Why is Trump our Bizarro President?
Critics of President Trump — including many respectable conservatives — have tortured the thesaurus for adjectives powerful enough to describe his dangerously inept handling of the coronavirus pandemic, blurted babble of misinformation, misdirection, self-pity and aggrandizement, and historic failure of national leadership let alone basic human sense of empathy.
As most Americans were right to anticipate, Trump’s been the Opposite President like Bizarro was the DC Comics opposite of Superman.
This was even after Trump and his right-wing media helped to spread the coronavirus by initially dismissing it was nothing but left-wing mainstream media hyping a political impeachment hoax; it’s only a common flu, go about your business.
Trusting the president and his media that suckers them for views and ad money, Trump supporters spread the misinformation, further risking health, lives and stress to the healthcare system and providers. And then they continued to smear, from their comfy quarantining sofas, the professional media that’s been working 24–7 trying to keep us informed.
The question too overlooked is why Trump gets away with his abject failure as our president.
Why, when Hillary would be pilloried if not burned at the stake? Why does this clueless spit-balling fraud, who even his “best” handpicked people knew or found was unfit for office, get to be Opposite President?
It’s for for the same reason, as the old joke goes, that squirrels get to “cavort” all day: Because he can.
Trump can act squirrely, even in this national crisis when most presidents would step up and into leadership, because he gets a pass thanks to his MAGA base and Republicans who fear, fool and use them.
Roughly 25–35% of Americans are Trump ride or die. Some 90% of Republicans, while sniffing at his disgraces, denigrations and depredations, stick with him.
And get this: While over 51% of Americans disapproved of Trump and only 44% approved in the depths of his pandemic mis-leadership (March 24 FiveThirtyEight.com aggregation), it was far from his lowest disapproval and among his highest approval ratings.
How can four in ten Americans still approve of Trump?
In journalism, you “follow the money.” In politics, even Gandhi said, “There go my people; I must follow them, for I am their leader.”
That’s why Trump says and does so many bewilderingly ignorant, wrong, nasty, boastful, disrespectful and other shockingly un-presidential, un-leaderly things: He’s doing what every politician tries to do, giving his people what they want.
So I don’t completely blame his dog-eat-dog Manhattan commercial real estate sensibility or his manipulative, smarmy, narcissistic camera-preening talents. Trump is a disaster as president for the same reason “Friends” inexplicably was a hit sitcom: His core audience loves or just lives with him.
In their unholy marriage of convenience, MAGA red hats and Republican blue bloods cheer, egg on, defend or accept Trump no matter how badly he behaves.
Trump is like their wayward teen who needs rehab. Like helicopter parents declaring “how dare you doubt my child?” after his third stint in juvy, Trump fans attack their fellow Americans and the professional media for having the gall to suggest the emperor is buck naked with feet of clay.
Here’s the problem:
The professional media, with its “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” ethos, avoids criticizing MAGAs for dumbing down the presidency and, like reckless drivers, hurting themselves and everyone.
Our Founders knew American democracy would be imperfect — Churchill called ours the worst system except for all others — because not every citizen would be as educated, enlightened and dedicated to the commonweal like they thought we all should be. Heck, many Founders owned slaves and fooled around worse than Bill Clinton and Donald Trump combined.
It would be elitist-urban-coastal-Democrat-liberal condescending to blame MAGAs for goading Trump to be Trump. They’re fellow Americans. We love them. Their hardships, resentments of people not like them and heartland populist views need to be respected. Although not when they’re racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist and otherwise hateful, regressive and ignorant, of course.
The vast majority of MAGAs who we need to cherish are good and well meaning people, bless their hearts. Even if many still believe Obama was born in Kenya and declare with certainty about the “Hillary Body Count,” Russia did not help elect Trump, and the America-hating “Deep State” that’s out to get Trump. Even good folks will believe what they believe and they have their facts. God love our fellow Americans.
Educated, elite, coastal, mainstream Republicans know better.
Some condescend the poor ignorant MAGAs.
Worst, when privileged Republicans support, defend, accept or look away from Trump’s disastrous “leadership” — or deflect that Democrats, liberals and mainstream media and Deep State are worse — they’re abdicating their noblesse oblige, “the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged” that include MAGAs.
Gentry Republicans are also denying what I suspect their better hearts and souls must know is wrong and not making America greater.
Certainly, privileged Republicans know Trump’s GOP is not their beloved, respected father’s or grandfather’s GOP, and Trump is making a mockery of the core Republican American values the party always trashed Democrats for undermining.
But I understand why many decent Republicans accept Trump’s failings, and it’s not because of their Christian generosity of spirit.
They believe Fox and their right-wingy iPhone “news” feeds that he’s better than the angry left-wing feminista pink-hat Antifa mob LGBTQ+ Black Lives Matter snowflake college language policing Hillary/Bernie/Pocahontas Democrat liberal socialists who hate America and capitalism that creates jobs.
Many decent Republicans also love how Trump is cutting taxes, government and senseless environmental regulations that, e.g., protect Americans from cancer and other diseases and death. They love how Trump has juiced the Obama recovery and are OK with throwing grandma from the train to rescue the Dow and reelect Trump.
Of course privileged Republicans benefit from Trump way more than the working-class MAGAs they use to advance their agenda.
Ask any proper Republican: Have you ever seen any Red Hat Trump rally-goers on the putting green at Trump resorts? Or at any exclusive country club? Or at any Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton? Or welcoming Town & Country, Southern Living, Garden and Gun and other luxury magazine writers and photographers into their homes for a lavish feature and photo spread about their posh living thanks to costly liberal designers?
It’s a simple yes or no. Diverting with “what about the ‘limousine liberals’ and ‘Clinton millions’?” only confirms you don’t have a good answer.
Not to get psychological, but shame can make us double down in defense, desperately seek rationalization, and deflect with gas-lighting like, “Why can’t we just be positive?” Even though this dismisses the legitimate anger of your fellow Americans — likely MAGAs first — because your president acts solely for “his people.”
I know: It’s not politically correct to blame anyone for anything. I just wish Trump’s people and party who know better will stop supporting this disgrace of a president.