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The anti-anti-Trump movement gathers steam



Two reports from yesterday suggest things are actually worse in this country than I’d thought. One traced the “anti-anti-Trump” movement. The other showed a group of (mostly white male) protesters at a rally chanting “Russia is our friend.”

The “anti-anti-Trump” movement consists of individuals who feel that Trump must be doing something right every time he gets liberals mad at him.” They display a combination of “the tribal instinct to circle the wagons around President Trump and the sheer glee that comes from seeing how angry he makes liberals.”

Perfectly understandable, I suppose, from the point of view of:

  1. Right wingers who hate “coastal elites” and everything they stand for
  2. Religious extremists who don’t care about the character of their leader as long as the content of his policies comports with their views
  3. White males whose anger at seeing the country become increasingly diversified is inclining them to violence.

The term “sheer glee” points to the game-like quality that motivates these extreme Trump supporters. They see this as some sort of Hunger Games, a dystopian combat in which they get to dress up in military gear, open-carry their assault guns, and in general borrow from the congenial street spirit of Hitler’s Sturmabteilung (S.A.), the brown-shirted paramilitary fighters of the early Nazi regime. These were men who fought for their Nazi ideas (to the extent they had any) but also for the joy of fighting: drawing and shedding blood, and sometimes murdering, gave their otherwise meaningless lives meaning.

The anti-anti Trump movement’s base continues to be talk radio. Their ideological fathers are Pat Buchanan, Joseph McCarthy and George Wallace; their guiding ideology is that “America’s cosmopolitan, deracinated ruling elite ha[s] betrayed the white Christians to whom the country truly belonged.”

Who are the anti-anti-Trumpists, in particular? They are the “self-described supporters of white culture” who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Here’s a map of red and blue counties in the 2016 election; we must assume that all that red stuff is populated by anti-anti-Trumpists.

The Charlottesville demonstrators were the alt.right; they lit torches, Nuremberg-style, for their nighttime parade and repeatedly chanted “Russia is our friend.” What is shocking about this, of course, is that if anyone else was president now—Democrat or Republican—this mob of America Firsters would be denouncing communist Russia, as the right has for the last 70 years. But part of being anti-anti-Trump is that anything his opponents dislike must, by definition, be something they like. This suggests, naturally, that their mental processes are warped: reality has turned upside-down in their minds, something George Orwell anticipated at the end of Animal Farm, when the animals realize “they can no longer distinguish which of the cardplayers are pigs and which are human beings.” The anti-anti-Trumpists similarly no longer care what is good for America and what is bad; all they care about is the “sheer glee” of being perverse.

Things have come to a pretty pass with these related developments. I must assume that the 35%-40% of Trump’s support that continues to remain steady consists of these anti-anti-Trumpists. That’s an awful lot of Americans who may be suffering from some form of mental illness. Given their immunity to reality, there’s probably nothing Trump could do that would cause them to turn against him. Knowing that emboldens Trump; he already shows authoritarian, if not dictatorial, instincts. A more assured Trump may make moves towards dissolving the free press, and indeed he is likely to move against any person or institution he sees as his enemy—which is a lot of people and institutions. And given the willful impotence of Republicans in Congress, there may be nothing to stand between the continued existence of our liberal democracy and a Trump triumph that could destroy it.

So take another look at the county map I posted above. Trump is said to keep a copy of it on his Oval Office desk, to remind him that no matter how much the “media elites” attack him, he’s still beloved by “the people.” All that red represents a lot of pissed off white Americans; they have guns, and they should scare the hell out of you.


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