Donald Trump seems to have entirely lost it this past week, having, what NBC News calls “the worst Week in presidential campaign history.” His supporters are not far behind. Some of us have long noted the similarities between Trump’s rhetoric and that of Adolf Hitler, and his supporters seem to have responded in kind, becoming a sort of brownshirt army for their leader.
Those who criticize Trump at his rallies certainly, but also online, quickly learn this. And as President Obama told New York magazine,
“There have been at least a couple of other times that I’ve said confidently that the fever is going to have to break, but it just seems to get worse.”
The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg has written about social media’s problems, including Trump’s favorite means of communication, Twitter, which negatively resonates with his dark energy, his supporters swarming like piranha at any perceived slight to their god.
Huffington Post‘s Julia Craven experienced this back in February of this year and wrote about her terrifying experiences. She was told as a black woman she would be given the choice between slavery and deportation, and to take comfort in the fact that she probably could not be fit into an oven. The language used, she says, was “racist, sexist, ableist or just generally awful.”
And look what happened to Megyn Kelly when she asked Donald Trump factual questions about his misogynist language. She was called a “trashy skank,” a “prostitute,” a “media whore” and worse by Trump supporters, who seemed determined to prove her point. Up until that moment, she was untouchable. But she made one decision, on the side of journalistic integrity, and Sean Hannity made another.
More recently, Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald has particularly felt the bite, having published several pieces critical of the would-be American Führer. It is without any sense of irony that these people take on the moniker “deplorable” as a badge of honor, and then engage in truly deplorable behavior.
As Eichenwald asked one of them online, “Why do u & so many others use ‘deplorable’ as sign of pride? Don’ u get its targeted at racists and nazis. U those?”
You don’t have to look far on social media to see other examples of this. You probably know somebody who has experienced such attacks. They miss entirely the point that threatening you, threatening your family, threatening to rape you, because you criticized their hero, is deplorable.
Rutenberg provides an example: “the Facebook message a local New Jersey politician wrote to the Daily Beast writer Olivia Nuzzi after she posted something about Mr. Trump that he did not like: ‘Hope. You. Get. Raped. By. A. Syrian. Refugee.’”
When people say you and your family should be turned into lampshades because you are Jewish, or because they think you are Jewish, they are proving Hillary Clinton’s point.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, when he announced a probe of the Trump Foundation, was called “just another lying kike grasping at straws” and the “JEW York Attorney General.”
They seem to have set no limits for their deplorable behavior. For example, Eichenwald’s response:
Let's talk about deplorables: They went after my CHILDREN on social media. Because I wrote some stories about their God. Sick, twisted ppl.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 3, 2016
Trump has sunk a pump into the lowest strata of the American psyche and dredged or sucked up its worst, most reprehensible elements, and mainstreamed them, promoting them as real Americans, as the people for whom he will make America great. This includes racists, misogynists, white supremacists, Anti-Semites, Islamophobes, Homophobes and every other hate demographic you care to mention.
When Hillary Clinton says “they go low, we go high” we really don’t have to aim all that high to sail past their heads. They’ve sunk that low. Eichenwald commented,
In fact, in terms of psycho ppl I've dealt with in decades of reporting, the only ones who are like Trump fans online were the pedophiles.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) October 2, 2016
If anything, their behavior has worsened, and that’s saying something. But as Trump flails helplessly under the weight of his own out-of-control ego, he and his supporters look about for somebody to blame, anybody but Trump.
And Trump is sinking fast. Outside of the so-called alt-right (funny that opponents of political correctness cling to a politically correct term for ‘racist’), he has no demographic in his corner outside of that portion of evangelicals who somehow find it possible to support the anti-Jesus, who embodies none of the values they claim to support.
We have seen the worst of humanity unleashed as a result of the Trump “movement.” Trump has made it possible for conservatives to feel okay about their racism. Because it turns out it’s not really racism, it’s just a denunciation of “political correctness.” They have many excuses for their racism. If you’ve argued with a Trump troll online you’ve probably heard most of them.
If Trump’s only coping skills are denial and attack, his supporters have shown they are no different.
It is impossible to believe that a “movement” that ennobles the absolute worst humanity has to offer, could have anything to do with making anything great again. If you’ve ever wondered, “Could it happen here,” the answer is yes, it could, and you’re seeing its cheerleaders all around you every time you join social media.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.