Communique 8-30-2020 "Dystopian Me"
By Philip Drucker
Winning elections is about building coalitions. Bringing together large groups of voters who are demographically similar. It might be the age, gender, background, religion, but in all these broad categories of persons who identify together (identity politics), it is the job of the candidate to find what issues are important to these groups and proceed to promise them whatever it is they want.
Seems easy in one way. It’s not hard to figure out persons over 65 like their Medicare, Social Security, lower drug prices and yelling at passing clouds every now and then. The difficulty arises when trying to court two different tribes with diametrically opposite views on issues (issue politics) that in most cases you and the candidate on the other side have publicly stated your positions that also happen to be 180 degrees from one another. Starting to get a bit more complicated? There’s more.
So, how did Trump win in 2016? The short answer is regardless of the popular vote or the electoral college, he built a winning coalition of constituents who despite their many obviously found a way to “live” with the views of their newfound political allies. I know what you are thinking.
How did Trump get suburban female voters to vote for the same guy who David Duke endorsed publicly? That would be the economy, stupid. The housewives of Hoboken thought Trump would be better on economic issues and took a chance that somehow economic prosperity and racism could live together side by side in perfect harmony. Comes out of course they can’t. But, this was not the first nor will it be the last time voters try to “thread the needle” and literally, and I do mean literally, vote for an outcome that even when based on objectively and genuine information speaking to the contrary, fraud, bankruptcy, they pull the lever on the illusion of their choice.
That’s right I said illusion. For no longer is the chance of your vision for the future likely to happen. You have cast your lot for the best-case scenario and in some instances a tomorrow of sunshine, hummingbirds, AK47s and something just short of utopia, which for the record also doesn’t exist. This phenomenon is common and often triggered by nothing more than a momentary lapse of reason, or perhaps a temporary lack of moral clarity and judgment. Maybe times are tough and you got to do what you got to do.
Think of Hillary and the coal miners. You are down, almost out and are looking for a helping hand. Say you are not too crazy about Trump the New Yorker who has been fined and sued as a landlord for any number of blatant and easily discoverable acts of racially motivated rental practices. Yet, Hillary wants me to be a coder or something like that. While, Trump digs coal, or at least his signs say that. So, you vote for him. Never mind there is no longer any demand for coal so his promise to bring back the coal industry is DOA. Even Donald J. Trump can’t sell what no one wants to buy. Or can he?
He can’t. But, when it comes to politics, there is a third type of voter we saw in abundance in 2016. I call them the “what some people call hell we call home” voting contingent. In the interest of full transparency. I also call these poor misguided souls bloc-heads, as in, who in their right mind volunteers to live in a dystopian nightmare? But they do and here’s why.
We know from legitimate studies of mankind over the centuries now, there are two additional and very big picture archetypes of voters. Those who are afraid, and vote at least partially out of fear, and those who are not and do not. Fear? Of what? My number one answer is change. Any change at all is perceived as a negative, is threatening and yes, scary. This league of voters likes a candidate that shares their vision of a world waiting to explode into microscopic tiny itty bitty little pieces. Every time something familiar is perceived as under assault, or cancelled, it is yet another square of cloth being ripped from the fabric of a security blanket made of memories, some real, some imagined.
If there is one thing Trump does seem to understand better than anyone else, it is the value of bringing the specter of a dystopian future right to these punters front door and onto their television sets that are tuned to the Dystopian Channel (aka Faux) 24-7. For these voters/viewers, or at least in their living rooms and bunkers, their mirage of misery is very much real, alive, and is coming sooner than you think to a suburb, if not yours, near you.
These are the plebes we need to watch for. The ones who every time there is a protest see looting and riots. The ones who would rather send their kids out in the middle of the night are with an assault rifle to “help” with the wicked, evil, unlawful, Un-Americans who dare try to employ their First Amendment Rights to Free Speech on the public streets of Kenosha, WI. For all they see is middle America under siege and on fire. Trump knows this and, get this, he is more than willing to exploit these fears if it will help him get re-elected.
The more America looks like a war-torn battle zone the better. That’s why Trump puts unidentified “soldiers” on the ground. That’s why he needs the Proud Boys and the “militias” of hatred roaming the streets and flooding the airwaves with propaganda aimed at blaming everyone for the chaos except the good pale people of Amerika. Why, they just want things to stay the same, right?
That would make anyone for whatever reason, social or economic justice, reform of our criminal system, or the elimination of systemic racism an agitator, ingrate, progressive, liberal, socialist, communist, anything but a “good person” who admires late term predatory capitalism for all the inequities and unnecessary pain and suffering it bestows upon our now strained if not ravaged economy.
30 million out of work? No problem, they’re lazy. The deficit spinning out of control? Deficits don’t count, at least not when we run them up. The market is up, the Dow is down, manufacturing and consumer confidence? Meh, numbers, just numbers for the bean counters and gardeners. Don’t want to get caught up in the weeds don’t you know?
These are the people who we can tell over and over their house is on fire and the fire department is a function of socialism, but still, they won’t listen and they won’t leave. Because in their country, their state, their city or town, is where the real America is and where the real Americans are. And it’s all right there, on the TV set, all the hatred all the time for all to see. And they believe it. They believe in it and in him. The one who tells them they’re right to be scared. They are right to be afraid and of course, only he can fix it.
He can’t and they don’t care. You know why? They don’t want it fixed. For whatever it looks like to us outside the bubble, it’s comfy in there. Little misguided hearts and minds warmed by the dual flames of hatred and intolerance and when necessary, fueled by throwing yet another ethnic group or infidel onto the fire. Always room for one more, shrimp, or perhaps Trump ruby red meat steak on the Barbie, right?
Is all lost? The answer is no. Sometimes the price of living in someone else’s nightmare is just too damn high. In our case losing our democracy and hence our American way of life. High enough for you? When it comes to the November 3, 2020 election, most of us see a vote for Trump as a vote for a tyrannical, out-of-touch, in over his head and hence incompetent from the word go, crook, liar, cheater, adulterer, racist, sexist, homophobic, religiously intolerant orange buffoon with a ridiculously bad haircut I wouldn’t wish upon my least favorite next door neighbor’s cat.
And you know what? You are right, or, at least you know he is what he is and no amount of bumbling, blundering or bluster in the name of the Lord or otherwise will change that. That’s why they love him. That’s why we despise him. Two separate demographics that ne’er shall cross.
But here’s the deal. While they continue to hope for the worst, can we hope for the best? Can we go out and register new voters and pledge to GOTV as in get out the vote like we have never done before? Will this strategy carry the day and with it us into a new society? A great society predicated on the elimination of discrimination and the eradication of poverty? Are there more of us than there are of them? I believe so. How about you?