Trump: A Feature, Not A Bug

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Rick Perlstein notes notwithstanding the tendency of historians to paint the conservative movement in pastel colors, Trump-style bigotry and hate has always been a pretty generous side if not main course:

The professional guardians of America’s past, in short, had made a mistake. We advanced a narrative of the American right that was far too constricted to anticipate the rise of a man like Trump.

A few historians have provocatively followed a different intellectual path, avoiding both the bloodlessness of the new social historians and the psychologizing condescension of the old Hofstadter school. Foremost among them is Leo Ribuffo, a professor at George Washington University… Ribuffo argued that America’s anti-liberal traditions were far more deeply rooted in the past, and far angrier, than most historians would acknowledge, citing a long list of examples from “regional suspicions of various metropolitan centers and the snobs who lived there” to “white racism institutionalized in slavery and segregation.”

Saint Ronaldus himself, despite his alleged geniality, wasn’t above rhetorical if not actual calls for bloodbaths; if I remember right, he also had a callous, tone-deaf reaction to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Trump is the merely the distilled essence…the preferred flavor for, goddamn, people who I guess thought George W. Bush was OK, but a little too sophisticated and nuanced. They fervently believe Trump will crack skulls, or at the very least, speak for and to those who’ve decided that what is fundamental — in more ways than one — is “hating liberals, hating Obama, hating abortion and hating same-sex marriage.” And a hating lot of other things.

Fortunately for us, Trump will likely disappoint them. Aside from turning the executive branch into grifter’s paradise for the .01 percent, the administration can’t organize an Easter Egg roll. But…they can still do significant damage…so they still need to be opposed, not ignored and not appeased.

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