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Renowned political satirist, Robert Brenner, is Different Truth’s columnist. His take on democracy and the forthcoming American Presidential Election will have you in splits.
Hello! I’m an American! I’ll let you decide for yourself how typical I am or not.
I thought I’d talk to you Indian guys about American politics. After all, we’re both democracies. That’s something we have in common. (Although some smarty-pants Princeton professors claim we’re really an oligarchy. I’ll get into that some other time.)
I thought I’d start out by explaining to you about Donald Trump. You may already be familiar with Mr. Trump from that reality TV show, Celebrity Apprentice.
He was the host who liked to yell “YOU’RE FIRED!” at C-list celebrities like Meatloaf and Gary Busey. (NBC recently fired Mr. Trump himself and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. “YOU’RE TERMINATED!”) Yes, that’s his real hair. No, I don’t know why he wears it that way.
Before he was a game show host and carnival barker, he was a successful businessman with multiple bankruptcies, and a successful husband with multiple divorces. He is a self-made billionaire, if by self-made you mean inheriting a fortune from your father. He also owns the Miss Universe beauty pageant, which is strange since he doesn’t like foreigners.
Now he’s running for President of the United States as a Republican. Due to recent changes in party rules, anyone can enter the primaries, no matter how unqualified. This is known as the Palin Paradox.
He launched his campaign with a bang by calling Mexicans murderers, rapists, and drug dealers. An equal opportunity offender, he has since gone on to insult blacks, women, Muslims, the disabled, and Jews. (Don’t worry, Hindus—he’ll get around to you eventually.) He has even attacked Senator John McCain, a Vietnam war hero and fellow Republican, and Megyn Kelly, a Fox news anchor and fellow bimbo.
Attacking Ms. Kelly is not so surprising. Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch is another billionaire blowhard with bad hair. (It’s easy to tell them apart: Trump looks like an angry orangutan; Murdock resembles a livid lizard.) Apparently two colossal egos like that can’t coexist in the same hemisphere.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Trump has run for President. He ran four years ago, but dropped out when too many questions were raised about his finances. Depending on the day of the week, Mr. Trump sets his net worth at anyway between two and eleven billion US dollars, a wide spread.
Before he ran for President, Mr. Trump spearheaded the Birther movement. Birthers believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, hence isn’t qualified to be President. Mr. Obama was famously raised by a single mother on food stamps, yet rose to the highest office in the land. Mr. Trump seems to have a problem with a real self-made man.
This time Mr. Trump seems to be in the race for good, much to the regret of Republican insiders. He won’t get the nomination, let alone be elected President, but he is preventing legitimate candidates like Governors Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie from getting any traction.
These same Republican insiders are trying to figure out how to force Mr. Trump out of the race, but it won’t be easy. Mr. Trump has threatened to run as a third-party candidate if he isn’t treated “fairly” by the Republican party. If he does, he will take his supporters with him, splitting the GOP, and guaranteeing the Democratic nominee—i.e., Hillary Clinton—winning the general election.
So who are Donald Trump’s supporters? They are overwhelmingly straight, white, Christian, male, and—key identifier—uneducated. The technical term for them is “pond scum.” They are the dregs of the Tea Parties, the far rightwing of the Republican party.
They admire Mr. Trump for his “authenticity.” He really is a xenophobic demagogue. They respect him for “saying it like it is.” He articulates whatever pops into his skull. They applaud him for being “politically incorrect.” He is a bigot, just like them.
Some people claim Donald Trump is a fascist. This is insulting to fascists. At least fascists have an ideology. Trump doesn’t believe in anything, except his ability to bullshit voters. So far he isn’t completely wrong.
So how is your democracy going?
Your American friend, Robert Brenner
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Robert Brenner is a columnist, satirist, and critic. In addition to blogging for the Huffington Post, his work has appeared in New York Magazine, Grin & Tonic, Open Salon, Theory In Action, and Happy.