Thursday, October 13, 2016
"Rigged" and "Corrupt" in Trump-Speak
I watched Trump's Tuesday rally speech, the first speech intended for his base that I've watched. It left me feeling troubled.
Not because of all the things he promised: the eradication of all poverty, the cutting of taxes for all (including a new 15% profit tax for corporations), the annihilation of ISIS, the return of all good jobs to the US (he is going to force Apple to make it's phones at home), the safeguarding of Medicare and Social Security, the rewriting of all trade deals and did I mention cutting taxes humongously? Also chocolate cake and guns in every pots. Just kidding about the cake.
His promises can't be fulfilled, but I understand that he is giving the usual politician's pre-election promises, though with no hints about how he might achieve all that, given that he is not yet a divine power, except maybe in his own mind.
His factual errors didn't worry me, either. I expect those from Trump. That he believes replacing Obamacare with Health Savings Accounts (which are subsidized saving, not insurance) would somehow make it possible for all Americans to have great quality care for a low price, well, he probably doesn't know anything about how much ordinary people can afford to save or how much a physician visit or a hospital stay costs. His proposal would bankrupt people and provide care for only those who are affluent.
I wasn't even that worried because his promises were gendered: He promised good things to the police, to the fire-fighters, to the military, to the border control and to the veterans. He promised nothing to the teachers or to the nurses or to those who care for the elderly and the sick. But that tilt was expected, given who constitute his base.
No. What made me troubled was this: Trump kept repeating, over and over again these words: "rigged" and "corrupt."*
Hillary Clinton is "crooked" (mentioned four times), "a bad, bad person" and "a disaster." The leadership in Washington DC is corrupt, has "betrayed" Trump's audience and "squandered its wealth". The Democratic Party is corrupt, its primary was rigged. The media is corrupt (mentioned twice), and the news are rigged, the media is a disgrace. The global order is corrupt and rigged (mentioned twice).
And he repeats words such as "destruction," "disaster" and "criminal", when referring to Hillary Clinton's past or the Obama administration. He asserts that Hillary Clinton wants to erase all borders around the United States, which sounds like accusing her of treason.
In another context Trump has called Hillary Clinton a devil.
Now put that together and what do you get? A strong impression that Trump is telling his base that the American political system is all corrupt, all rigged, that the elections will be seen as rigged, too, unless Trump wins.
What is the emotional message Trump sends his adherents? How should they act after November 9, if Trump doesn't win, if the devil wins, if the crooked person wins, if the corrupt and rigged media caused it, if the corrupt and rigged global order caused it?
That sounds like questioning the legitimacy of these elections.
* He also repeats the word "unbelievable," as applied to all the wonderful things he will provide this country. Not sure if that is a Freudian slip.