Lately, various writers, including some good friends, have expressed what might be called the “politics as usual” explanation of The Demagogue. They say that his triumphal march through the primaries should neither surprise nor alarm us, because he is merely appealing to the interests and the honor of his supporters, as politicians always do. He appeals to their interests, for example, by promising to stem the influx of illegal immigrants, and to their honor by mocking their mockers and defying the conventions of what may be said.
This argument is not exactly wrong, but it misses the most important thing. It is like answering the question “Why did the airplane blew up?” by saying that an intense exothermic reaction caused burning gasses to expand at high velocity and pressure. What we really need to know is how a bomb got into the luggage compartment.
Certainly The Demagogue has stoked the anger of those who fear unregulated immigration, but someone who supports him for this reason has to believe that he means what he says about it. How can anyone who is paying attention believe that he means what he says about anything? As Weekly Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes writes, “Trump says he'll rebuild the U.S. military and in the next sentence says he will cut military spending. He opposes entitlement reform and promises not to raise taxes but says he can eliminate $19 trillion in U.S. debt in eight years. He's been ... for and against changes to abortion law, for and against fighting ISIS, for and against outsourcing, for and against H-1B visas, for and against the Dream Act, for and against single-payer health care, for and against the Obamacare mandate, for and against gun control” – and, Hayes points out, for and against amnesty.
And certainly The Demagogue has mocked those who mock his supporters, but he mocks them himself: They have made of one of their chief scoffers a symbol of their pride. This is the man who brags that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody without losing voters, who disparages their patriotism by mocking their wartime heroes, who tramples their moral beliefs by boasting that he buys politicians and has been unfaithful to several former wives, and who shows how little he thinks of their faith by modestly declaring that he is too good to need God’s forgiveness.
Is it plausible that his followers do not know of these things? They were not said and done in a corner. The media dote on every word that falls from his lips. By one widely-reported estimate, he has received over $2 billion in free publicity. His followers know what kind of a man he is, but do not care.
They do – of course they do -- view him as the champion of their interests and honor. Considering how he makes sport of their honor and disserves their interests, what remains to be explained is how that is possible. Something is at work: Something darker, stranger, and more disturbing.
So I understand about the exothermic reaction. Now tell me about the bomb.