If he were a content creator, you could say he reverse engineered his presidency by researching the keywords his base was searching for. Unfortunately for the United States, strong market demand for racism still persists.
Racism is an institutionalized and weaponized form of an inferiority complex that’s parasitically rooted in the founding of the United States. We cherish America’s origin story of rejecting monarchical tyranny and normalizing democracy. I will always fight for that. But the ugly cousins of freedom also came along on those voyages to the new world. Namely, America has always been flooded with people who have huge chips on their shoulders.
Ugly cousins and noble immigrants alike have fled from countries and societies that have done them wrong. They no longer could stand living under the injustice and oppression that they needed a way out no matter how perilous or unknown. Channeled temporarily into an enterprise, you can get economic booms from legions of people with chips on their shoulders. But for those who can’t handle failure or for those want to live with their chips forever, let’s call it what it is: an inferiority complex.
Racism was hardly a rarity back in 1776, but using it as a salve for wounded egos should have been just temporary. And arguably it was with constitutional amendments and civil rights legislation. Racist white Americans have had generations and hundreds of years to wean themselves off of the addictive palliative that racism brings.
But with diminishing supplies of forums where they can exercise their unwarranted power, racist whites have laser focused on supporting a leader that feeds them what’s most important: preservation of their identity. They can have their pockets raided and their rights stripped, but as long as they have their false dignity, they can live.
Yes, they’re violent. And hateful. And despicable. But, I don’t believe hate is their primary driver. Hate, bullying and violence are the dysfunctional raw materials needed to soothe their fragile egos. They need to hate so that they can ease the pain of feeling inferior.
So unless we can offer a suitable alternative, demand for racism will continue. It’s done the trick for hundreds of years. Don’t expect them to ‘be better’. That only works on those who dabble in racism. For the hard core users of racism, maybe bread and circus would work temporarily. But how could that compete with the racist red meat that Trump offers? Especially if he’s giving it out 2-for-1.