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From a Whisper to a Shout

So our malignant clown of a president recently commandeered a couple of television networks and, to no one’s surprise, proceeded to spew lies, racist innuendo, and bizarre conspiracy theories — all in the service of appeasing his base and making a final, desperate gambit to get his idiotic wall on the Mexican border constructed. 

And just today, he stormed out of a meeting when it became clear that Democrats had not inexplicably come around to his xenophobic worldview, stomping out like a belligerent toddler who has been denied playtime at Chuck E. Cheese.

Note: I have been saying since 2016, and will continue to say, that no damn wall is ever going to be built — as in never.

In any case, while Trump is prone to exaggeration and mendacity on a level never before seen in a chief executive, he does often tell the truth — usually when revealing his sincere, horrific opinions about “very fine people” who happen to be Nazis and his distaste for individuals who come from “shithole countries.” Oh, he’s also being honest about his feelings when he denigrates women and/or ethnic minorities via Twitter.

But Trump’s supporters have now one-upped the president by speaking the truth — at least their sick, twisted version of it.

You see, the New York Times recently profiled a Trump supporter in Florida, a woman whose fragile livelihood has been threatened by the president’s moronic shutdown. In between expressing shock that Trump might not have her best interests at heart, she also issued this truly intriguing quote:

“He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

As others have pointed out, this Trump supporter has let the truth slip out, which is that “one aim of the Trump administration is to hurt people — the right people. Making America great again … involves inflicting pain.”

And as we should know by now, “this is not an accident. Trump’s political victory and continuing appeal depend on a brand of politics that marginalizes and targets groups disliked by his supporters.”

So just who are these people who Donald Trump “needs” to be hurting? I imagine a brief list, in rough order, goes something like this:








Transgender people

“Uppity” women




East Coasters

West Coasters


The college educated

Never Trumper Republicans

Anyone who likes kale


Of course, I’m probably missing a few, and the exact order may vary with some Trump supporters, and there may be some overlap in those categories, but you get the gist. In essence, conservatives have a long list of targets, people who are not “real Americans,” who not only deserve pain, but actively need to be hurt. They require a beat-down, whether literal or figurative, because … well, why again?

Because their values are weird?

Because they are not sufficiently respectful of white, Christian, straight America?

Because they have dared to question the mighty leader?

Yes to all of that. But the chief reason is because people like the Trump supporter in Florida — people whose lives are often a mess — see no relief in sight. The GOP has no interest in helping anyone other than their billionaire donors. So the only way a struggling working-class conservative can feel better about herself is to drag others down, to make others suffer, to make all those smug liberals pay. Because it has to be their fault, right?

Or maybe Trump, through his embrace of sociopathic deviance, just attracts people who love to hurt others.

Keep in mind that “the cruelty of the Trump administration’s policies, and the ritual rhetorical flaying of his targets before his supporters, are intimately connected.” For his most ardent supporters, it is not an unpleasant distraction that Trump maligns and mocks the vulnerable. It is a selling point. The president’s “particular brand of identity politics — the racist attacks on blacks and Latinos, the Muslim ban, his cruel treatment of women — similarly depends on negative rather than positive appeals” and “is the dark heart of our political moment.” It is, more or less, “what makes Trumpism work.”

We can assume, therefore, that Trump’s campaign slogan in 2020 will be the following: 

“This time, he’ll hurt the people who need to be hurt.”

Kind of catchy, don’t you think?


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