Tell me, can you imagine a presidential candidate -- anyone! -- that all Americans could get behind? Someone who would unite the country and somehow erase the schisms that rip the nation apart now?
Thirty-five years ago, it wasn't so hard to imagine. I'm not saying that Ronald Reagan was such a person, that liberals fawned on him too. I just think that in 1980, Americans were still capable of unifying behind such a candidate. And such a candidate could have found compromises in Washington and worked even with those he disagreed with.
I can't imagine that now. There's too much anger, utter distrust, back-stabbing and hate. So much animosity. Liberals and conservatives -- whether in the Senate chamber or standing next to each other in WalMart -- loathe each other. They want to destroy each other. The gloves are off; it's all-out war.
That's why Trump is racing to the top. When people feel trod upon, as conservatives certainly do after eight years of Obama, they only want someone who will beat up the opposition. They don't care about much else, except that he be an overbearing bully. Conservatives have stopped caring about party platform and policies. People don't care about such things when survival itself is at stake.
Liberals should understand that they've done a good job of convincing conservatives that life as we know it is over. That abortion-on-demand and the gay agenda and universal healthcare and high taxes and whoppin' big government are here to stay. That doesn't make conservatives squeal "uncle!" anymore than it would liberals. It makes them look for a bigger persuader. Trump is it.
We can scream all we want that Trump is a joke, a horror, a thug, a schoolyard bully. We should understand that his supporters love him for those very reasons. Well, all but one. He is no joke. This political situation is no joke.
I personally believe that a new wave of nationalism is wafting across the planet. Conservatives seem to welcome it. We re-brand it "patriotism" and "defending our country."But make no mistake: when Trump speaks of throwing people out, of registering certain religious groups, of restricting movement, of rejecting refugees, he's spouting radically un-American ideas. That's the language of Nazism. The reason I find Trump so terrifying is that he's perfectly willing to use the federal government to slam huge restrictions and restraints on the American population, while at the same time not caring a trice for the deep ideals that conservatives still hold dear, somewhere in their hearts. Trump, reduce government? Not likely. Trump, interested in reversing liberal social trends? That's laughable. Trump will be an oaf and a bully. Sadly, conservatives who vote for him may find he turns that bullying on them as well when it suits him. He's not very picky about such things.
I believe the conservative agenda has shifted significantly. I don't hear Republicans talk anymore about the things that used to matter to them. They're against people, they're on the ground, their noses in the dust. They have nothing to lose. The nation should pay attention to this election. That many people, led by a bully, with nationalism as their new song, are very worrying indeed.