How many times can a man turn his head; And pretend that he just doesn’t see? — Bob Dylan
The devastation I felt four years ago, seeing that over sixty million of my fellow Americans were willing to vote for Donald Trump turned out to be entirely justified. And the reality was even worse than I feared. It was apparent early this year that as many people would do so again. I at one time entertained hopes that five to ten million people less would vote for Trump, and boy was I ever wrong Not about the number ten million, but that ten million MORE would vote for Trump. I feel as sick inside now as I did then. No, I’m not giving up on trying to fight back but sometimes when life knocks us down it’s tough to get back up and regain our footing so we can keep marching on.
What has struck me this week is the ugliest thought I’ve ever had towards my country. I could go into a long and detailed litany of the wrongs that have been done by those who would deny basic human rights to others, but I’d like to keep this as simple as possible. What I can’t deny this week is something I have heard (and so has anyone reading this) multiple times in the past few years.
When it comes to those Trump supporters, the ones wearing the hats and other gear, waving their confederate flags (and now “Q” flags too I guess) as well as those even Trump’s people know to try and keep outside (the ones with Nazi flags) it boils down to this:
The cruelty is the point!
At least twenty-five million and probably closer to thirty-five million people are hard core Trump supporters because they WANT the cruelty. They WANT to see “those people” suffer. That’s how you wind up with a lot (a LOT) of people leaving the GOP and registering as Independent (albeit conservative) voters who hope the GOP will regain some sanity, and at least in the suburbs have been willing to consider voting for our folks. We didn’t get as many of them in down ballot races as we did in 2018, but we still got plenty of them at the Presidential level.
However, every single one of them was replaced by NEW Trump Republicans. Because while Trump failed on damned near everything he promised to those rank and file conservatives (the wall, 4k less in their taxes, etc.) he delivered big-time on the thing they absolutely wanted to see. Institutionalized CRUELTY, the kind that gave them cover to increasingly bully and even terrorize others in their shitty lives and communities.
That my friends is how you wind up with Trump not only not getting significantly less votes than he did in 2016, but getting ten million more!
As the GOP makes clear every day their leaders clearly believe they have no chance at having or holding any power without this massive Trump block of voters. They are probably right, although I think their fears are overblown. They do after all have that geographic advantage that gives them a big head start in controlling the Senate so at worst they aren’t likely to go more than a couple of years, or at most four without being able to impose some minority rule on the rest of us. The thing that matters though is that there were before, and remain between thirty-five and forty million Republicans who might detest Trump and his antics, but care more about their right-wing activist judges and Justices, and also their tax cuts and the gutting of regulations. They know all about the signature Trump cruelty and simply refuse to think about it.
How many times can a man turn his head; And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
These thirty million plus people don’t turn away from the cruelty. They LOOK for it. They LOVE it and the more they see the more they want to see and one thing they can count on Trump (and acolytes like Stephen Miller) for is to provide MORE of it. They don’t bother with pretense about not seeing. They increasingly boast about looking at it and asking for more!
Add these truly deplorable people to the remaining Republicans who try to pretend they don’t see, and you get over seventy million voters choosing four more years of Trump.
Biden is right. We are in a battle for the soul of this country and it’s going to be a long, tough and often brutal fight. I for one am in no mood to be forgiving towards ANY Republican who doesn’t regularly denounce this massive element within their Party. Republicans who refuse to stand up for long-standing norms. For our institutions which as we see still rely too much on trust and good will. After Watergate there were reforms that were supposed to prevent another Nixon type situation. Clearly it’s time for another round.
And sure as I’ve written this the bulk of elected Republicans will fight any such reforms tooth and nail.