Tuesday, December 29, 2015
The Triumph of the Angry
How Time chose Andrea Merkel for the 2015 Person of the Year is understandable. Keeping the European Union afloat was a task that required superhuman skills (well, requires because dissolution is still a possibility). What's more, in a year of massive displacement of populations, her determination to admit thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees must seem to most Americans, most Republicans at least, and, post-San Bernadino, all Republican Presidential aspirants, perfectly insane.
Truth be told, to homebody Americans, Person-of-the-Year Merkel couldn't hold a candle to the U. S. of A's ace noisemaker, Donald Trump, who single-handedly sucked the oxygen out of newsrooms all year long. When the Donald declared his candidacy, John Stewart turned green right there before our eyes because The Daily Show's veteran host had already announced his retirement. The opportunity to skewer Trump made Steward wilt in envy.
Of course, at that moment, no one believed Trump would triumph as he has. Right now, most polls have him at double the strength of any one else. In fact, Texas's Ted Cruz is in second, a man who reportedly is disliked by most of the people who know him well and has basically been drafting behind the Trump phenom.
Trump has destroyed Jeb Bush, just as he destroyed Wisconsin's Scott Walker, both of whom pundits with significant Washington cred once upon a time simply assumed would be front-runners.
The fact is, no one totally understands how the Donald has done what he has, and these very words are proof of the fact that people--me too!--can't stop talking about him. The accepted wisdom is simply that the Donald Trump has tapped into something that no one else has, some vein of something almost radio-active in the electorate.
If the common wisdom is accurate, then living in American democracy is far more precarious than I would have guessed a year ago. After two long years of almost total government inaction and hostile bickering that most claim to be more acidic than it's ever been, it's no surprise that people are sick to death of the way things are.
Still, the numbers are daunting. A new CNN poll, just released, claims 75% of Americans are "dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed," while 69% claim to be "at least somewhat angry."
That's really incredible, but it's not new. Those percentages are similar to what they were at the end of 2014.
Trump's base is with those angry people, and especially with those people. Among Trump's millions, 97% are dissatisfied. That's huge. And he's scoring at what?--40% of the Republican electorate.
So the vein of radio-active sentiment Trump has discovered and so successfully tapped into, something no one else had as efficiently, is simply downright angry Americans, people totally at odds with the system, the culture, the entire American pageant as we know it today. Let me just repeat that one more time. Among Trump's loyal followers, 97% believe are "dissatisfied" with life as we know it in America.
Maybe it's a good thing that Mr. Trump has uncovered this seething mess, but it's greatly unsettling to have to believe so many Americans really despise "how things are." That's immense disenchantment.
"Democracy is the worst form of government," said Winston Churchill, "except for all the others."
What Trump has discovered and exposed and nurtured is something apparently no one else has--real palpable dissatisfaction with the way things are. It's there. In spades.
I don't care what anyone says, that it is, is scary. They're following a man who once told reporters he could not remember ever asking forgiveness. That's really scary.
I'm not among that 97%. I greatly prefer Andrea Merkel.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 7:36 AM