For the last several years the population of the United States has become more entrenched in the camps they are involved in. There are three groups of people out there:
– The ones convinced that Party X is working in their favor and correct, and Party Y is wrong. These people have become bitter and acerbic. They’ve dug their trenches and fortified their position and almost nothing will cause them to abandon their post. The best we can hope for is that life experience will show them that no part of the political engine has their interests purely at heart. The role and job of political parties is to work to get politicians elected, and then see to it that their friends are rewarded. This has been the case since people had a say in their leaders. (Before that, the permanent class of leaders just chose which friends to benefit.) I say this not out of cynicism, but mere fact. The national parties have an agenda, and they have allies, and they’re blatant about it. (Recall when George W. Bush nominated an unqualified friend to the Supreme Court, and the backlash that caused).
This stance can be seen reflected in many areas of dramatic discourse: pretty much any internet fight that blows up comes about because of two (or more) groups of people firmly married to their ideas. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but trying to convince someone they are wrong or get them to change their mind when they are this dedicated is an exercise in futility. There is no need to discuss guns with an ardent supporter of gun control. The facts are out there, and if they can’t see them yet, then they will just have to come to the truth of their own accord (or not, as most cases will be). These people tend to have their own language and a few magic words. Once these magic words are hurled at a person, that person is no longer worthy of their consideration: “racist” is the oldest, and now one of the least powerful because it has been used like a set of tires with a million miles on them. There is no tread left. “Sexist” is another, as is “gun nut”, as is “gamergater”, as is… the list goes on and on.
These are people who have their ideas, and they don’t want to change them.
– The second group are the people who just don’t care, and they won’t. They can almost be lumped in with the above. Nothing that is said to them will convince them to pay attention. The issues won’t ever impact them and they have a sort of ignorance about the world around them. They pretty much just want to be left alone, although more than a few of them will have a healthy dose of suspicion for politicians.– The final group are those that are just plain angry. These are outsiders, people not necessarily interested in loyalty to a political party. They’re tired of feeling like the government, an overbearing presence if there ever was one, is only interested in their lives when it can benefit from their sweat and tears. People who are sick of, for example, the IRS and its power. People who recognize that the tax code and distribution of federal moneys is not in their best interest: the money is either going to vote buying redistribution schemes, or to the fat cats that huddle up with the politicians between elections. The bank bailout is a great example of both.
People started the Tea Party, initially, out of an anger over taxation. That’s why they named it what they did. Since, it has taken hold with a lot of social conservatism (something I don’t really bother with, myself, but I’m starting to see that as we allow it to fade from our public consciousness, the greivance mongers are taking over), but the origin is pretty well and simple: Less taxation, less government.
Joe the Plumber became a fixture because he was a representative of the Everyman, at least in the narrative crafted around him. The man was seen as a hardworking blue collar type sick of the government hand in his pocket. This resonated because people who pay taxes are damn tired of that feeling. Younger people paying taxes are also becoming more jaded over the social security withholding that they’ll never see. Joe the Plumber also represented the American Dream: A guy who worked for himself and had made it enough to scrape by without help. A successful, small business running Everyman who just wanted the government to stop nickel and diming him to death.
Donald Trump’s popularity comes from the same place. Despite his serious lack of conservative bonafides, the man says things people either like, or can at least respect. He comes across as bold and fearless and that’s something a lot of Americans want — especially after eight years of a guy many see as pretty much a chickenshit (bowing to Saudi royalty, per example). The man doesn’t seem to give one iota of a care about whether or not the media or the political class likes him and that resonates with a glass shattering amount of power with the people who feel like the machine is running against them.
The Republican Party and the media both seem to be out to get Trump, whether or not that is the case. That makes him even more popular because the people who are supporting him don’t particularly care for either. A growing number of Americans are dissatisfied with the media and their portrayal of… well, average Americans. There is a weariness when it comes to party elites. This has increased since 2014 when people voted Republicans back in control of the Senate and the leadership has been an absolute and determined failure. Not only are they unable to do many things they promised, but they have actively acted against those interests they promised to protect.
Myself, I still don’t trust Trump on many issues. But I’m not so stupid as to not see what people like about him. When he takes a shot at people like Rosie O’Donnel, a rabid pitbull of ignorance (“fire can’t melt steel” — so, we just… find steel in all those shapes), people enjoy that. When he takes a shot at the Elite’s chosen like Jeb Bush, people enjoy that.
A lot of snobbery also exists about those who want smaller government, or at least less government interference. The other day some bozo was claiming Bobby Jindal was a hypocrite for accepting Katrina relief money while campaigning for less government. Well, this isn’t a black and white issue and most people don’t want anarchy. But the Everyman, the person tired of the government, likely feels that there is too much government where there should be less, and too little where there should be more. It isn’t that government exists, it’s that the TSA is a real pain in people’s behinds, the IRS is scary — we’re supposed to do complicated math to figure out how much we owe, but if we make a mistake (or if the IRS tells us the wrong thing), then we face penalties up to and including jail time. That’s foolish and stupid.
Then we see people like Lerner get a fat government pension after using her government power to target citizens, and the IRS loses e-mails Congress wants to see, and we know that if we tried any of that sort of nonsense we’d end up in prison. If you lose paperwork the IRS wants then you are at their mercy.
Nobody likes a bully, and Big Government, Big Politics, and Big Media are seen as bullies. People love the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie knocks the ever-loving piss out of Scut Farkus. That’s how a lot of people, the ones who feel disenfranchised, feel about Trump: he’s had enough and he’s beating the bully to a pulp.
Is it true? Maybe. But hey: all the other politicans have lied to Everyman, too. At least this one is being an attack dog against all the right people. When all of “the Usual Suspects” hate a person that only gives them more credibility with the Everyman. Trump has pretty much managed to draw the ire of everyone still in the game that the general, angry, disenfranchised voter is fucking tired of. This bed with Trump sheets, a Trump blanket, and Trump pillowcases was made by the Republican Party and the media. Now they get to sleep in it (of course the media loves it because he’s a story a minute, but these are the same psychotic dillweeds that spent every waking moment talkin about a missing intern up until the first plane hit the tower).
In the end, I don’t think Trump is going to be the nominee. But a lot of people are damaging themselves trying to stop him. Even though I don’t trust him, I am enjoying seeing him cost his enemies their political and actual capital in a fight. People are having to spend money to fight against his popularity, people are staking their credibility… it’s great, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. His mouth is going to get him into more trouble soon, though, because he’s emboldened by each victory. Eventually he’ll wear himself down in the eyes of the public.
But until then we all get to enjoy the stuttering, dumb-founded reactions of the snobs: “Y-you can’t say THAT!”