America’s fate took a sharp right turn last week. Was electing Donald Trump our destiny? Or another random occurrence in an absurd universe? Or the logical result of intricate causal relationships that began with the Original Thought in the mind of the Unmoved Mover?
Baudrillard liked to write about destiny and seduction. It’s silly to speak of an individual’s destiny, he said. We have a collective destiny with every living being and every non-living object in the world.
But each life has a double life. “Each individual life unfolds on two levels, in two dimensions–history and destiny–which coincide only exceptionally” (Impossible Exchange, p. 79).
I have my biological life, the physiological stuff of my existence, which allows for the development and expression of myself as “subject” over time. But my fate lies beyond my individual choices, in the mysterious inner-workings of a destiny I can neither name nor change. Baudrillard calls this double life my “becoming-object” or my “becoming-other.”
Many folks see their lives in linear terms. They embark on paths they mistakenly believe are straight, their goals attainable if they stay focused and plow ahead. But paths diverge, lines intersect. GPS recalculates.
Seduction, in Baudrillard’s world, has little to do with amorous pursuits and more to do with our secret desire to be led astray. We seduce ourselves and each other. Objects seduce us. We long for a shove in unexpected directions.
Donald Trump seduced American voters. The election results seduced the pollsters. We don’t know where the county goes from here. History is a poor substitute for destiny, which is here before you know it.
Donald Trump just cockblocked our old friend Hillary Clinton from the presidency. To liberals across the country I hereby raise a soothing glass of Moloko Plus imported just this morning from the place where everybody knows your shame, the Korova Milk Bar.
Hallucinogenic milk: it does a body gooooooooooood…
After Trump loses on November 8, I hope the president-elect sends him a fruit basket of deplorables.
I’ve heard that many Donald Trump supporters are sick and tired of politics-as-usual. Washington is full of self-serving bureaucrats looking to win re-election the day after they’re elected. If this is the case, then both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for misleading and misrepresenting their constituents. Trump doesn’t rise to prominence as a “political outsider” without Washington insiders screwing the American people.
But Trump supporters are naïve to assume that an outsider can change the political landscape. If Trump wins, he immediately becomes an insider. Sure, Trump’s funding his own campaign, but how can John Q. Public trust a billionaire who can afford to fund his own campaign? How would Trump look out for the little guy economically? Nobody knows because he’s too busy insulting Muslim Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, disabled Americans, female Americans, etc. And this is Trump’s appeal: he blames others, just as the little guy voting for him blames politicians.
We saw this with the Tea Party. Ultra-conservatives were voted into power to shake up the power structure in Washington. It didn’t hurt that a black man was in the White House—and not working the coat check room—to convince the little (white) guy that America was in decline. Trump the front-runner doesn’t exist without the Tea Party’s anti-Obama sentiment.
So, where Trump is concerned, the meme once again prevails: Thanks, Obama.
Two days ago at a busy intersection a few miles from my home I found myself in the presence of greatness: street corner anti-Obama enthusiasts. I’d seen them in town before, along with anti-choice protesters holding signs of aborted fetuses. These are my kind of people: conscientious objectors to reality fighting against an immoral government that may or may not be led by a black Nazi president.
“Putin is right. Obama is wrong,” one sign declared without further explanation. Another one urged drivers simply to “Dump Obama.” It was enough nonsense to make even Ted Cruz roll his beady eyes.
It was easy to pick my favorite. “Global Warming—As Real As Your Girlfriend’s Orgasm.”
That’s a low blow to the clitoris. I suppose they didn’t refer to wives since married couples only make love.
Mother Nature. She’s hot and bothered. Wet and wild. And faking global warming so we’ll finish up already and go back to sleep.
A few days ago I argued here that Donald Trump’s rise in the polls is in part a response to liberals’ political correctness and defense of multiculturalism, and that Trump’s campaign represents the next stage in the descent of American politics into pure spectacle. In addition to these points, I argue today that Trump is a challenge to and indictment of the Right, specifically the failed attempts of conservatives to derail Obama’s “socialist agenda.”
There would be no “Trump surge” without Obama’s two terms as president, or more precisely, black president. The Donald is telling the GOP: “You’re not racist enough, you’re not misogynistic enough, you’re not homophobic enough.” The Right is not far enough right.
But unlike most of his rivals, Trump refuses to bring up his faith. In 2012 Republicans put their faith and money behind Mitt Romney, a deeply religious man who didn’t have God on his side in the general election. Perhaps not revealing his favorite Bible passages, as a “gotcha” reporter asked him to do last week, is smart strategy. Or perhaps a deep-seated megalomania trumps his need for a Higher Power.
Trump’s supporters claim their victimhood in the face of illegal immigration and a lack of barriers to keep out “the Mexicans.” His base are victims, I say, and they suffer from a unique brand of Stockholm syndrome. They identify with their charismatic captor, the mouthpiece for a ruthless business elite more concerned with profits than the People.
Like all bullies, Trump builds himself up by putting others down. He has no real solutions, no specific policy proposals beyond shaming his enemies. For a candidate on the rise, Trump banks on the passions of a politically illiterate mass for whom ignorance is diss.
Two hypotheses regarding Donald Trump’s surge in the polls.
The first: Trump’s plain-speaking approach serves as a political corrective, a rallying cry against tired postmodern identity politics. His campaign is a referendum against evil Progressives and their audacious demands that all persons deserve dignity and a chance to succeed.
The second: Trump’s rise signals the next stage in the natural progression of a morally bankrupt political system that bears no relation to the people it claims to represent.
Ann Coulter but with less testosterone, Trump “gets” nothing and he’ll get nothing done. He’s the political voice of disaffected Americans who sacrifice their economic interests for the promise of making America great again—code for kicking out Mexicans and drug-testing welfare recipients.
Obama became a celebrity president. Trump wants to be celebrity-in-chief—executive producer of a new brand of must-see TV.