David Levi Strauss / Dispatch / The Race

Dispatch 29: The Base


AT this point, 25 days from the election, it appears that Donald Trump has rebuffed all remaining attempts by surrogates and advisers to get him to do what is needed to broaden and extend his base to comprise a winning coalition. Instead, he has doubled down on the least attractive stances of his campaign and personality in order to isolate and harden his core constituency. The increasing danger for the country at large is what happens when this isolated and hardened core melts down.

This core or base (we remember that “al-Qaeda” means “The Base”) could turn more violent at any time, as they continue to be publicly shamed and mocked, but especially when they conclude that the election of their supreme leader and political martyr has been stolen from them in The Big Fix.

I remember going home to Kansas for Christmas in 1994, to visit my family. My youngest sister’s son had been living in Idaho with his estranged father, and had been radicalized into the militia movement there. When I spoke with him, he calmly espoused conspiratorial, anti-government, and xenophobic ideas, and at one point pronounced, “What happened in Ruby Ridge and Waco will not go unanswered. Something big is going to happen soon. You’ll see, and you’ll know.” Four months later, on April 19, 1995 (the second anniversary of the siege of Waco), Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols parked a Ryder truck, rented in the town of my birth, Junction City, Kansas, and loaded with explosives in Herrington, a few miles away from where I grew up, in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and blew it up, killing 168 people and injuring another 680.

In his speech yesterday in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said, “the Clinton Machine is at the center of this Global Conspiracy and the Media Organizations.” He said the WikiLeaks documents released that morning prove that “Clinton meets in secret with International Banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these Global Financial Powers, her Special Interest friends, and her donors.”

Dismissing the recent press reports about his serial sexual assaults on women, Trump said, “I take all of these slings and arrows, gladly, for you. I take them for our movement, so that we can have our country back . . . . This is our moment of reckoning as a country and as a civilization.”

This is not the language of a presidential candidate. This is the language of the leader of a violent movement to oppose a democratically elected government. I still believe that Trump stumbled into this role unwittingly, like the stooge he is, but at this point, the language and the rhetoric he is using is pushing him farther and farther to the Right and his followers closer and closer to a violent backlash that he will have no control over.

Earlier tonight, the FBI arrested three men in Garden City, Kansas, for plotting to use car bombs to blow up an apartment building housing mostly Somali refugees. The three militia members had written an anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant manifesto and planned to carry out their deadly attack the day after the presidential election.

David Levi Strauss
Friday, October 14, 2016

LINK to all David Levi Strauss Power 2016 Dispatches

[Photography: Jon Winet.July 21, 2016.   Republican National Convention. Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland, Ohio. Click on image to see an enlargement.]

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