There's a good chance I'm preaching to the choir every time I post a political entry but sometimes I can't shake these things out of my brain so I try to write them out. This time I think we may have company, but we're still in trouble. Try this on for size:
[Trump is] a xenophobic, race baiting, religious bigot.
That gem didn't come from Daily Kos or any of your favorite Democrats or left-leaning publications. It came from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is not exactly a liberal lion. Graham is an example of what I've been calling a Machine Republican and the Machine is in deep shit right now and likely freaking out.
They're freaking out (if they have an ounce of sense) at the possibility that Trump will either be the Republican nominee or they'll have to take some action to keep him from being the nominee and he'll go independent, torpedoing whoever they do manage to nominate. Over at fivethirtyeight, Harry Enten thinks that the Machine will have to enlist evangelical Christians to beat Trump. Talk about taking a scorpion to bed with you. Even if evangelicals can be convinced to work against Trump in Iowa (far from certain) the price they would need to get and stay on-board could be the nomination of someone like Ted Cruz. Ms. Clinton's political advisors have to be salivating over that prospect.
(It's a measure of just how remarkably bad the Republican field is that I'm warming up to the idea of a conniving, mammonite, warmongering woman as my candidate of choice. But that's a separate post. Somewhere the ghost of Margaret Thatcher has to be laughing her immaculate coiffure off.)
But the core problem that prompts me to write is not with Trump, not with the Machine's flailing ineffectuality, not with the distasteful candidate of the other party. It's the people.
Because, see, if there wasn't a solid and apparently unshakable plurality of Americans who seem to want a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot as their president we wouldn't be having this discussion. Trump is a symptom, not the cause. Each bigoted shriek he utters just reinforces this. Each time he directs hate toward someone new (women, Mexicans, Blacks, Muslims) I have this moment of thinking "OK, now people will get it." But they don't. We have a persistent front-runner who is giving voice to the broad misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, and racism that runs as deep in America as hot dogs and apple pie. And that, dear friends, is really fucking depressing.
I am aware that it is an element of privilege never to have to question one's place in the systems of power. As a person with a minority religion, a non-mainstream sexual orientation, and a visibly non-normal lifestyle I find the words of Pastor Niemöller's famous poem running through my head every time Trump's poll numbers go up and I wonder, really, what the hell is wrong with people.