America’s Dangerous Forty Percent

Throughout history democracies have been a fragile form of government. This is because Democracies depended on reasonable cooperation, a strong regard for the rule of law over personality and at least some semblance of truth telling among competing political parties. There is, unfortunately, among even the most sophisticated societies roughly forty percent of a citizenry oblivious to the big picture when it comes to national and international political issues.

In America, it’s forty percent that — in the main — is composed of really good folks who are among the best acting humans when among family, friends and coworkers. However, being almost exclusively focused upon local and practical matters; and with little interest in serious biography, history or politics, and possessing a kneejerk reaction for brushing off all politicians as useless clowns, these folks tend to be devoid of a reasonable basis for divining broad but subtle issues pertaining to the protection of America’s highly venerable institutions of democracy. In fact they take American democracy for granted, assuming that things will always somehow work out for the best without their ever having to directly participate in its protection.

But mostly for those passionate admirers of Donald Trump, Democracy is but a vague abstraction within their highly charged emotionally ruled lives, distracted by over the top entertainment of the type that can only be delivered in the political world by the outrages of a Trumpian con.

Additionally, such folks tend to function mostly on nature’s hardwired tribal impulses that often foster covert or overt bigotry against the “other.” Throw in feelings of being personally aggrieved over factors they see as being beyond their personal control, they can become made particularly ripe for exploitation by political charlatans, which in this country also means being helped along to this end by those parts of our social media that profit from spreading hate, lies and crazy conspiracy theories. Moreover there are the excessive greedy corporate cats that fire up the bulk of the forty percent against helpless minorities as a smokescreen for their own exploitation of average Americans.

Yes, dear friends, beating the drums for such poisonous nonsense is worth big bucks for Fox News and its right wing media allies, including that rat’s nest of disinformation, Facebook — sadly hate sells bigly. They present issues in a way carefully designed to excite the brain’s limbic system, that part of the brain that most easily fire up fear and hatred of others. Ironically this nasty grunge acts like a tonic for an otherwise mind in despair.

Also among this dangerous forty percent are society’s most violent elements. In America it’s the White supremacist — mainly the Klan and patriot groups spoiling for a fight with anyone, but especially establishment components of our democracy. These are the same order of persons that in the last century comprised Hitler’s Brown Shirt ruffians that rapidly morphed into the ranks of Hitler’s SS guard units. Would-be dictators are always careful to pander to society’s toughs as they represent potential enforcers and intimidators against those who would appose them.

And this brings us to the amazing Donald John Trump himself, a man long regarded by the New York business community as a gadfly buffoon, a man who squandered a 400 million dollar inheritance from his father upon poorly run business ventures — Trump water, Trump ties, Trump steaks, Trump airlines, Trump University (for which he was compelled to pay the defrauded folks 25 million dollars in penalties) and of course his Trump casino fiascos. Indeed, in the 90s Trump teetered on the edge of bankruptcy at a time when American banks would not touch him with ye old ten-foot pole.

But if the Donald was a wretched businessman and one who routinely stiffed those that worked for him — incluing his lawyers — when it came to self-promotion in the eyes of the common man, the pathological lying, con man salesmen was something of a genius. He had a ghostwriter put together a fluff piece he called “The Art of the Deal,” a joke of a book if ever there was one — this according to the ghostwriter himself. But then things took a drastic turn for the better for Mr. Trump when a reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” came his way.

In this highly staged entertainment production, Trump convincing portrayed himself to the nation’s regular Joes and Jills as a tough, no nonsense businessman. This gave him super name recognition and tremendous celebrity status among the masses that he would later use to gain political leverage for an easy high jacking of the Republican Party.

Trump’s prime political target was, to be sure, what would later be seen as the dangerous 40%, mostly lower middleclass White folks that were terrified of a rising multicultural American democracy. Two terms of a Black Democratic president had generated a white-hot backlash among said ilk that Trump saw as his political opening.

After months of greasing the skids for his political undertaking by relentlessly questioning President Obama’s American citizenship, Trump made his famous ride down the golden, Trump Tower escalator, making it abundantly clear to his target audience whom he was against — foreigners and minorities, especially those “rapists and murderers” coming over the southern boarder. It all came straight out of the authoritarian’s handbook for taking over and killing off a democracy, which includes undermining democratic institutions and the people’s confidence in their government, attacking the nation’s free press (calling it “the enemy of the people”). cozying up to dictators around the world and making nasty with America’s key allies.

One by one, as he eventually became president, Trump worked to politicize America’s protectors of democracy — the Justice Department, FBI, State Department, calling all who apposed his attempted run at a dictatorship the “Deep State.”

He hates the world only because he hates himself. The Donald is a natural born killer. All that he touches dies, often including those things that actually work for him. It’s as if this guilt-ridden monstrosity can’t help tripping himself up — his one saving grace for humankind.

The Republican Party for the most part was helpless to put the breaks on the Donald.. Starting with the Regan administration the GOP had been moving ever move toward recruiting what would become the dangerous forty percent in tandem with its right wing media propaganda organs.

For sure, Republican political powers of the land were not happy to see Trump among their ranks, but they soon realized that what they thought to be their political base had quickly morphed into Trump’s cult like supporters. They were stuck with a dangerous personality holding the most formidable leadership post in the world. Not only could Trump ruin them politically, but with a wink toward his most violent followers he could threaten their very lives and those of their families

And so now the GOP feels compel to rig the American electoral system with undemocratic rules and laws for a Trump victory in the 2022 and 2024 races. If that happens there will be no guardrails left this time to check a President Trump’s out of control ego. Our democracy will be finished off before the nation knows what hit it.

Of course Trumpist have a need to believe otherwise about their hero who says he loves them. For they are a true believer lot that were all the angels in heaven to descend to earth and tell them that they were wrong about the Dear Donald, they would close their eyes and plug their ears, for such “heavenly hosts would not deserve to be either seen or heard.”

These are the same sorts of folks that it has been said pray not so much for their daily bread as they do their daily delusion. To that end Donald John Trump is an answer to their prayers.

We came close to seeing democracy overturned on 1/6. We likely won’t survive a second Trump inspired insurrection. Hitler was jailed for inciting insurrection in the 1920s, but returned to take total power in 1933. He also had his dangerous 40% to rely upon; with disastrous consequences for Germany and all the world it must be said.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!