by Robert Gore
Donald Trump has been a godsend to the punditry. Articles from all angles have analyzed his appeal, from: he’s a demagogue who appeals to the worst impulses of his supporters; to: he gives an honest voice to deep angst about America’s politics, politicians, and government. Most of the analyses say more about the analyzer than the analyzed, and this article will not be another addition to the pile. Rather, the Trump phenomenon exemplifies a dangerous and destructive proclivity to ignore the obvious, to pump in intellectual fog to obscure what should be clear, and to turn the straightforward into an incomprehensible jumble of complexity.
Trump’s slogan is: “Make America Great Again.” That means that America is no longer great, which is simply the truth. The US has gone heavily into debt and faces a demographic and fiscal nightmare as the baby boom generation retires and demands the benefits it has promised itself. Robbing Peter to pay Paul has destroyed Paul’s ability to provide for himself, and eroded Peter’s incentives to produce. Never-ending wars on poverty, drugs, and terrorism have promoted social pathologies, the growth of violent gangs, and blowback chaos and mass migration without putting a dent in poverty, drug use, or terrorism. A string of military forays stretching back to the Korean war have wasted US treasure and lives and have been at best, inconclusive, and at worst, outright defeats. The government has become a massive honeypot for the politically astute and connected. Race relations have reached a fifty-year low during the tenure of the first black president. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. It has made matters far worse that the elite habitually lies about its incompetence and corruption.