Trumpism Is Not Going to End Well

Some parts of “mainstream” media have gone so far as to call Trump’s CPAC speech “unhinged.” So it will not surprise you to know that the Right loved it. Indeed, one of the libertarians at the comically named Reason magazine said of the speech, Trump Just Might Have Won the 2020 Election Today. “The president’s speech at CPAC was a bedazzling mix of bravado, B.S., humor, and positive vision no Democrat will be able to top,” the article blurb gushes.

There is simply no potential candidate in the Democratic Party who wouldn’t be absolutely blown off the stage by him. I say this as someone who is neither a Trump fanboy nor a Never Trumper. But he was not simply good, he was Prince-at-the-Super-Bowl great, deftly flinging juvenile taunts at everyone who has ever crossed him, tossing red meat to the Republican faithful, and going sotto voce serious to talk about justice being done for working-class Americans screwed over by global corporations.

In a heavily improvised speech that lasted over two hours, the 72-year-old former (future?) reality TV star hit every greatest hit in his repertoire (“Crooked Hillary,” “build the wall,” “America is winning again,” and more all made appearances) while riffing on everything from the Green New Deal to his own advanced age and weird hair to the wisdom of soldiers over generals. At times, it was like listening to Robin Williams’ genie in the Disney movie Aladdin, Howard Stern in his peak years as a radio shock jock, or Don Rickles as an insult comic. When he started making asides, Trump observed, “This is how I got elected, by going off script.” Two years into his presidency and he’s just getting warmed up.

Whether the qualities the writer, Nick Gillespie, describes here are qualities most Americans actually want to see in a president is another question, of course. And from here I could launch into a diatribe on the irony of self-described “libertarians” aligning themselves with the increasingly anti-liberty and authoritarian Party of Trump. But let me just link to some stuff in the archives for that — see “The Black Heart of Libertarianism,” “Libertarianism is BS,” “Libertarianism vs. Liberty,” “Libertarianism vs. Reality,” and “The Libertarian Mytisque.”

The basic thrust of all of these posts is that libertarianism is a strategy for privileged white people to bullshit themselves into believing they are some kind of principled freedom fighters when they are really just protecting their own property and privilege. It shouldn’t surprise us that libertarians would cheer for Trump, because deep down they recognize he expressess their deepest and most cherished value — the hell with anyone else; what’s in it for me?

What I really want to talk about, though, is the shocking immensity of delusion one must be living in to not see that Donald Trump is, um, a really bad president. Not to mention a really bad human being. Seriously, Trump admirers are not living in the same time-space continuum as the rest of us. I’m saying that the behavioral model that comes closest to Trumpism is not a political or ideological movement, but a religious cult.

Now, what often happens when a religious cult breaks apart? Think David Koresh or Jim Jones. People who have been living that deeply in a grotesquely fantastical mass delusion often would rather die than face the reality that the universe that they inhabited and the beliefs that took hold of the center of their lives and the core of their own self-identities were all lies. Violence and mass suicide result. I don’t see Trump himself commiting suicide because he’s too much of a weenie. He’ll probably just flee the country if it comes to that. But if the Trump bubble ever breaks, expect at the very least to see clusters of murder-suicides that, unfortunately, will include children. Replays of Ruby Ridge wouldn’t surprise me, either.

And it could easily be worse. In his testimony this week, Michael Cohen said he was concerned Trump would refuse to vacate the office peacefully if he loses the 2020 election. However he is removed from office, if he resists his culties could take the cue to attempt violent resistence against the nation at large.

So no, this is not going to end well.