A week ago, in “‘They’re Stealing Our Jobs!’: Populism And False Prophets,” I said the following:
What [politicians like Trump] are doing is grabbing power for themselves and taking advantage of “the people” who, thanks to a number of factors, are vulnerable to manipulation.
On Saturday evening, I followed up on the post linked above.
In “Thinking Globally In A World Gone Mad” I offered this:
What I despise most about this entire populist spectacle is that Trump is exploiting people’s ignorance. Marine Le Pen is doing the same thing in France. Frauke Petry is doing the same thing in Germany. I’m not really sure if Geert Wilders is doing the same thing in the Netherlands because frankly, Wilders is so goddamn crazy that I dare say he actually believes everything he says — so in a way, he’s actually preferable to the false populist prophets in the US, France, and Germany who are merely seeking to capitalize politically on popular discontent.
As strange, paternalistic, and pretentious as this sounds, I’m not trying to be derisive by characterizing Trump’s support base as “gullible idiots.” I mean, a large percentage of them are gullible idiots, but that’s exactly why this situation is so sad. Trump cannot bring back American manufacturing. He cannot wind the clock back and restore industries that are simply no longer competitive in a modern, global economy. To tell people that he can is cruel. It gives people false hope. And it also ensures that they’ll never be able to adapt to the new reality in which they live.
Consider those excerpts, and then watch the following clip from Trump’s Saturday night campaign-style rally in Florida.
That’s precisely what I’m talking about.
That, right there, is why this is all so f*cking sad.