rigged coin. For all the hope in humanity that Donald Trump destroys, there is political hope to be found in that possibility.
According to the most recent CNN-ORC poll, Trump currently maintains the support of 36% of registered Republican voters nationally, a more than 20% lead on his next closest competitor, the Canadian sociopath Ted Cruz. On the surface, these numbers are heartbreaking–the idea that Trump or Cruz could command more than 1% of the vote, in 2015, shows how spiritually and intellectually broken the American character truly is. Hidden within these statistics, however, is a valuable social tool, instrumental in maximizing one’s quality of life. For humanists of previous generations, identifying a crypto-fascist was an extremely difficult task, an undertaking potentially months or years in the making. Anyone could be one, and outside of a bumper sticker, you’d have no way of knowing. Thankfully, the advent of social media has corrected this ill. Today, a single click of the mouse is all that separates one from the poisonous knowledge that someone publicly supports Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. In the past, there’s no telling how far a relationship with these maniacs could have progressed. Friendship. Marriage. Murder-suicide. That is no longer an issue. On Monday, Trump’s campaign posted a press release on his website calling for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Nearly eighty thousand people liked the post on Facebook, and that’s eighty thousand Islamaphobic idiots you can avoid for the rest of your life. How isn’t that a public service?
To make America great again, one must first make three essential concessions: first, that the country is not currently great; second, that it once was great; and third, that this former greatness can be restored. If you’d asked the most radical leftist thinker how to deliver America unto greatness, he or she would have likely suggested a usurpation of power from the political right. On a subconscious level, it is possible–improbable but possible–that Donald Trump agrees with this rationale. Underneath all his bluster and vitriol, there may be a repentant old man who’s guilty over the damage his good fortune has done to his country, an actual human being who recognizes how his individual comforts have derived from mass suffering, most of it of his own making. It’s awful to think, considering the bounteous gifts he’s given to American democracy, that Mr. Trump is nothing more than the subhuman he appears to be. He set out with the loftiest of goals, to make America great again, and he might just do it despite himself: by systematically dismantling the one party that subverts America’s greatness.