A really big chunk of Americans really like to be told what to do.
What do you look for in a political leader? Do you value intelligence? Religious faith? Commitment to national security? An assertion of family values? Or, do you find yourself drawn to leaders that separate the weak from the strong; that promise to use all of their accumulated power to advance the interests of the U.S.A. as the most dominant country on earth? If you find yourself identifying with the former description, then you just might be attracted to the presidential campaign of a certain billionaire braggadocio with a gnarled squirrel on top of his noggin.
That’s right, of all of the qualities that have transformed Donald Trump’s presidential run from a seemingly Quixotic national experiment in the limits of extreme narcissism into a viable path to the White House, few are more important than his appeal to conservative voters’ authoritarian instincts. While not necessarily interchangeable, conservatism and authoritarianism go together like peas and carrots, like bread and wine, like trigger-happy white police officers and unarmed black dudes.
Ammon Bundy, a guy promoting an incoherent, ahistorical ideology laced with the occasional legitimate grievance.
It never should have come to this, but the cause of freedom doesn’t rests on its laurels. On January 2, 2016, a gaggle of armed, babbling Bubbas decided to re-launch the American Revolution by taking over the remote Malheaur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service administers the refuge, which is now serving as the unofficial Alamo of the Pacific Northwest for a loose collection of Far-Right Militia goonies who have decided to take a stand against the Federal Government, ostensibly to protest the incarceration of father-son ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond at the hands of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Led by Ammon “Son of Cliven” Bundy, the Militia members have declared their intentions to occupy the refuge for multiple years, even as they evidenced a fair amount of short-term planning when their social media call for snacks got them boxloads of dildos instead and earned them the unflattering Twitter designation as “Y’all Qaeda.” But for all of the media attention that Bundy’s antics have garnered, the real issue at hand here isn’t the Hammonds’ imprisonment, it’s the ahistorical ideology behind the modern Militia movement itself, a movement that operates under a bizarro world interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that renders any legitimate grievances the movement has with the Federal Government difficult to take seriously.
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.