Donald Trump & George Wallace: More Than Just Demagoguery

George Wallace campaigns in 1962 on behalf of aggrieved white dudes across Dixie

George Wallace campaigns in 1962 on behalf of aggrieved white dudes across Dixie.

As the presidential primaries bleed into an American spring that’s sure to be unlike any other in recent political memory, one thing has remained bewilderingly consistent: Donald Trump has made the Republican Party his chew toy, and like a stubborn beagle who just found your favorite pair of socks, he isn’t letting go. Whether the boorish billionaire wins or loses the GOP’s presidential nomination, he’s already made his bug-splatter-like mark on the American national windshield, and it’s gonna take a hell of a lot scrubbing to clean off.

Plenty of commentators (including your’s truly) have placed Trump within a rich tradition of American demagoguery. Few comparisons, however, have been more apt than the striking similarities between The Donald and Deep-South reactionary George Wallace, who ran for president during the 1960s and 1970s on a platform of reactionary racism, crude anti-intellectualism, and economic populism.

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Why Liberalism Matters in the 2016 Election and Beyond

Bernie Sanders yells at those damn kids to get off his lawn, while Hillary Clinton smiles thinking about her next check from Wall Street.

Bernie Sanders yells at those damn kids to get off his lawn, while Hillary Clinton smiles thinking about her next check from Wall Street.

Hey, you, the person reading this. Do you know what it means to be a liberal? Depending on your own political persuasion, being liberal might make you a firm believer in liberty, equal opportunity, and the right to pursue an economic system that distributes the benefits of capitalism more broadly across the citizenry. Or, being a liberal might make you a Stalinist, Marxist, atheist, pantheist, freedom-hating, abortion-craving, tree-fondling, Chick-fil-A scorning, queer-o-sexual menace to Jesus and the Constitution that He wrote.

Either way, liberalism inspires passionate opinions in American society.

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Trump and the Revenge of the Middle-American Radicals

Donald Trump greets a mob of deranged Middle-American radcials in Alabama, a state where crazy is a prerequisite for political office.

Donald Trump greets a mob of deranged middle-American Radicals in Alabama, a state where crazy is a prerequisite for political office.

American politics has always stood as the ultimate confirmation of the notion, roughly quoted from Winston Churchill, that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. In 2015, no phenomenon better demonstrated this truism than the rise and impressive staying power of bellicose billionaire Donald J. Trump, who floated like a piece of solid waste to the bubbling surface of the Republican Party septic tank and has remained there ever since.

With a brazen combination of Tourettes-like “straight talk,” anti-immigrant nativism, bone-headed “kiss me, I’m rich” charm, and the seemingly inherent gift of never overestimating the intelligence of the average white American slob, Trump turned what many Washington pundits dismissed as yet another political ego-stroke by an eccentric billionaire into a full-throttled run for the GOP presidential nomination. Indeed, much to the dismay of Republican Party elites, 2015 was the Year of the Trump, and his uncouth dominance of the early presidential race has many party king makers worried that The Donald’s low-brow moron style of campaigning simply won’t play well outside of the bone-strewn pit of Middle American Radicalism.

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Trump and the Pungent Politics of Exclusivity

Donalnd Trump trumpets the politics of exclusivity in Richmond, VA. Former capital of the Old Confederacy.

Donald Trump trumpets the politics of exclusivity in Richmond, VA, the former capital of the Old Confederacy.

Donald Trump is a boorish, brash, braggadocious blowhard. He’s the kind of guy who’s richer than — and therefore better than — you, and if you don’t agree, then you’re an idiot. He’s tailor-made for the shame-drained slime bucket that is American politics. This fact ought to be a no-brainer at this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, but America’s over-paid beltway media fluffers still can’t comprehend why the GOP voting base laps up Trump’s uncouth stew of xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, and overt plutocrat sanctification like a St. Bernard who’s jowls-deep in a bowl of gravy-slathered kibble.

In an article for Reuters, for example, Bill Schneider claims that Trump is a new kind of candidate, an unholy, Frankensteinian daemon cross between “the political outsider and the fringe candidate.” This makes the blustery, ball-capped billionaire all the more perplexing to Schneider, who observes that, “Trump is a multibillionaire running against the establishment. He’s a candidate with no coherent political philosophy running as a conservative champion. It doesn’t make sense. But, so far, it’s working.” Trump’s conservative grass-roots appeal confuses the American punditocracy because they don’t want to admit that the secret to U.S. politics is exclusivity: that those with their grubby white maws already stuck in the national cookie jar will always vote to exclude other groups who are demanding some crumbs of their own.

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Pope Francis vs. the Conservative Marxists

Pope Francis has rankled American right-wing toadstools by daring to place human rights over profits.

Pope Francis has rankled right-wing toadstools because American conservatives are Marxists when it comes to the issue of economic materialism.

Break out your Papal Tiaras, rock your rosaries, and stoke your stigmatas, because the one-and-only steward to the sanctified seat of Saint Peter; the Internationally Infallible Grand Poobah of Apostolic awesomeness himself — Pope Francis — is touring America.

This fall’s papal visit marks the first time that the Argentine-born Francis (née Jorge Mario Bergoglio) has placed his slippered paws onto U.S. soil, and he’s causing quite a stir, especially among American wingnuts who haven’t taken kindly to Francis’ refusal to act like Ayn Rand in a white beanie.

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So Many Victories! The Anatomy of a Trump Speech

Trump in Dallas, Texas. This speech was freakin' yoooooooooge.

Trump in Dallas, Texas. This speech was freakin’ yoooooooooge.

Sigh. Donald Trump. The erstwhile joke campaign of America’s favorite, squirrel-bouffanted, braggadocious billionaire has heretofore beat the Washington punditocracy’s expectations and not only survived the first presidential primary summer, but also thrived.

Need proof? The Donald’s poll numbers are through the roof. He’s racked up approvals from two-thirds of Republican primary voters, and he’s crushing more traditional GOP nutballs like Ted Cruz and Jeb “Son of Poppy, Brother of Dubya” Bush. Former neurosurgeon — and current bedlamite — Dr. Ben Carson has enjoyed some movement in the polls, but his numbers haven’t been YOOOOOGE like Trump’s. But if you want some REAL data on why Trump has more and more Republican voters basking in the glow of his combed-over Collossalness, just take a look at the September 14 speech he yawped out in Dallas, Texas.

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Why Labor Day — and Labor — Still Matters in America

Scott Walker proudly demonstrates his selling of Wisconsin to Koch Industries.

By framing anti-labor ideology as “freedom,” conservatives like Scott Walker (above, framed by smiling, white assholes) have convinced Americans that the way to get ahead in the world is to pull someone else down.

Every year, the long Labor Day weekend rolls across the American landscape, spurring millions to fire up their consecrated backyard pyres for the purpose of sacrificing vacuum-sealed mammal and poultry parts — all to celebrate getting a few days off from a job they’re lucky to even have. Indeed, Labor Day has now become a largely hollow observance of late-summer soft hedonism; a chance for Americans to kick back and grasp a few days worth of respite from the soul-devouring drudgery that defines the majority of their time on earth.

Labor Day’s transformation — from a day honoring the sacrifices of the Labor Movement into a rare respite from the relentless capitalist domination of human life — speaks to the totalitarian grip that the consumer-based market leviathan now holds on the collective American body.

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Hillary, Bernie, and the Democrats’ Conservative Shadow

Hillary and Bernie: Who's the real Democrat here? It's a perennial question regardless of who's runnnig for the donkeys.

Hillary and Bernie: Who’s the real Democrat here? It’s a perennial question regardless of who’s running for the donkeys.

It’s tough being a Democrat. Every election cycle, donkey club members must go through the excruciating process of endless spinal implementation surgeries just to muster enough backbone to mouth the liberal platitudes that ostensibly constitute the foundations of America’s only major “progressive” political party. But let’s be honest: it’s hard being a liberal when the foamy-mouthed wingnuts are nipping at your tucked-back tail and the empathy-starved financial sector is flooding your coffers with Federal Reserve chicken feed.

The perpetual question-asking about what it means to be a liberal is once again in full swing amidst of the early primary campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The major issue at hand is just how much punishment the next potential Democratic president ought to reign down — Sodom and Gomorrah-like — on that craven nest of Sherif of Nottinghams known as the American Financial Sector.

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Trump, Immigration, and the Return of the Know Nothings

Trump trumpets his hard-line immigration stance in Alabama.

Trump trumpets his hard-line immigration stance in Alabama.

If there’s one thing that’s always struck terror into the quivering hearts of status-conscious white American whimperers, it’s the threat of the looming “not like us” immigrant hordes. Throughout history, Real ‘Muricans of blanched complexions and insecure egos have duplicitously ignored their own non-tribal status while insisting that America should embrace the world’s tired, poor, huddled masses just so long as said masses ain’t too Catholic, too dusky, too Asian-y, too Slavic, or too Messican.’

Enter Sir Donald of Trump. In an era when the American ethnic demographic is rapidly shifting towards a non-white majority amidst an uncertain, recession-smashed 21st-century world, Trump’s hard-line immigration plan is just the sort of paranoid tonic to sooth conservative America’s anxious cultural cough.

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The Roots of Anti-Government Rural Rage

Police detain a ticked-off white dude suspected of firing on military personnel near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Police detain a ticked-off white dude suspected of firing on military personnel near Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

It’s a wide-open secret that the American South has long been a haven for right-wing political nut-baggery. There are a multitude of reasons for this, many of which I discussed in a piece for Salon. But over the last few decades, a particular style of extreme, far-right, anti-government, gun-humping circle-jerkitude has found fertile ground in the good ole’ U.S. of A’s scattered rural hamlets. In America’s amber-waves-of-grain littered Heartland — much of which is still in the South — far-right populist movements have multiplied like deranged Donald Trump statements. They don’t share much by way of organization, coherent goals, or even basic levels of sanity, but they’re all united in their core belief that the federal government is the root of all evil in the modern world and is hell-bent on snuffing out every backwoods, freedom-firing, bible-believing Bubba from Mayberry to Hooterville.

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