One of the most standard right-wing rhetorical poses of the past four years has been “This is how you got Trump.” Whether it’s progressive snowflakes on university campuses, some egregious example of left-leaning media bias, or some new frontier in trans rights, many conservative commentators have regretfully observed, “you see this is why people opted for Trump, even though he’s gross…” etc. etc. There may even be some truth to these observations. There’s certainly a diverse and well-financed range of media sources constantly telling right-leaning people that they are embattled and without a voice.
What there is little appreciation of, is that the reverse is almost certainly true as well. If the perceived liberal lean of politics and society had a serious backlash in the form of Trump, what might Trump’s dominance of our political and media spheres be doing? Right-wing brand commentators love pointing to “Trump Derangement Syndrome”(TDS), the supposedly irrational hatred the majority of the country feels for the President. What they are not thinking through is how powerful that sentiment is, and the potential it has to warp the country much, much further away from the “conservative” principles they profess to cherish. Today’s video attempts to think more seriously about the consequences of TDS, and also launches my 2020 US election coverage!
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there! It’s now 2020. Which means I have successfully fulfilled my promise to avoid talking about the US presidential election this coming November until the year it actually happens, 2020. So let’s dive in. I want to start out big picture, and keep from getting dragged into the minutiae of the daily scandals for as long as possible. Today we are going to be talking about Trump Derangement syndrome, one of the most important factors of the 2020 election, and of the entire Trump presidency.
Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS for short is a much talked about concept in right wing marketing materials. The Fox News types think it’s hilarious. They argue that the Democrats are obsessed with hating on Trump, and this keeps them from getting anything done, or seeing all the great things Republicans imagine Trump is doing for this country. The talk radio people are right to point out that Trump Derangement Syndrome is driving the country crazy, but they are missing one very important thing about this phenomenon.
Trump Derangement Syndrome is completely rational. The fact that Donald Trump is president should leave you deranged. Even his supporters acknowledge that He’s the most disgusting man to become president in at least a century. The most fervent MAGA hat wearing Evangelical Republican in the country wouldn’t dream of leaving his daughter alone in a room with Donald Trump for an hour. Nor would he be stupid enough to get into a business deal with a proven liar like Trump. Yet somehow, these folks think having one of the most hated presidents in US history is a success story. It’s really not.
Republicans will often point out that while Trump’s job approval rating is consistently low, it’s not any lower than the worst parts of Obama’s presidency, and Obama got reelected. But this leaves out half of the data. Most polling companies collect a disapproval rating as well as an approval rating. Out of the 200 odd weeks in Barack Obama’s first term, there were 16 weeks, some sequential, some not, when his job disapproval hit 50% or higher. Donald Trump’s disapproval rating only touched 50% once. That’s because it hasn’t fallen below 50% since early 2017. The realclearpolitics average of polls has had him hovering around a 55% disapproval rating ever since then. Gallup, the polling organization whose numbers I used for Obama often has Trump’s disapproval spiking to 60%. This is the reality of Trump derangement syndrome. It’s not just Democrats or establishment media figures. A consistent majority of Americans hate Donald Trump with a passion.
And not just Trump. Everything Trump stands for is swept up in that same hatred. Billionaires, the Republican party, big business and the hypocritical Christians who support Trump are all caught up in it. This terrifies me, because a lot of my politics have traditionally been conservative, or at least what Europeans would call Neo liberal. Capitalism is very important to me, and that’s something else that Trump is tarnishing.
In June of 2019, the New York Times ran one of it’s most darkly hilarious news stories ever. The progressive Utopia that is the city and state of New York runs in part due to taxes from the activity of New York City real estate developers. These businessmen were used to a certain level of protection from legislators. But on June 11th the New York State government enacted sweeping new protections for tenants. The real estate developers were outraged, but mostly just shocked to find that nobody cared about their arguments anymore. They had been ambushed by Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The thing is, I find the real estate developer arguments very convincing. Most economists agree that New York City has a housing crisis because rent control and tenant protection is too tight. Last year, I met not one but two African American women who told me stories of their family’s attempts to build wealth being derailed by tenants who essentially stole their family’s property, leading to foreclosure. If you can’t make money in real estate, people will stop doing real estate. This new law will almost certainly make the New York housing crisis worse. I know this. But I honestly don’t care. These real estate developers are the types who made Donald Trump president, and still support him today. So I am happy to see them suffer. This is Trump Derangement Syndrome, and well over half of the country has it.
I have been beating this drum for awhile now. In November of 2016 I found myself eating dinner with a bunch of Republican supporting top 10 percent types. None of them liked Trump, but they were eager to see what a unified Republican government would come up with. I told them they were nuts. By electing Trump we had ripped the guard rails off of American democracy. Electing Trump virtually guaranteed an outsize reaction from the left, that would tear through a lot of things these Republicans thought they could count on. Even if, or maybe especially if Trump wins again, all the richest parts of this country are going to get a lot more hostile to the rich.
I had another conversation with a Trump supporter late last year. I told him that I thought the most likely result in 2021 was a Sanders Warren administration. Not guaranteed of course, but surprisingly possible. He said he had too much faith in America to believe that. I was too polite to say it, but an America that elects Donald Trump doesn’t deserve much faith at all.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and come back next time for a more hopeful take on 2020. I am calling It Ronald Reagan vs. The Joker. Thanks.