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TRUMPISM: The joke's on us

Spencer Cox / Red Dirt Report
At an anti-Trump protest in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Last night, as the polls were closing and state after state – Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Texas … and Oklahoma at 7:01 p.m. (that didn’t take long) I was on the air offering commentary on Jason Doyle’s election coverage radio program on KTOK.

On the line was Oklahoma GOP Chairwoman Pam Pollard. She was obviously jubilant as things were clearly going Donald Trump’s way. I asked her if her fellow Republicans were voting for the billionaire demagogue or simply against Wall Street warmonger Hillary Clinton.

Pollard indicated it was a mix. There were some very strong pro-Trump supporters within the party and they liked his outsider status. Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, was going over like a turd in a punch bowl. There was simply no passion and excitement within her campaign and, as a result, no real passion or excitement was generated within her voting bloc. This election was Trump’s for the taking.

Clearly, the Democratic establishment contributed to Trump’s victory by deep-sixing Bernie Sanders’ chances during the primaries. Party insiders wanted a “known quantity” like Clinton, despite her towering stack of flaws that I won’t take the time to get into here. Last spring polls showed a Sanders/Trump matchup in which the grouchy Vermont senator defeats the obscene charlatan from Queens.

But they didn’t care. The treacherous liars in the DNC decided it was Hillary’s turn and that was that. Damn those pot-smoking, Outback-driving Sandernistas. They cynically pushed the “first ever woman in the White House” and “breaking the glass ceiling” talking points while knowing that Hillary would maintain the very rotten and corrupt status quo that the Sanders and Trump people despised.

Trump, meanwhile, just plowed on, accumulating supporters at every state fair and convention hall rally across the country. The insiders saw Trump as a joke candidate. I know the pollsters got it wrong, but that is because Trump’s rise – and his victory last night – seemed so utterly surreal. A bizarre dream morphing into a very real nightmare. We now realize the joke's on us.

Trump came along at a time of great change and uncertainty, not only in America, but across the world. The growing stench of fascism is getting stronger. From Europe to China to Japan to Latin America to the Philippines, the era of the far-right “strongman” appears to be returning, and Trump is now going to be the most powerful of these authoritarian leaders. And not only that, he has a Republican Congress and an opportunity to get a very right-wing Supreme Court.

And while we were never fans of Hillary Clinton – a neoliberal technocrat, seriously lacking in that all-important “common touch” that her husband has down to a science – the truth is, is that Trump alarmed us more.

His anti-intellectualism. His bullying. His toxic sexism. His racism. His narcissism. His hatred of a free press … I could go on and on. But everyone already knows that. And you know what? The average Trump voter did not really care. They liked his carnival barker style. His arrogance and attitude. They liked his "straight talk" and he mirrored the instantaneous, Twitter zeitgeist that so many social media savvy Americans are hip to. Sure, he's a billionaire, but he's one of us.

The vast middle class, which is looking at a particularly bleak future at this point in time, hates the “establishment,” of which Hillary and the failed GOP presidential candidates of 2016 represented. Trump, as filmmaker Michael Moore accurately predicted, “is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for, the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”

By the time the ballots were counted, Trump had won Oklahoma with 65.3 percent and Clinton limped in with 28.9 percent. And Libertarian Gary Johnson had a solid showing with 5.7 percent, making Oklahoma one of his best states of the night.

Many Oklahomans, still hurting in the current economic slump, resent the Washington, D.C. elites and their disinterest in issues that matter most to them.

And in Trump they see an almost anarchist-styled "bomb-thrower with a combover" who just might exact a little revenge on those bastards who, for instance, gave them the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” (aka “Obamacare”) a health care “reform” program that is only causing health care costs to increase dramatically. They see the wars continuing. They see jobs long gone overseas. A hollowed-out middle class. And white males feeling threatened by growing numbers of people in this country who don't share their skin color, political identity or religious preference. 

Trump addressed these issues. He got their attention in a way Hillary never could. Hell, the Ku Klux Klan is feeling pretty damn emboldened right now. 

Sure, Trump’s fear-fueled nativism, militarism, and Nixonian “law and order” rhetoric, also has an appeal to these voters, but it is Trump’s willingness to flip the bird to the “media,” the “establishment,” “the Clinton crime family,” etc. that really drove a large swath of working class voters to vote Trump. He’s the man that can cut out that malignant tumor on the Potomac and “Make America Great Again!”®

Trumpism is here to stay, or at least for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the left (what's left of it, anyway), lulled to sleep by eight years of Obama, will snap out of their stupor and stand up to the fascist menace we now face, here and abroad. Because it's likely to only get worse before it gets better. 

Admittedly, any analysis this early on will likely need to be re-examined, and soon. But these are just some of our thoughts on the election and what may be coming. We will continue to analyze these early days, leading up to Trump's inauguration in January 2017 - and beyond, of course.

In the meantime, I’m cranking up The Clash’s London Calling. Yes, "I'm in a state of shock," like Joe Strummer sings on the reggae-influenced "Revolution Rock." But I'm not going to let my shock lead to inaction. Nope. Ink and rage from here on out.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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