Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history

Summary: Every election gives us the opportunity to shape America. We do not choose the specific national policies of the next four years, since Presidents often don’t do what they promised. Rather we give a nudge to the evolution of America; we influencing what we become. Those who vote make that decision. The choices, however unappealing, are unusually clear in 2016.

On September 22 Donald Trump attended at 45-minute long rally at Rochester, New Hampshire, speaking to about 3,000 people. Anyone who believes America is not in serious trouble should read these remarks as reported by The Hill.

“We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one — you know he’s not even an American. But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question, when can we get rid of them?”

Trump responded: “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things, a lot of people are saying bad things are happening, we’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

A second man stood and made the same claim. “I applaud the gentleman who stood and said Obama is a Muslim born abroad and about the military camps, everyone knows that,” he said.

“Right,” Trump responded, before quickly moving to the next questioner.

… {A woman in the audience} told him that there is a “new holocaust” in New Hampshire and that people are being loaded into boxcars and beheaded by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “I just wanted you to know that,” the woman said. Trump moved on without addressing the woman’s claim.

The remarks from the people are unexceptional; every society has people on the fringes with such views. Hatred of people different from ourselves is a sad but widespread phenomenon around the world and across history. It is an endemic “disease” that has errupted again in America, as reported by the NYT: “New Poll Finds Anti-Muslim Sentiment Frighteningly High“.


What should disturb us is that the leading Republican Presidential candidate accepts such views. Here we see him exploit ethnic and religious hatred of a small minority. But that’s nothing unusual in US history. Trump also proudly supports the “birthers”, still questioning if Obama was born in the US (although in 2011 Trump took credit for release of Obama’s birth certificate).

We can only guess at the reasons for Trump’s behavior. Cowardliness, afraid of the consequences of attacking the far right? Or worse, perhaps he shares such views. It does not matter. What should set off alarms is that tens of millions of citizens support this man, showing that the rot has grown deep in America. These people want to drag America back to the dark days of its past, away from the incredible potential of the 21st century.

That millions support Ben Carson, whose views are as or even more extreme than Trumps, provides confirming evidence that we’re in trouble. Fixing it will only grow more difficult the longer we wait to confront these people.

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In tough times this political sickness could metastasize, assuming a more virulent form and spreading rapidly through America. If these people find a competent leader, not a clown like Trump, the Republic itself might be in danger.

We are the crew of America, responsible for its operation —  not passengers who criticize its cuisine and maintenance. There are a thousand things we can do to reform America’s politics. At least, there are today. That window might not remain open for long. Time often inexorably closes paths to the future, narrowing our options so that those that remain are choices among ugly endings.

Other posts about the Right’s revolt

  1. The Donald Trump revolution, dismissed as all revolts are in the beginning.
  2. The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
  3. Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
  4. A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader.
  5. Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson.

For More Information

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13 thoughts on “Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history”

  1. Trump’s support is finally beginning to show signs of decay as tens of thousands (should be tens of millions, but I will settle for a start) are finally beginning to actually look beyond the one-liners (which are delivered with panache) and see the weakness of Trump’s policies.

    Ben Carson has primarily gained his position using the novelty of being a black highly educated male spouting a kinder, gentler (for now), more extreme right-wing extremism. His best hope is to stay out of first place to avoid what is happening to Trump and secure the VP nomination.

    Meanwhile Jeb is reminding us of ALL of the disadvantages of having a Bush in the White House and Hillary, Bill, and Monica are taking turns reminding us of most of the disadvantages of having a Clinton in the White House.

    This election cycle is setting itself up to make us wish fondly for the days of the Bush/Gore struggle of 2000 when both candidates were obviously unfit for the job but had effective political machines to ensure that one of them would gain a majority of the vote.

    The fact that Gore won the vote but lost the election adds to the irony of the above statement but does not make it untrue (Gore lost the election because he lost the initiative in the post-election maneuvering which indicates that he would have been a terrible president, just, perhaps, not as terrible as George Bush).

  2. There’s a lot to fear from a Trump victory. My biggest is that Trump will likely balance the federal budget exactly the wrong way at exactly the wrong time. He will be Herbert Hoover much more than FDR. Hoover also won because he looked like he knew how to run a tight ship. Many Trump supporters believe we need some tough love in fiscal policy. This could be a disaster.

    1. Peter,

      I agree that a Trump victory would be scary. It is, imo, almost impossible. He has minority approval in the minority party (in terms of national, i.e., presidential) elections.

      As in this post, I worry about Trump as a symptom of a deeper “illness”, and where we’ll be in 5 or 10 years if this is not cured.

  3. “That’s my question, when can we get rid of them?”

    Talk of genoicide, open discussion of actually doing the deed, is spreading into the mainstream. Poor Americans, scared of the ‘evil Muslims’ by the media, and now they want to kill, kill, kill. That’s the answer, they think.

    It’s the war. The logic of war and killing, has spreads to the police and their treatment of blacks, has spread to racist attitudes against Arabs, has justified a surveilance empire. It’s a cancer –nothing can get better until we stop the wars.

    1. Cathryn,

      I agree that the war is a primary driver of this. Wars unleash our dark side. See my posts about bloodlust, one way to describe this.

      But I suspect we should look deeper. Why do we have this mad war? It is, I suspect, a manifestation or result of deeper things at work in the US polity. The war has been good for many special interests. The big questions: how has it affected the Deep State, and the 1%?

  4. I think the fact that we’re still over a year away from the election should not be overlooked. I believe it’s insane for the average person to put any serious consideration into which of these candidates they intend to vote for this far in advance.

    Trump seems to be guided by the age old “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” adage, which does indeed tend to hold true in show business. I posit that at this time, 13 months in advance, most/many people are actually treating it as show business, and nothing more serious than that. If he is still the front-runner next, say, June… that would indeed justify a massive freak-out by anyone that cares about the country.

    1. Buzz,

      I agree, that’s a useful perspective. The odds of him being a front-runner in June 2016 seems microscopic. But even seen in terms of affinity — rather than political choice — the large following of Trump imo signals something wrong in America. He’s tapped an ugly current in America, which seems to be growing. What size and shape will these right-wing extremists take in 2020? What happens if we have hard times, and they find a competent leader?

      Complacency about this — it’s not now a majority! — seems unwise. How much will this grow before we worry, and act? It’s not the way doctors treat tumors.

  5. I think that Trump, unlike McCaine, simply chickened out. He seemed obviously unhappy with the way the questions were going. At the risk of being seen as a Trump supporter, he has turned the spotlight on 3 things: 1) The bought-and-paid-for political system (“You’d better believe it”). 2) our insane foreign policy (exceptionalism, tacit support of ISIS and AQ). Trump is willing to give Russia a crack at ISIS. 3) our unpatriotic business class (high immigration. H1B. Outsourcing. Hedge fund leaders making 1M per hour).
    He’s certainly not above crude racial appeals. He is somewhat like the German tycoon Hugenberg who was a kind of forerunner for Hitler.

    1. SocialBill,

      I don’t understand how Trump “chickened out”.

      But I agree about the rest. Outsider candidates must appeal to issues that the ruling elites ignore or actively suppress. Extreme leaders get mild reformers to support them while tut-tutting about their excesses. This seldom if ever ends well for the nice well-meaning reformers, who of course blame others for the consequences of their blind support for such leaders.

  6. Thevoiceofthemartyrs

    The real problem here is that Islamic doctrine is inherently more friendly to war and genocide than other religions. Why are there no Islamic democracies? It’s because there is no concept of separation of religion and state as there is inCheistianity and he west. So yes, Islam is a problem, just as fascism and communism were problems last century.

    1. Voice,

      “The real problem here is that Islamic doctrine is inherently more friendly to war and genocide than other religions.”

      Absurd. Islamic societies (they’re are quite a range of them) are beginners at war & violence compared to the West. Our death toll from just WWI & WII will take some effort to overcome. In fact, the history of the West is quite bloody. I would like to see a comparison of war & violence by religion. I doubt it would support your confident conclusion.

      “Why are there no Islamic democracies? It’s because there is no concept of separation of religion and state as there is in Cheistianity and he west.”

      That’s an interesting speculation. Stating it as a fact is confusing theory and fact. Democracies have become widespread in the west only during the past 2 centuries, and especially after WWI. Not long enough to draw such broad conclusions.

  7. FM answers his own question, I think, when he remarks: “The war has been good for many special interests. The big questions: how has it affected the Deep State, and the 1%?”
    When a society embarks upon a policy of endless war everywhere in the world (135 countries and counting, according to the latest TomDispatch article), the society necessarily becomes militarized. This affects not just surface issues like spending, but the entire mindset of the culture. In a society of Forever War, everything turns into war — in a garrison state operating under undeclared martial law, every activity becomes modeled on a military mindset, and so naturally the citizens turn gradually into combatants with an if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-the-enemy fanaticism. Soon, anyone with a different skin color or a different political opinion comes under official DHS suspicion (this has already happened with the Occupy protests, which DoD classifies as “terrorism”). Paranoia skyrockets. “Extraordinary rendition” and warrantless surveillance spread like wildfire. Eventually, even white people with the wrong eye color become subject to pogroms.

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