Monday, January 25, 2016

Explaining the Rise of Trump...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

America has certainly entered a new era of fear and paranoia. For the many Americans who take a broader and more in depth view of world events and what is driving them the fear and paranoia is indeed seen as irrational. The rise of Trump and other GOP candidates who have played to the fear factor does neither the GOP or our nation any good.

The following article, published by BBC, hits the nail squarely on its head, putting the rise of Trump in a historical perspective that is both interesting and accurate.

One startling feature of the latest race to become the next president of the US - which begins in earnest with next week's Iowa caucuses - is the runaway success in the opinion polls of the outspoken billionaire, Donald Trump. But this should not be so surprising, says Michael Goldfarb, as Trump is just the latest example of a tendency in American politics that goes back a very long way.


The simple four-letter word that works if you want to get elected. Political professionals know that playing on people's fears - going negative - is the way to win.


A somewhat fancier word that is used to describe excessive, irrational fear and distrust. It, too, works from time to time - in American politics, at least.

This current presidential season is one of those times. Donald Trump has surged to the front of the pack competing for the Republican Presidential nomination by giving voice to outsized fears many in America have - of illegal immigrants, of Islamic terrorists, of free trade agreements shipping American jobs to China.

Trump promises to make America Great Again - as if the US somehow was no longer the most powerful country in the world - by simple solutions: deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the US, and forcing the Chinese government to back down through tough talk.

The phrase "paranoid style in American politics" was coined by the late historian Richard Hofstadter. He defined the Paranoid Style, "an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent."

In a country that at its best radiates an infectious optimism, it is interesting how often fear has stalked the American landscape.

Richard Parker, who lectures on religion in the early days of America at Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government, traces paranoia in American public life back to the Salem Witch Trials in the late 17th Century and even before that, to the religious politics of the Mother Country.

Find much more BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. It's up to those who propagate the paranoia to knock it off. Trump is FOXenstein's Monster. FOX and the rest of the right wing punditry and pols and unpleasant rich people have been frightening the public, rather than informing and advocating, for years and years. Nothing new there. But now, with Trump, it's frightening to realize just how many Americans are now so ripe for fascism. A lot of really bad people, people well-respected on the right, carry a lot of responsibility for this.


  2. In the end we are all responsible for our choices and actions. It is always easier to pass blame to others than to look deeper. For many introspection is difficult, for some it is impossible.

  3. Trump ain't runnin' as a Democrat, Les. The right in this country, right now, is at a dangerous point, and the morons who've been playing around with this sort of public sentiment better knock it off or things will get ugly. I know my history, Les. Studied a lot. Trump is not an anomaly. He's an omen.


  4. Would a cephalopod be considered an illegal alien? If so, I need to find new digs.

  5. I agree Trump is a dangerous individual, just as all demagogues can be, if we let them convince us they are right. You know history, so do I. Many don't and many others simply choose to ignore the lessons of history.

    Fear is a powerful motivator and when we allow demagogoues to tap into the paranoia that lurks in the shadows the results are a Donald Trump, or a Ted Cruz, or a Marco Rubio.

    I say we because we are all Americans and to some degree whether one is a democrat or a republican they share responsibility for the state of our nation's political environment. At the same time I have, and will continue to acknowledge that republicans, especially the tea party, gave driven conservatism off the rails into the ditch. And they keep driving; with their eyes closed. A perfect situation for a demagogue like Trump.

    So you see Jersey I get that republicans and tea party folks have primarily been responsible for where are nasty politics are today. But it is almost never completely the fault of just one.

    Americans, and the American political system are complex and odd at the same time. We have met the enemy and it is us.

    1. BTW Jersey, I agree Trump is an omen; a bad one.

      The antidote is for rational thinking conservatives, and they do exist Jersey, to speak out loudly and forcefully against his insanity.

      I hear the ghosts of a bygone and nasty era emitting noise from Trump's (and others) mouth.

  6. If you find them (O)CT(O)PUS forward the directions to me, okay?

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