H. L. Mencken, a writer/editor and notorious cynic of the last century, is said to be responsible for the phrase “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” One can only assume the phenomenon of Donald J. Drumph would not have changed his mind.
(An orthographic note: I have chosen the derogatory spelling of Big 45’s name for the simple reason that he, no doubt with a childish smirk and self-congratulation for his biting wit, can’t bring himself to spell Ron DeSantis’s name correctly. When he grows up and shows a modicum of respect, I’ll go back to using his proper name.)
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I really want to understand what it is about Drumph that entitles him to such adulation and unrestricted near-religious adoration from people who otherwise seem intelligent enough.
Examples are everywhere, from blogs and Tweets to political groups. Consider the “Family Research Council,” an organization that seems to portray itself as supporting Good Conservative Family Values. It seems in lockstep with Drumph, who has been married several times and has supposedly had numerous affairs with women, some of them of rather questionable character. He also is squishy on abortion — which, to my knowledge, the FRC absolutely does not endorse. Yet they have given him the warmest of welcomes, and seem perfectly comfortable with his return to the White House next year.
I won’t bother to cite examples of Tweets, articles in allegedly conservative Internet “news” sources or Tighty Righty blogs. They’re all easy enough to find.
So if it’s not Drumph’s moral code that keeps the rubes happy, is it his record as 45th President? Again, there is little need to cite chapter and verse, but I — and others — find his record to be one of near-total failure. He brought forth no legislation of value, enacted no policies that improved the lot of American citizens, and definitely did not bring any people into government who are renowned for their work ethic. Or, for that matter, their ethics in general. Yet his followers seem to regard his four years as a glance into what Paradise must be like, and they tout things he did not do as if he did them.
The only conclusion I can draw is that they listen to Drumph himself, and accept Tweets as action, lies (or, at a minimum, faulty memory) as truth, and off-the-cuff (and never acted-upon) statements as policy.
Or perhaps they take pleasure in his gratuitous insults. I cannot think of a politician who has ever been as quick to demean, attack and/or denigrate anyone who is not showing the proper amount of love and devotion to him. There are cases where his ex-post-facto judgements of former employees ring true, but it is hardly Presidential to display as much mean-spirited contempt has he has heaped on people he previously praised, in some instances profusely.
And we can’t ignore the “STOLEN ELECTION!” refrain. Drumph won election once (by what was a razor-thin margin, small enough that the Other Side whimpered about a “stolen election”) and lost once, though the latter is still debatable, and debated by some to this day. Strangely, he faced two of the worst candidates in American political history; he didn’t run against a Roosevelt or Kennedy, but rather defeated a shrill, unqualified harpy on one hand, and lost to an aged dunderhead on the other.
(Parenthetically, even if one accepts the repeated whining about “STOLEN ELECTION!” and “RIGGED WITCH HUNT!”), does that entitle Drumph to another term as President? I’m not at all convinced of the worth of — or propriety in — a Sympathy Vote.
So since all this, frankly, confuses the hell out of me, I’d really like to know what the attraction might be. Does Drumph has some quality that is well-hidden to a lot of us, but crystal-clear to his adherents? Has he revealed some Truth to the Faithful that we just don’t get?
Or are the Drumphians proving, once again, that H.L. Mencken was right?