Sunday, August 23, 2015


One of the recurring complaints that people have about the American political system is the prevalence of "big money" in the electoral system. Typically, I have little patience for such complaints, after all, money can't buy you love, and no amount of expensive advertising is going to trump the viewpoint of a trusted friend, relation or co-worker in political matters. And in a day and age in which information on any candidate you wish to know something about is no further away than a web page (even complete no-hopers like Jill Stein), I consider the issue to be less about money than it is about a pervasively passive approach to modern American politics that makes it worthwhile (and, to a large degree, necessary) to spend remarkable amounts of money to reach and motivate (or demotivate) potential voters.

And then, along comes Donald Trump. Being a billionaire of some level or another, he can afford to spend his own money on his presidential campaign, which frees him from the need to tailor his message to the Republican big-money donor class. Accordingly, he can direct his message to a segment of the Republican electorate that feels increasingly marginalized in modern American society, and fears that said marginalization will only accelerate as time goes on, and current minorities reduce them to a plurality, and someday, a minority themselves. Early American history being nothing if not a case study of what happens to an entrenched majority when a needy (to the point of hostility) minority takes over the majority status, perhaps what White people fear is having what generation past have done unto others being done unto them.

I don't want to sound racist, and I'm not racist. But I feel if we put Obama in the White House, there will be chaos. I feel a lot of black people are going to feel it's payback time. And I made the statement, I said, "You know, at one time the black man had to step off the sidewalk when a white person came down the sidewalk." And I feel it's going to be somewhat reversed. I really feel it's going to get somewhat nasty. Like I said, I feel it's going to be - they're going to feel it's payback time.
York Voters Express Post-Election Hopes, Fears
While the past seven years have proven that it would take more than the election of an African-American president to gin up the Payback Machine, the fear that a loss of White dominance of the United States is going to lead to Whites holding the bag in a society that openly favors non-Whites has not gone away.

But the United States being what it is, it's considered gauche, if not brazenly racist, to address that fear as a real thing that should be dealt with. And that's where Donald Trump, with his ability to self-finance his own campaign for the White House, may have done us all a favor. When people who feared the coming post-White Hegemony future had no-one willing to speak for them (rather than simply to them), it was easy to see them as a tiny fringe element in an otherwise forward-looking nation. The disconnect between their values, which Republican strategist Mary Matalin terms "Common Sense* America" and those of the wealthy donor base, or the "Conventional Wisdom Establishment" meant that "serious" candidates were unable to directly engage with them and still be considered "electable." The fact that Donald Trump doesn't need to ask them for money to keep his campaign going allows them to rally behind him without effectively needing to pay to have their views displayed.

As people line up behind statements that public piety demand be seen as reprehensible, at best, the rest of us are better able to see just how large a group of people feel that they have been thrown under the bus. And even if Mr. Trump gives up his bid for the Presidency or is forced out of the race by managing to alienate the people who support him, the understanding that this group is out there, and is willing to back someone they understand speaks to their fears and concerns, will embolden other politicians to make direct plays for those votes. Which may finally push the rest of us into addressing their concerns, rather than ignoring them.

* I am always leery of people peddling "common sense." Mainly because the term "common" has morphed away from "shared" and towards "self-evident," and thus invocations of common sense have simply become a way for a speaker to tell their chosen audience that their worldview is an obviously correct one, and that a lack of adherence to it is proof of deficiencies in intellect and/or "character," rather than simply indicating differences in background, upbringing and/or life experience.

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