Trump, Hitler, Whites Who Did Not Attend College, and Tuesday

Don’t kid yourself. This is still tight. Trump’s bet is on the same demographic Hitler made his bet on in 1933: the non-college educated who live outside of the cities. In places like Berlin, you had many highly educated people embracing modernism. They lived in a mental universe that was worlds apart from those living beyond the cities. Most of the educated couldn’t imagine voting for Hitler. But when you got out of the cities, it was a different story. One of the perplexities that intellectuals wrestled with after World War II, which ended just a dozen years after Hitler rose to power, was how the country of Einstein and Goethe could have succumbed to so ludicrous a charlatan and psychopath as Hitler. How different the history of Germany and the world would have been without him! If Trump wins, then sometime around 2028, a dozen years from now, after the ruin of our Republic’s institutions and perhaps a nuclear weapons usage incident, intellectuals–if there are any left–will be asking how the land of Silicon Valley and Thomas Jefferson went mad for so very, very little. One thing this election has brought home to me is how fragile the separation of powers are in this country–and how vulnerable the country is to a well-financed authoritarian takeover. It’s scary and it’s close. And it’s scary because it’s close.

_____

A potential victory for Donald J. Trump may hinge on one important (and large) group of Americans: whites who did not attend college.
NYTIMES.COM|BY FORD FESSENDEN

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in atheism, climate change, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, Politics, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Trump, Hitler, Whites Who Did Not Attend College, and Tuesday

  1. colinhutton says:

    Hi Santi

    I last commented here a year ago; 29 October 2015, in response to your post of 24 Oct. in which you predicted that HRC would win.

    You have surprised me over the past year by abandoning any semblance of the moderation and considered argument which has (mostly) previously characterized your posts over the 6 years I have been following. Which is why I have not, until now, been minded to comment recently, even though I have been following the campaign (spectacle?) compulsively.

    This post suggests to me, however, that you have now tipped over into total irrationality. Hopefully the insanity is temporary.

    My comment a year ago was to the effect that Hillary was characterized by a total lack of professional and personal integrity and a honed skill in telling self-serving brazen lies. Everything that has since emerged confirms it. In my opinion she is unfit to hold any public office, least of all the presidency.

    Trump is extremely dubious. However, his popularity is a symptom, not the cause, of the extreme and dangerous polarization of your society. I believe he is likely to suitably modify aspects of the ‘undesirable’ behaviour and goals he has exhibited in his capacity as a private citizen if he were elected. He is the better of the two options.

    You may already have voted. If not, I hope you will consider that, although an outside onlooker from ‘downunder’, I do have an interest in the outcome. I have US$40 to win US$200 (total vote count) riding on Trump.
    I need your vote! : )

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. You said, “I believe he is likely to suitably modify aspects of the ‘undesirable’ behaviour and goals he has exhibited in his capacity as a private citizen if he were elected.”

      That’s not a bet I’d take. Having said that, if he does win, I’d probably give it a year before entering the streets in protest against him. If he wins, I think I’ll end up in jail before it’s all over. I’d love to be proven wrong about him being a fascist because I have children. It’s not a game to me, or a bet. I want the bad consequences I fear to not materialize, but I won’t sit idly by watching them materialize. If he behaves like a normal politician, I’ll leave it be for four or eight years–and be thankful the country survived Trump without fundamentally serious consequences.

      But if you feel I’ve been hyperbolic through this election cycle, I understand. I am using the f-word (fascist) to describe Trump, and that would be hyperbolic in any other election year, save this one.

      If you think back over the past 75 years, there have been only three times when we’ve faced a potentially catastrophic derailing of our republic and the world: WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Donald Trump having the power of the presidency and the nuclear biscuit. We’ve dodged two of these, and the last one we can dodge in today’s election.

      I would call your attention to what Roger Angell, a WWII veteran and longtime writer for The New Yorker, wrote just two months back: “I’m late weighing in on this election—late in more ways than one. Monday brought my ninety-sixth birthday, and, come November, I will be casting my nineteenth ballot in a Presidential election. My first came in 1944, when I voted for a fourth term for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my Commander-in-Chief, with a mail-in ballot from the Central Pacific, where I was a sergeant in the Army Air Force. It was a thrilling moment for me, but not as significant as my vote on November 8th this year, the most important one of my lifetime. My country faces a danger unmatched in our history since the Cuban missile crisis, in 1962, or perhaps since 1943, when the Axis powers held most of Continental Europe, and Imperial Japan controlled the Pacific Rim, from the Aleutians to the Solomon Islands, with the outcome of that war still unknown.”

      I feel strongly, as an American who is trying to protect the Anglo-French Enlightenment from a Herderian, that we should soundly vanquish Trump tomorrow, not just for ourselves, but for Roger Angell.

      And since you’ve been so kind as to thoughtfully share with me your honest thoughts on election day, I’d like to ask you your opinion of the post I wrote (see link below) where I justify my use of the word fascist with Trump. I’m not using it flippantly, but your outsider view might be helpful for me to gain additional perspective. Thanks again for entering this thread to discuss the election at so pivotal a moment. I hope you have a bit of time to discuss this a bit more with me.

      https://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/ur-fascism-what-would-umberto-eco-say-about-donald-trumps-movement/

      • colinhutton says:

        Hi Santi

        I am glad that I was correct when I judged that you would not take my confrontational comment seriously amiss. I will definitely enjoy taking up your offer to continue the discussion further, and will do so. I am not a fast writer, however, and trust you will allow me a bit of time to do so at some length. Even though the drama it will by then be well and truly ‘history’.

        I have the tv on in the background (on mute) (late afternoon Wednesday down here). Not sure which broadcaster this channel is taking its live feed from. Anyway, looking at the numbers flashing up on the screen, I’m starting to feel that my $200 is looking good.

        You must have obliged me with your vote! : )

        ‘Early days’, however, and I have no understanding of your system – ‘electoral college’ votes etc. So suspending any hope that T will win.

        Will get back with another comment in several days time.

  2. colinhutton says:

    While you sleep. Now watching a live feed from CNN. The consternation is hil(l)arious.

    Sorry. : )

    • Staffan says:

      Yay! Although Santi and plenty other on the Left are decent people. But they will never understand that changing demographics have put America on the road to decline. Trump is the only politician who takes that problem seriously.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Hi Staffan and Colin:

      You two wise guys are rubbing it in a bit here. : )

      The next several years of a Trump presidency will be interesting, to say the least. I genuinely hope he’s successful. I share Obama’s and Hillary’s opinion that we need to wish him success. It’s much better for the world and country if Trump proves not to fulfill any of our worst fears. I’ll be curious to hear from the two of you as things proceed (your perspective, etc.).

      I think the word to watch going forward is trust. Global trade and capitalism aren’t ultimately supported by gold reserves or dollars in circulation, but on trust. Trust. The danger going forward with Trump is that humans won’t trust one another globally–or even in our domestic politics within the United States.

      I’m suggesting that trust is our most precious commodity, and if faith or trust feels like functioning without a net, that’s okay because it’s how human beings have always made progress. If you don’t have empathy for the other, and if you’re demonizing them all the time, then you’re not going to trade with them. You’ve got to trust people.

      It’s why “lock her up” was potentially so corrosive. Fortunately, Obama and Hillary graciously brought down the temperature yesterday, and Trump seems to be reciprocating. If Trump shows himself to be a tough negotiator as president, but otherwise to be a kind and cooperative human being in foreign and domestic policy, tolerant of dissent, he’ll prove successful. I think he has that potential–but also the potential to start wars. We’ll see which Trump shows up. But it’s like the last lines at the very end of Woody Allen’s Manhattan: “Everybody gets corrupted. You’ve got to have a little faith in people.”

      • Staffan says:

        “Yay!” was a bit tactless, I withdraw that. I hope he does well to, but even though I wished for this, I still think of him as the lesser of two evils. And I think your right about trust, more than anything else the West was built on trust, the basis for non-kin cooperation. And as it loosened the bond of kinship it also made us more individualistic and creative. We began to think in terms of ideas and principles, instead of just following tradition and authority. All of it boils down to trust.

  3. colinhutton says:

    Hi Santi

    How America goes, so goes the rest of the West. (The WSJ promotes itself in the Australian print media with the slogan “American politics is everybody’s business”. True) In short, my view is that it was critical, as much for us as for you, that the US got it right. I would have been viscerally disappointed had T lost. I should have related to the fact that you would feel the opposite. But nobody has ever accused me of having a high EQ.
    My remarks did reveal an element of schadenfreude, that most unworthy of emotions. Apologies. A good riposte, might have been “Sorry to see you lost your $40!”.

  4. colinhutton says:

    Hi Santi / Staffan
    On “Trust” :
    Your points on the centrality of trust are well made.
    My view is that trust by voters in their governing establishments has been largely destroyed in all Western democracies (to varying degrees) over the past 25 years. One of the prime causes is lies, half-truths and evasions by politicians. Lies include politician’s promises if it later becomes apparent that they could never have had any intention of even starting down the path which might lead to those promises being fulfilled (“You can fool some of the people ….. “)

    Given a choice between a proven inveterate liar and, on that score, an unknown, a significant number of voters will prefer the latter. I think that was one of many reasons why Trump prevailed.

    He got off to a very good start with his acceptance speech, in my opinion. No hint of triumphalism, which could have been excused given the forces which had lined up to oppose him. Magnanimity; but not overdone. An interesting omission of the seemingly obligatory ‘God bless America’.
    Only time will tell how he scores on trust and lies.

    On “Fascist” :
    I plan to comment further – probably at the most recent post.

  5. Staffan says:

    “Given a choice between a proven inveterate liar and, on that score, an unknown, a significant number of voters will prefer the latter. I think that was one of many reasons why Trump prevailed.”

    True. But there is a deeper distrust stemming from the fact that both parties, along w the media and Wall Street, are running things over people’s heads. It was really about voting Trump or giving up altogether. That, I think, explains how he could talk like he did about women and still get the majority of White female voters.

  6. Santi Tafarella says:

    I’m slow on the uptake here, but thanks for your first thoughts on Trump. We’ll see how it plays out.

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