Susan Slotnick: What’s Up America?

Susan Slotnick

Susan Slotnick

Red faced, angry, self-obsessed (you know who)! He refers to himself in the third person; a brand more than a human. He sells his name to appear popular and successful, a name I refuse to mention. How did he get to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination? What’s the undying attraction when all over social media he is lambasted for idiocy unparalleled in the history of the USA? This morning a teenage girl holding a sign reading, “Without immigration he would have no wives,” was making the rounds all over Facebook. The wife wasn’t born here. He says she is a citizen. I want to see her birth certificate; tit-for-tat after all the nonsense and the recent re-emergence of questions from him over President Obama’s religion and birthplace. The screaming, the interrupting, the blatant intolerance for any differing opinion, as if not agreeing with him were a felony, makes you wonder? Who are his supporters; the insecure just like him?

Originally, I believed his supporters were politically ignorant, celebrity worshipers with lives so dull that the man at the circus in the clown car afforded them some respite from the daily grind.

At the beginning, analysts focused on the typical demographic breakdowns — gender, race and age — and found that his support was primarily male, white and poor. The male-female gap was 19 percentage points (47 percent support among men vs. 28 percent among women).

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Now, after a frightening amount of caucus and primary wins, his support invariably widened. Who loves him?

The single best prediction of who supports him is voters with no college education. He actually made this comment after a win, “We won with the poorly educated! I love the poorly educated!”

Voters who feel powerless, unrepresented in the political arena. His supporters are middle-aged white men with little education, poor or lower middle class who feel empowered by the angry rhetoric and the chance to vent and be heard. The Rand Corporation, an American global think tank which provides research and analysis, presented several questions to his supporters (hitherto tiring of the personal pronoun, I will now refer to him as Blondie.) Of all the questions the Rand Corporation asked, the one that got the most hits was the statement, “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” This feeling of powerlessness and voicelessness was also a great predictor of Blondie’s support some say even more than age, race, college attainment, income, attitudes towards Muslims, illegal immigrants, and/or Hispanic identity.

Blondie’s cheerleaders want to rid America of “Outsiders.” This is the genesis of all the Hitler comparisons surfacing on social media. Authoritarianism in government, historically, often included targeting outsiders and pursuing aggressive policies to eliminate them. Authoritarian governments are often run by a dictator. In South Carolina, it was reported that Blondie’s support across the state was fueled by a personal fear of terrorism more than anything else. Blondie told Fox News he would kill the families (including the children?!) of ISIS members to stop their advance. Oh my! Sounds close to a promise to commit war-crimes! He’s also pledged to shut down mosques, keep track of all Muslims and round up the children of illegal immigrants. These hysterical outcries are aimed to assuage his white in-groups fear of non-white outsiders sparking more division and racism. This leads to…

His supporters live in parts of the country with racial tensions.
According to the New York Times, Blondie’s support is strongest from the Gulf Coast through the Appalachian Mountains to New York. It is the same demographic as a “heat map” of Google searches for racial slurs and jokes.

The deeper question is how can a candidate who makes outrageous misogynist, racist fascistic statements have gotten this far? What’s going on in our country that created a climate where an obviously dangerous person to world safety could get nominated for president? Here is a sample of some of these public statements; words that would never have been tolerated and supported by anyone believing in American ideals in the past.

As you read these statements, imagine these words coming from the mouths of Kennedy, Carter or Reagan.

“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”

“Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog and will do it again — just watch. He can do much better!”

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man — he made a good decision.”

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists….”

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

“If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”

“It’s freezing and snowing in New York — we need global warming!”

“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”

“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure. It’s not your fault.”

He may not be so stupid after all. It is possible that he knows exactly what is going on in America that would allow such a bigoted fool as himself to achieve a degree of political power.

Following the mass shooting in California he said, “It’s going to get worse and worse. We’re going to have more World Trade Centers.”

What are uneducated, middle-aged, often racist white men afraid of? Just about everything, especially women who have risen to the forefront of society and in many areas, such as college education and in the professions, have surpassed men in recent times. Fears of the predicted majority in America to soon become comprised of brown and black people. Foreigners and immigrants taking jobs from poor whites and terrorists lurking about everywhere ready to blow us up, are visceral frights which Blondie has the perverse insight to use to instigate support.

Everyone I find credible is saying he can’t possibly win. And yes, we all know that was what was said in Nazi Germany about Hitler. Where fear marries ignorance anything is possible. Help!

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