If you look around over the last week there are a number of highly sophisticated Republican voices arguing that Donald Trump is the sort of demagogue and potential strongman our political system was designed to prevent from gaining power in our country. They are portentous and ominous words and true in many respects. But they would be far more credible if so many Republicans – not necessarily the same writers, but countless formal and informal spokespersons including numerous high-ranking elected officials – hadn’t spent the last seven years ranting that the temperamentally cautious and cerebral Barack Obama was a ‘dictator’ who was trampling the constitution.
This isn’t just a ‘gotcha’ or ‘so there’ – though frankly that alone would be more than merited. But as I noted a couple weeks ago, they are inextricably connected. Trumpism is the product of many things. But a key one of them, perhaps the key enabling one, is years of originating and pandering to increasingly apocalyptic and hyperbolic conspiracy theories, fantasies and fever dreams which put middle aged white men up against the metaphorical wall with a thug, foreign, black nationalist, anti-colonialist Barack Obama shaking them down for their money, their liberty, their women and even their lawn furniture.
As I noted, there’s now a margin call on this build up of ‘nonsense debt’ and ‘hate debt’. And it appears impossible to cover.