Important commentators all over the world are seeking learned explanations for Donald Trump’s phenomenal success. They point to the disconnect between Washington and the lives of average Americans and to the stagnation of the American political establishment. They say that many Americans have lost their faith in politics, which has ceased serving them. They claim that the media has given Trump too broad and generous a stage. They seek premonitions in the TV series “House of Cards.”
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All these explanations (even the one that sees a TV series as a self-fulfilling prophecy) have a certain kernel of truth, but they don’t even come close to answering the question as to why so many Americans are voting for a candidate who is destroying the Republican Party, one of the two legs on which the democratic system stands in the United States. Or why they will be votingfor a man whose presidency, any rational and smart person understands, will be a collective suicide attempt by the American people. The distance between the situation of the average American — even if he or she is angry about trade agreements with China, which has hurt incomes, or over workers from Mexico who have taken livelihoods — and the conclusion that Trump is the solution, is a very long stretch, assuming that the average American is rational and smart.
And this is where the simple, more elementary explanation to the Trump riddle comes into play. It looks like his success, despite all attempts by the media, political and financial establishment to stop him, shows that there are many very stupid people in America. And stupid means senseless fools, who are irrational and racist, and have a herd mentality.
The Trump phenomenon is simple — there is no need for complicated explanations. The man talks in huge daily helpings of foolishness. He speaks crudely and he has no idea what he’s talking about. Rational and smart people are certain that this patently obvious fact should have caused him to fail long ago. Instead they are looking for reasons that rational and smart people would support Trump. But their basic premise is mistaken. Nothing can cause rational, smart people to support Trump. Trump supporters are not rational and sensible. They are stupid.
Trump is not stupid. He is rational and sensible. And as such, he is cynically exploiting his correct assumption that there are many stupid people in America. Not only among those dubbed “white trash.” Not only among evangelicals. But among educated people too. Not only men, but women as well. There are very many stupid people there.
This is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. It’s human nature. It’s the nature of any human society. History shows that society is made up of many stupid people, who need smart leadership to do the right thing. Absent such leadership, as in the case of Moses delaying his descent from Mount Sinai, they will dance like fools around the Golden Calf. Trump knows all this. He has sharp instincts. He is an evil, destructive leader, and history shows that such leaders can destroy a nation. Israeli commentators should know all this. The parallel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is obvious.
Who will keep the presidency from Trump? The stupid people are mesmerized by him. Sometimes elections are not between ideologies but rather between stupidity and wisdom, and it can only be hoped that in America there are more smart people than stupid ones. Here, as we know, there are not.