Donald Trump has been making me think about America in a completely new way. As a life long lefty I'd never consider voting for him, naturally, but he's got me thinking about why anyone would. Like everyone else I watched fascinated last summer as he steamrollered his way through the Republican field, crushing Little Marco, Lyin' Ted, Low Energy Jeb and all the others as easily as swatting flies but even then I never imagined the party would allow itself to be captured by someone as clearly unqualified, even dangerous, as Trump. And then it did. Leaving aside the fact that Trump is nowhere near a Conservative his racist demagoguery has cast the Republicans in a very unflattering light, one they will struggle to recover from in the future if they even have one. The racial demographics of the US are not friendly to them and watching them double down on the White Identity platform is only going to make life increasingly difficult if they ever want to elect another President.
So what's got me thinking about America is the fact that so many of us are supporting him either despite of or worse, because of, the nature of his campaign. When he says he is going to make America great again he clearly means for white people, not for all of us since things are far better now for a much broader swathe of society than in the past. The people who see themselves under threat from the new America are those least likely to have seen any gains from the new economy, the people whose well paying factory jobs have gone. But the truth is that Donald isn't going to bring them back because no one can. They're gone for good and not just to Mexico or China but to technology as well. He's not going to bring back coal mining either because it's the worst of all possible ways to generate power and everyone knows it. Trade wars won't help, they'll probably bring about a recession worldwide because they're as unwinnable as nuclear wars. We all know this. So why would anyone vote for him? The only answer I can come up with is that he's awoken something dark in our hearts that many of us assumed had faded away with the last century.
Here's the thing that is making me nervous, that apparently there are so many of us willing to look past the racism, the anti semitism, the clear appeal to the White Power fringes to have "one of our own" gain the highest office. And that doesn't even take into account the misogyny, the inability to ever admit being wrong with all the danger that implies, or the thin skinned response to any criticism. My grandfather left Poland to escape the pogroms and I've never felt discriminated against as a Jew either in England where I grew up or in the US where I've made my life. But Jews lived in Germany for 300 years and felt completely German until suddenly they weren't any more so all the talk of Deportation Forces and holding camps makes me nervous. We live in a dangerous world and Donald Trump cannot be our president, it's as simple as that.