Of the 4,000 mammalian species, only chimps and humans make war. Relentlessly, ruthlessly, ferociously. Both species have been at it forever. Hunter-gatherers were not a harmless people. Up to 30% of their male population died violently. Not like Gettysburg, where 30% of Lee’s army got killed in three days. No, one warrior at a time, in season and out, as inexorably as the waxing and waning of the moon. If the modern world suffered such losses, they would add up to two billion dead.
And who, invariably, is the enemy, whether 50,000 years ago or at a Trump rally?
Trump started his campaign in 2011 with his Birther offensive. Who is this Barack Hussein Obama, this athletic blackman, born someplace called Kenya? Must be out of Africa. Not a member of our tribe, that’s for sure. Trump didn’t undertake his Birther conspiracy out of respect for James Madison. He wouldn’t give two African figs for The Constitution. He was after The Other! “I’ll launch my presidential run there,” thought the Donald.
If you were exiled from your group, let’s say for unacceptable behavior, you would not survive. Or if your group didn’t survive, you wouldn’t either. The success of your tribe was a matter of life and death, Us vs. Them. Good guys vs. Bad guys. 24 hours, 7 days, 52 weeks a year!
In the 17th century, David Hume recognized that moral judgments are powered by emotions, not reason. Trump understands this. He doesn’t bother with reason. He stirs up hatred and contempt for all others, gathering his enlarging tribe – perhaps numerous enough to win the election! – into a group of fanatics. How does he do it? Mexicans – The Other. John McCain and prisoners of war? – The Other. Gold Star Muslim families? – The Other. Obama’s generals? – The Other. Purple Heart recipients – The Other.
Only One Group, One Leader.
Trump takes our collective breath away. Genius can be simply doing something to the very extreme. That’s our Donald! Folks can’t believe Trump can ride rough-shod over every group, including the Republican party. How does he do it?
Hillary found an answer, what she describes as Trump’s basket of deplorables. Yes! Yes! Let me explain. Some 25% of every population consists of borderlines, psychotics, paranoids, recruits for the White Supremacists, Islamophobics, homophobes, and so forth. They make up roughly half of Trump’s base. But the other half of his tribe are the victims of deplorable politics. They have lost faith in our government. Help is NOT on the way. On the day of Obama’s inauguration, some twenty Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, vowed to make Obama fail. They would bring his government to a standstill. It was there for the taking – a black President. The Other. Perfect.
Hillary has to now double down on her insight. She must expose this Republican betrayal of our political system. Chapter and verse. Such as the Senate not acting on judicial appointments, including the Supreme Court; the House not authorizing funds for infrastructure; Republican governors denying Medicaid to millions, even though paid for by the Federal government. Hillary offers a White House and a Democratic Congress that will make the fierce battles inevitable in a democracy not deplorable, but a work to be done. She must spell out that The Other is not a Party. The Other is our country and its needs.
Under Republicans, The Other is Us! Their deplorable betrayal of American politics has made the unthinkable thinkable, – Trump as President. “What do you have to lose if you elect me?” asks the greart charlatan.