Trump and Fear-Mongering

Trump works hard to stoke fear among his supporters, and he’s quite good at it. I know some Trump voters, and they seem to me to share a basically anxious and even paranoid view of the world, as if something terrible is coming to get them at any moment and they need to be constantly vigilant. Trump is shameless in exploiting that underlying anxiety.

One of my news feeds reports on an interview with a Trump voter in Minnesota who fears that members of the immigrant caravan, now more than 1000 miles from the U.S. border on foot, will come to Minnesota and take over the lake cabins of the people who live there during the summer. Honestly, I want to say to this poor woman that her fear makes no sense.  But anxiety is driving her vote, and it will be for Trump-supported candidates.

 “…Mr. Trump’s dystopian imagery has clearly left an impression with some. Carol Shields, 75, a Republican in northern Minnesota, said she was afraid that migrant gangs could take over people’s summer lake homes in the state.“What’s to stop them?” said Ms. Shields, a retired accountant. “We have a lot of people who live on lakes in the summer and winter someplace else. When they come back in the spring, their house would be occupied.”

Journalists try to counter the fear by pointing out facts, but with Trump voters facts seem entirely irrelevant. Trump is selling a worldview in which violent strangers are coming to take what his voters have, and they think wearing a red MAGA hat and voting for Trump will keep American safe for white Christians like them.

The presidency has been debased beyond my ability to recognize it.

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