Friday, April 29, 2016 9:50 AM
Republicans are stupid. Republicans politicians are just smart enough to get paid by the rich and by corporations for advocating stupid legislature, but the Republican voter is unabashedly stupid, voting against his or her best interests, voting against science, voting against common sense. Republicans politicians cultivated stupidity in the party’s ranks for many years—‘teaching the controversy’ on many issues that sensible people considered settled, using ‘dog-whistles’ to attract certain ‘patriotic’-seeming hates, and persistently reassuring white Christian males that they were the apex of humanity (all that ‘equality’ nonsense aside).
So when twelve or so Republican presidential candidates took the field, way back when, they were all different flavors of stupid—you had conventional stupid (a la Bush Dubya, or rather, brother Jeb), religion-crazed stupid (a la Cruz), overtly corrupt stupid (a la Chris Christie), and just plain bat-shit crazy stupid, which appears to be the shoe-in for nomination. The Republicans wanted their voters good and stupid—but then were shocked to find that they supported the stupidest candidate that ever ran for the office. That’s pretty stupid.
Then they all got behind Ted Cruz, whom Boehner recently described as ‘the most miserable son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever worked with’—a man reviled by virtually all of his colleagues—merely because he was the only viable alternative to their front-runner, who they hate even more for his being an outsider, with his own brand of stupid. Any reasonable, intelligent group of people would have thrown up their hands at this point—but not the Republicans. Now that Trump has forced himself upon them, you can be sure that they will back his candidacy with the same wooden-headed stubbornness that they use to deny racism, climate change, or the nature of homosexuality.
The front page of the Times today has a story about how Trump is attacking Clinton with veiled sexism—and that the Democrats are ‘scrambling’ to find a way to counter this attack. I find that obtuse. And I’m upset that Republican stupidity has found legitimacy in the media, purely on the basis of its having become their political platform. I’m sorry, Republicans (and the NY Times) but stupid is stupid—it doesn’t need to be defended against, except when talking to Republicans. Trump’s appeal is confined to people angry enough to want conflict instead of compromise—even with the evidence of how conflict within the legislature paralyzes our government staring them in the face. These voters don’t want things done right, they want things done fast—thinking about whether it’s right or not is just more of that ‘political correctness’ that they blame for all their problems.
In fact, a vote for Trump is a way of quoting that old John Candy flic, “Canadian Bacon”, where a guy at the bar says, “There’s a time for thinking and a time for action—and this is no time for thinking.” In the movie, it’s meant as a joke, a witty one-liner—but for Trump, it’s a campaign slogan that his adherents would unthinkingly agree with.
We have a two-party system, so naturally we think of them as equals—but there is no equivalence between Trump and Clinton. Clinton is a lifelong public servant with knowledge and experience far beyond the average citizen—Trump is an average citizen with a lot of money and a big mouth. And I think I’m being kind with the use of ‘average’—‘below average’ might be more correct.
Americans, by and large, are not fans of big thoughts or deep thinking—that’s nothing new. But we used to elect people to office who were smarter than us, just so they could do the thinking for us. This idea of electing someone just as stupid as the least of us, because he ‘represents’ us, is a new low. Apparently, even once every four years is too often to ask American voters to think.
Most people could have told you a year ago that Trump would be the Republican, and Clinton the Democratic nominee, and that Clinton would crush him in the general. We’ve all known this for some time. But the media persist in scaring us, creating dramatic tension (and ratings) by constantly asking the question, “Will America be stupid enough to vote in Trump?” Everyone knows the answer is a resounding ‘no’. But the media can’t accept that—there’s no excitement in a foregone conclusion—so they take a page from the Republicans, and ‘teach the controversy’.