What makes a demagogue? Is he the one who was dropped on his head when he was a baby? Or is he an illegitimate offspring of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who left him at an orphanage only to be adopted by Jean-Marie Le Pen?
Maybe that is not the exact right question that Americans need to ask themselves at the moment. Perhaps the appropriate question now is – ‘Is it time for America to have what it may have always wanted but didn’t know it – a far-right white supremacist political party? Is it time for America to come out of the closet?’
Before we had Ipads, did we know that we needed them? But we do now, don’t we? We are so crazy about them that come Black Friday or Boxing Day or Diwali or Durga Puja or the Chinese New Year, the Ipad is the only product on the shelves that isn’t on any promotion sale. For the Ipad, these frenzied shopping mania days are no different from any other day of the year.
With the Ipad, a need and a market was created and public thirst diverted toward it – a thirst that the public didn’t even know it had and couldn’t control once it did.
Isn’t it possible that deep down, a vast majority of white Christian Americans, well over the 50% median, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, are basically and essentially fascist and that they just didn’t know it until someone like Donald Trump came along?
In a Rasmussen Reports Survey taken prior to the attack in San Bernardino, half of all likely voters said they did not want America to take in even a single Muslim immigrant from the Middle East. On the refugee issue – again, prior to San Bernadino – 80% said they did not want Obama’s program to relocate Syrian asylum-seekers into their state. The latest FOX Poll shows that a majority of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, believe that at least one Syrian refugee will be a terrorist in disguise and will carry out a terror attack and succeed.
When Ben Carson stated that a Muslim should never be allowed to become President of the US, a Pew Research poll showed that more than 60% of the polled Americans supported that view. To a demagogue these levels of bigotry and racism are sweet music to the ears and a very clear sign that his time has come.
It may be interesting to note that suddenly all those commentators who were calling him a clown are starting to be very miserly with their denigration. History is catching up with them and telling them that even Hitler was initially derided as a looney by the German intelligentsia. Even Hitler had only a 25-30% poll rating when he began his hate odyssey. Even Hitler energised the disenchanted, even Hitler sounded exciting and even Hitler was politically incorrect in everything he proposed.
Didn’t the Germans, to the very last man and woman, cheer Hitler lustily when he came on at first? Didn’t they kick, spit and punch Jewish neighbors they had grown up with? Did they ever stop and ask themselves – how can we?
Hitler did it then and now Donald Trump is creating another craze – another Ipad thirst. Can he be stopped? History suggests that he can’t. The timing and the setting are just too perfect for a demagogue : deep-seated public frustration and mistrust of the established order, a minimally educated populace watching jobs migrating east – an almost carbon copy of 1924.
Even in religiosity, Trump bears a striking resemblance to Hitler or any other demagogue, like, say, Saddam Hussein. He acknowledges religious leaders in a guarded manner, making sure that they are kept reined in. There is to be simply no one at the top but he. Only his words should matter.
This begs the question, ‘Why is America veering toward bigotry and demagoguery now, after two centuries of an excruciatingly slow trudge toward equality? Just when the world was expressing relief at what we saw as America’s final transformation into a just and equal society, in the 2008 election of Barack Obama, why has it regressed?
The answer may be a simple one – there never was a transformation, only an anti-retro virus suppressing antibiotic that is beginning to wear off. Americans admire and look up to what they perceive as ‘strong’ leadership, even when they know deep within that it is an evil, militarily aggressive force. At the same time, maturity and the pursuit of peace is perceived by them as a weakness.
To say that the Republican Party of America is in a complete state of shambles is no longer an understatement. It is attempting to fight the fires started by Trump and stabilize itself in a sort of middle ground, in order to engage with the minorities and salvage some of their votes. Engaging minorities had always been in the GOP’s to-do list, ever since they threw away the 2012 elections and hired a think-tank to find out why, only to be told that not engaging the fastest growing segment of the population – the minorities – was the primary cause of the defeat and that should not be repeated.
Now, in trying to gain a middle ground, the Republicans are actually creating the conditions that are conducive to the rise of a third political party in America – a white supremacist, far-right party along the same lines as Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale, only far more virulent, thanks to the already existing pre-condition that the ordinary white Christian Americans’ minds possess.
The emergence of a third political party is inevitable, judging by the rumblings that we are now hearing within the Republican Party which is desperately trying to come up with a strategy to cast aside Donald Trump and deny him the nomination, even if he wins. Should that happen, his support among white Christian Americans will just go through the roof, laying the foundation for him to launch his far-right party – let’s call it the NSPA – National Socialist Party of America.
Will the NSPA gather together a few trophy blacks and Asians to make themselves look like a multi-ethnic entity? Maybe, but I doubt that. Folks like Donald Trump don’t care if they have the support of minorities. The NSPA will be all-white and all-Christian. As a first order of business, it will afford the immigration of white Christians only and yes, it will boot out all illegals and yes, it will build all those walls and yes, it will do away with visa waivers. Donald Trump means every syllable of what he says, let us make no mistake about it.
Usually by the time a demagogue starts being taken seriously, it is too late. For Trump, unlike Hitler, hijacking America should be a piece of cake.