Trumpocalypse, Day 3: I still feel like my whole body is bruised from the inside out; like my soul swallowed glass. I have however, been able to start reading a bit about the election, and I have some initial thoughts.

One thing I feel is missing from the post-election analysis – something I think we all missed – is the power of Donald Trump’s celebrity. For years he was in millions of living rooms on a weekly basis, filling the role of commander-in-chief in his own little universe. He was what most Americans aspire to be: a rich, powerful businessperson making decisions and imposing his will, with his attractive spouse at his side. That’s the kind of image-making even the best political ad can’t achieve.

Look at the primaries. Four years ago, with a similar clown-car lineup of Republicans, everyone got their moment in the sun. Newt Gingrich was the leader for a nanosecond. Rick Santorum ascended to the top spot for an eye-blink. But this time, Trump simply sprinted to first place and stayed. Nobody could touch him. He has always been a special candidate in more ways than one, and it’s clear to me that I underestimated him from the start. I think he excited people who don’t usually turn out to vote, and that’s one reason the pollsters didn’t see this coming.

The second thing that killed Hillary Clinton’s chances was the most prolonged and effective propaganda campaign in modern American history. The right wing has been invested heavily in myth-making against Hillary since Bill Clinton first won office. Whitewater, Vince Foster, Benghazi: time after time, official probes have cleared her, but her enemies understood that the mere fact of allegations and investigations was enough. Yes, Hillary has made mistakes, and on occasion she has lied. Every politician does. But the air of untrustworthiness that hangs around her is largely the result of this incredibly dogged and effective smear campaign.

Thirdly: I believe racism is a disqualifying attribute. I do not feel it is morally correct to support a racist, even if you agree with their political positions. I have voted for Republicans over Democratic racists, and I will continue to do so.

I think the Clinton campaign relied too much on the assumption that most Americans feel the same way. They hammered Trump – very effectively – with ads showing just how toxic his prejudices were. But they guessed wrong. Many, many of my fellow white Americans were willing to look at his racism and misogyny, shrug, and pull the lever.

The Clinton camp made the wrong political gamble. But they believed Americans would do the right thing, and I have to love them a little for that. The Trump campaign believed all the worst things about our country, and they were right. That’s part of the soul-shredding agony of this election.

Now there is a general movement to forgive the voters who winked at bigotry – or embraced it outright. As Jamelle Bouie tweeted:

We should resist that narrative. Forgiveness is always possible; however, we must understand and acknowledge the transgression first. It is a transgression that may literally kill the planet, since the Trump administration is shaping up to wreak devastation on the climate. It is a transgression that’s already making life more difficult and dangerous for women, people of color, LGBTQ Americans, and others who don’t fit into Trump’s vision of a “Great” America.

Trump’s stardom and the anti-Clinton propaganda campaign helped make a President Trump possible. But our readiness – even eagerness – to put a bigot in the Oval Office sealed the deal. From the very founding of our nation, racism has been our central tragedy. As Trump’s election confirms, it still is today.


Author: Trish Anderton

I am a nonprofit communicator, Red Sox fan and amateur streetfoodologist. Once upon a time I worked for the Jakarta Globe & Jakarta Post.

2 thoughts on “Celebrity-in-Chief”

  1. They call Trump, a racist. a bigot, why? because he talked against illegal Mexican immigrants ? they got rid of the word “illegal” so he was against all Mexican immigrants , then they took off both words illegal Mexicans so now he is against all immigrants. Nonsense, this was created by the media and what it does it gives justification for real acts of racism and bigotry to take place against people that supported him. They call Trump supporters bigots, white supremacist , they go on riots and vandalise and spread fear. These, are real acts of racism and bigotry. They call him a sexist, a man against women, but what they don not see is that it was Trump who was one of the first men who gave positions of great power to women, making them CEOs of his companies back in the 80s.

    They make Hilary into a saint forgiving or overseen or minimizing all her faults. They insist at denying facts; emails written by her, or about her, videos where she speaks , actions like policies that have being done , supported or pass by her. What kind of nonsense is that? From all her dark acts, perhaps the one that really is unforgivable was her involvement in the murder and overthrown of Gadhafi in Lybia. We learn now from WikiLeaks that she was the architect of this abomination with the purpose of using it as a tool for her presidential campaign .

    Lybia was the richest country in Africa, if you were a Lybian citizen you were entitled to free medical services, free housing and free education. Lybia today is destroyed , many people have died and have become refugees in other countries. I ask you all, this act of Hillary is that not bigotry? is that not cruelty? is that not coming from a sense of racial and cultural arrogance and false sense of superiority? Is this what you guys wanted as our president? She openly had disclosed that she was going after president Assan in Syria and consequently Russia, “nuclear bombs are still on the table” . Is this what you guys wanted? is this not real bigotry real sexism , real racism real cruelty? Her arrogance, she was sure she was going to win, so sure she was that the largest military occupation after world war 2 from NATO lead by the US has recently camped in Russias border. They were getting ready for when President Hilary Clinton took office. But thanks God for Trump and for people that voted for him, that has stopped this craziness.

    If any we need to give thanks for this business man who has had the courage and fortitude to go against establishment democrats, republicans, arm and oil groups, bankers, and a whole bunch of brainwashed liberals like yourself.

    1. If you’re waiting for Trump to “go against” bankers, Big Oil and the military-industrial complex, you have a verrrryyyy long wait coming, my friend. And I never said Hillary was perfect. I expressly said she was not. I don’t know if you have a personal connection with Libya. You seem very passionate about it. If you do, I am sorry about our policy there, which has gone badly for a variety of reasons. But Trump is a demagogue who has zero interest in policy or governance and we will have many occasions over the next four years to rue the day he decided to run for president.

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