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David Atkins @DavidOAtkins
, 18 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1) A lot of people don't understand how a third of the country can have gone from "normal" Republicans to part of a Trump cult of personality. It's actually pretty simple...
2) A big part of it is that Trump is an overt racist and sexist who talks at a fourth grade level, so that makes a lot of older conservative dudes jump with joy that "someone like them" is in charge. But it's much deeper than that.
3) The Republican base has been stoked with an endless stream of delusional paranoid fantasies for the last 30 years by a barrage of right-wing media, from chain emails to Fox News to talk radio to Drudge, Breitbart, and the rest.
At the same time the country is not only undergoing demographic & cultural changes that are slowly decentering white men. It's also that many white working class communities really are disproportionately suffering, w/ lower life expectancies, dramatically worse education/health.
Unlike educated liberals, women and people of color who know better, these are people who really believe that capitalism is meritocracy, that those who work hard are rewarded by God and the market. They also believe their whiteness makes them culturally/genetically superior.
Combine all that with decades of conspiracy media, these are people who believe that their natural/God-given right to success is being trampled by nefarious forces conspiring against them to take away what they've earned.
So they feel like there's a vast "globalist" conspiracy to deprive them of what is rightfully theirs. The guns, the anti-semitism, the racism, the anger at college "indoctrination" and feminism all boil down to that.
But conspiracies are delicate things that can be broken, and they no longer believe they can dismantle the master's house with the master's tools. They need a Savior, a Champion.
9) The right-wing media played along with the idea that Trump is a brilliant mind, a powerhouse who can see all the conspiracies, is an earned billionaire, and will dismantle the powers that are keeping them from achieving their potential.
10) This is the right-wing media's fault--and partly the left's as well. What was needed to take down Trump wasn't to point to his ugly, boorish behavior. No one cared. What was needed was to point out that he's an idiot and incredibly corrupt, worse than the "establishment."
11) Nothing will now dissuade Trump cult of personality, because it's impervious to assault. Having built him up, the right-wing media cannot take him down. Any evidence that points to Trump's corruption or idiocy is simply the conspiracy/deep state trying to undo him.
12) But that's due to the pre-existing condition of a group of people who believe they should be doing MUCH better in their lives than they actually are, and they know that *someone* is keeping them down.
13) The entire internal battle on the left is whether you believe that re-orienting their anger toward the actual corporate/wall st forces that killed their factories will overwhelm their bigotry in some cases, or whether it's a totally lost cause. I believe the former.
14) But politics as usual is no longer operant with a huge segment of the electorate. They don't believe a rising tide lifts all boats. They don't believe in laissez-faire capitalism, or in managed liberalism. They believe dark and sinister forces are kneecapping their success.
15) Ironically, this is not far off from what most millennials and dem socialists believe as well--just without the bigoted elements. What the two have in common is an orientation around political anger, outrage and a desire for justice against the corrupt.
16) People want Trump to be a temporary phenomenon on the right, but he isn't. The figure at the top of the cult of personality may change, but the overall political orientation is here to stay.
17) The era of laissez-faire genteel Republicanism is dead mostly because its policies failed its base, and its media stoked them on conspiracy theories.

But the era of managerial liberalism is ALSO dying for very similar reasons, and is having similar effects.
18) Democracy as we know it is going to collapse unless people regain a sense of justice. That's going to take economic restructuring, and it's going to take frogmarching a lot of white collar criminals.

The country cannot heal until it regains a sense of justice.
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