Introductory note. This is an opinion piece written by Ricardo Silvestre, of the Democratas.
My interest in American politics is not purely academic. Having lived in the United States for four years, especially since the tumultuous post-Sept. 11, to the first year of the second term of the George W. Bush Administration.
During the first year, I was involved in such opposite discussions as defending America against Americans who thought that the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been way to little, and that America “deserved much worse,” until having to tell other Americans that they couldn’t get their perspective on the world where things were resolved by “launching a nuclear bomb on Iraq and make the country a gas station”.
It was at this point that I became interested in the Democratic Party. Although Al Gore and John Kerry lost the presidential election (Al Gore did not lose, but…), when a first-term Senator from Illinois, a Barack Hussein Obama, emerged as the most radiant star of the Democrats, I believed that the party was in good hands (although I was “at the distance” a supporter of Hillary, which happened again in 2016).
However, I always thought that political extremism in the USA, like the rest of the country, is big, and that had room to grow. If the more “radical” wing of the Democratic Party, especially of independents who end up voting for the Dems, became very visible (and disruptive) in the last elections, with the Bernie supporters wreaking havoc (and continuing to do), what happened inside the Republicans was “phenomenal”.
The Tea Party had already shown how much the more conservative / libertarian wing of teh GOP may be dysfunctional.
However, since Trump made his first speech as an official candidate for the Republican nomination, things turned insane.
It is not worth reviewing all the arguments that Donald Trump made as a candidate, or how much the FOX News News, Breitbart News, Drudge Report, InfoWars helped propel the Trump candidacy, or even foreign aid, by Kremlin operatives to sow bad information and negative stories in the American electorate. What is worth discussing is who continues, and will continue, to support the President of the United States, even if he is not qualified to lead the country.
Trump won the Electoral College and had 46.1% of the vote. At present, the polls give him, in terms of support, between 35 and 38% of the electorate. Reliable indicators say that the lowest value Trump can reach is between 30 to 33%. These 30%, let’s say, 35 million Americans, did not vote for Trump. They voted yes for an idea, which, by chance, is personified by Trump.
I am often confronted, by my friends and acquaintances, with the question “But how is it possible that Trump continues to have so many people who say he supports him, no matter what he does?” Because, for these Americans, economic issues, or military, or social issues are not important. The cultural one are.
These 35 million Americans like the idea that a white Republican President can destroy the legacy of a successful, black President. That liberals, and their progressive ideas, be ashamed, and if possible, humiliated. That foreigners be treated like citizens of second, and that minorities know that it is still the white establishment that commands the country. Because these voters, having no education, despise whoever has it, and make use of it. Because they are not sophisticated, they abhor who has it, and act on that principle. Because they do not understand the complexity of things, they hate anyone who has a more elaborated opinion.
Because within these 35 million, many are, and will be racists, xenophobes, misogynists, homophobics, religious intolerants, and they will hate anyone who advocates the reverse of teir beliefs, and advocates for a pluralistic, inclusive, socially and economically just, America.
Trump has already lost almost half of the Republican electorate who voted for him because they “wanted a change,” and now they seen the terrible mistake they made. However, the other half, the one who says they are comfortable with the idea that Trump can become a dictator, if he is their type of dictator, they will remain faithful until, and as our American friends say, the bitter end .
We hope that end comes sooner than later.
(This Op-Ed is from the responsability of Ricardo Silvestre)