Caption to photo: “Cities are bastions of elitism and filth.” Also today: MAGA in 2022; It’s not that Trump is nuts; about Herschel Walker.
Slate, Henry Grabar, 5 Oct 2022: Fear City subtitled “The GOP’s rhetoric about urban life—’disgusting and violent!’ ‘Soaked in blood!’—has really gotten out of hand.”
To a certain degree, disgust and mistrust for the American city, laced with bits of antisemitism, xenophobia, and racism, dates back to Thomas Jefferson. When Vance says “the professors are the enemy,” he’s quoting Richard Nixon. In April, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton complained: “They want to make you live in downtown areas, high-rise buildings, walk to work or take the subway … They want to get you out of your pickup truck, out of your SUV, out of your home in the suburbs where you can have a backyard with your kids.” That’s the rhetoric of the Agenda 21 conspiracy. (I wish Democrats wanted anyone to get out of their pickup truck!)
It’s impossible to imagine the shoe on the other foot. Barack Obama was pilloried for his observation that small-town residents “cling to guns or religion”; Hillary Clinton’s great sin was to label Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” There’s simply no equivalent rhetoric on this side of the city line.
The real injury, in a country where 4 in 5 people now live in urban areas, is that life is better there. Just as earlier generations bemoaned the sinful city but envied their electricity and indoor plumbing, today’s GOP base knows that despite what Trump calls “blood, death, and suffering on a scale once unthinkable,” urbanites in the United States have it better. They have faster internet, higher incomes, and more jobs to choose from. They also live longer. Some of them even have gold toilets.
Ironically, it does *not* seem to be better in the rural areas. On Facebook I follow a news group called Victor Valley News, which is about the area including Apple Valley (where I grew up), Victorville, and Hesperia. Posters there treat it like a Nextdoor community site; it’s full of stories about wrecks on the I5 freeway, reports of abandoned cars, reports of strange looking people lurking around Costco, and on and on. They have so many car crashes, driving too fast along rural desert roads. (Standard response to such reports: thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families.) To a report of yet another stolen catalytic converter (we have that happen in Oakland, too) one respondent advised voting a straight red ticket. Of course it’s *already* a red community, forever deploring the Democrats and governor Newsom. If cities are the bastion of elitism and filth, what’s their excuse? How is it they can’t set an example of traditional, wholesome living?
Salon, Chauncey DeVega, 5 Oct 2022: What does MAGA mean in 2022? An aging movement longs for an America that never was, subtitled “Trump’s core loyalists are older, less educated, more Southern, more Christian — and driven by resentment”
(Headline on the homepage, to the question: “Toxic nostalgia.”)
Salon, Gregg Barak, 5 Oct 2022: Donald Trump’s life of crime: Most books are clueless — these five explain him best, subtitled “There’s an ever-growing shelf of Trump books, but most make the same crucial mistake: They conclude he’s nuts”
But here’s what’s most important: Trump knows he is guilty of all the crimes he has been accused of. He also knows he has no genuine defenses for any of those likely or potential charges, which is why he so persistently seeks to lie, to obfuscate and to delay. He also understands that his best defense, at least in the court of public opinion, is a forceful offense: Always a master of projection, he charges his legal accusers with sinister and conspiratorial motivations.
He is a con man, performance artist and demagogue who understands the value of never publicly abandoning his narratives, no matter how absurd or blatantly false they are.
In the immortal words attributed to P.T. Barnum (among others), “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And the former president who was impeached twice and got away scot-free knows how to spot them.
It’s to resist looking at this latest example of a train-wreck bottom-of-the-barrel Republican candidate.
Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 4 Oct 2022: Herschel Walker’s abortion scandal won’t alienate Christian right voters — here’s why, subtitled “Trump showed Republican voters are fine with sexual freedom — for straight conservative men”
Slate, Heather Schwedel, 4 Oct 2022: Herschel Walker’s Battle With His MAGA-Influencer Son, Explained, subtitled “Who is Christian Walker and why did he just go nuclear on his father’s campaign for Georgia senator?”
Politico, 4 Oct 2022: Walker’s team knew of an abortion allegation months before it surfaced, subtitled “His team was aware and had time to prepare. They just hoped it wouldn’t come out before the election.”
Joe.My.God, 5 Oct 2022: Gingrich: Walker Has A “Deep Commitment To Christ”.
The answer of course is that Republican’s are stuck with him. If they abandon him now they won’t win the Georgia election, and winning is the most important thing, for control of the Senate. Not, certainly, morality or principles. (And *claiming* a commitment to Christ is apparently a get-out-of-jail-free card.)