Business leaders demanded that Trump be removed from office immediately under the 25th Amendment. Members of Congress clamored to impeach him, and at least one Democrat suggested that anyone in Congress who supported his claims of election fraud must be expelled. Meanwhile, the media set about denouncing Trump as a terrorist and a murderer, etc.
Notice a theme? The reaction was all about Donald Trump. The people in charge of every institution in American life spend all day talking about Donald Trump. You may not have noticed, because that's not very different from any other day over the past five-and-a-half years since he announced his candidacy.
It has been all about Donald Trump all of the time. And the effect on us has been noticeable. We've gone from being this big, sprawling country with an enormous span of concerns and interests to a kind of sweaty, airless chat room of 330 million people, all of whom are simultaneously focused with monomaniacal intensity on a single man. That is not healthy, no matter how you feel about Trump.
Is any president worth all of this time and attention? All politicians come with a shelf life. In Trump's case, the expiration date arrives in 13 days.
Just for a moment, let's think about what life will be like next month. Two weeks from Thursday, Donald Trump will no longer be in control of our nuclear arsenal. He will not have command of federal agencies or even, most likely, his own Twitter account.
The rest of us, and this is key, will still be here. We've got nowhere to go. So what is life going to be like for us on Jan. 20? Not many people seem to be thinking about that, up to and including the people we pay to think about it. Donald Trump thinks almost exclusively about Donald Trump, but so does almost every single Democrat and Republican in the Congress. Who's got your concerns top of mind? Who wakes up in the middle of the night worried about your family? As far as we can tell, no one.
That's the main thing we need to change. It won't be easy, but the themes are pretty clear. Here are the basics: The point of the Republican Party is not to protect the personal reputations of its leaders, but its voters. In practice, that means protecting the Bill of Rights, the bedrock promises of American life. Without them, you wouldn't want to live here. Those freedoms are incalculably more important than any single politician.
Donald Trump could become immortal and win the next 40 presidential elections and his daughter the next 40 after that. But if America becomes a place where you have to violate your own conscience in order to hold a job, you're not allowed to protect your family from mob violence and your children can't afford to get married and raise your grandchildren because employers don't like their skin color, then what's the point of all of it? There is none. No one wants to live in a place like that or should have to, no matter who the president is.
We should be very concerned about all of this right now. Wednesday's riot is already being used as a pretext for an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties. Just in the last several hours, we have heard people in positions of power demand that those who support Donald Trump should no longer be allowed to publish books or use the Internet or fly on airplanes. Driving cars, holding jobs and staying in hotels will certainly be next and we're barely exaggerating.
To justify these mind-bending, terrifyingly un-American demands, they are, as usual, relying on lies and hysteria. What happened Wednesday wasn't simply a political protest getting out of hand after the president recklessly encouraged it (Which is, you know, what actually happened). Instead, they're calling it domestic terrorism and, needless to say, White supremacy.
Why are they doing that? Simple. They know that if they keep saying it, history will record it as true. They understand the power of language, and that's why they try to control it. They know that words have consequences. This is scary, and the party that should be stepping in to stop it, to push back, to tell the truth in the face of lies and to protect its voters from this deception and the destruction that inevitably comes next, does nothing. Often, in fact, they join in.
With bodyguards like this, tens of millions of Americans have no chance. They're about to be crushed by the ascendant left, the people who say, “Well, I don't think they should be allowed to fly on airplanes.”
Why is no one defending them? The main problem, and this really is the main problem on the right, is that the people who run the Republican Party don't really like their own voters. They especially don't want the voters that Trump brought. Trump brought a noticeably downscale element to the party's ranks, and this horrifies them.
Many Republicans in Washington now despise the people they're supposed to represent and protect. In fact, it's not just Republican leaders who feel this way, but our entire leadership class. You rarely hear it spoken out loud, but it's the truth.
A very specific form of internal loathing is at the core of the reaction to Donald Trump. Nothing is more repulsive to socially anxious White professionals than working class people who look like them. The proles are their single greatest fear. They remind them of where they may have come from or where they could be going if things turn south.
So if you want to understand the hatred — not just disagreement, but gut-level loathing and fear of Trump in, say, New York or Washington or Los Angeles — you've got to understand that first. It's not really Trump, it's his voters. The new money class despises them.
Trump didn't despise them, and that really was his secret. In the end, Donald Trump did not judge his own voters. Trump ate McDonald's and his voters were very grateful for it. You'd be grateful for it, too, if everyone else hated you.
Thirteen days from now, tens of millions of these voters will not have Donald Trump to protect them. They won't have anyone. And unless the Republican Party decides to wake up and push back against the lies and acknowledge the purpose of those lies, which is an unprecedented crackdown on the way you live, you have no chance, either.
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