zenpundit.com » Blog Archive » Binocular vision on the Trump phenom

Binocular vision on the Trump phenom

[ by Charles Cameron — why the support, why the avoidance ]

I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose these two quotes about Donald Trump.

One comes from my friend Timothy Burke of Swarthmore and the Easily Distracted blog (upper panel, below) — Tim describes himself as holding generally left or progressive views, though he likes to think of himself as “dedicated to unpredictability”. Tim’s comment goes a long way towards explaining Trump’s appeal.

Tablet DQ Trump Burke & King

The other (lower panel, above) is from Independent Senator Angus King, who generally caucuses with the Democrats, and explains in all too vivid terms why he cannot support Donald Trump for President.

Between the two of them, they nicely illustrate the two poles of opinion around Trump. Tim gives voice to the personal frustrations carried by so many of Trump’s supporters — grievous frustrations which have gone too long unheeded by both parties. And Sen. King voices the agonizing uncertainty surrounding Trump’s reliability as a potential major player in the high-stakes game of geopolitics and nuclear alerts — for his contrast between Trump and Clinton in this regard, read his whole piece at the link below.

I am grateful to both for their succinct expressions of the two very real sides here.



  • Timothy Burke, The Machine of Morbius
  • Sen. Angus King: I can’t vote for Donald Trump ‘in good conscience’
  • 6 Responses to “Binocular vision on the Trump phenom”

    1. Graham Says:

      That was quite illustrative. It even helps me situate myself, though as a foreigner I’m just an observer.
      Sen. King’s comment reinforces the shockingly large and ultimately [if unavoidably] extra- or supra-constitutional powers exercised by the President of the United States in extremis. One is grateful that this scenario is a lot less likely than it used to be, but it isn’t impossible. So it still has to be considered, and with about the level of gravity he gives it.
      Tim Burke’s description more or less illustrated for me why I find points of instinctive agreement with the Trumpers and why I still find them alarming and dangerous. On the one hand, if the Spanish speakers were all legal and the law says public officers perform gay marriages, those points are no valid grievance. A clerk’s conscience in the matter of gay marriage could be satisfied by his/her resignation from an office whose possession is neither a right of conscience nor a constitutional right. On the other hand, the blue blood, the guy who threatened the secretaries, the tech billionaire and above all the intersectional cis privilege kid need a good and hard slapping.
      [The privilege kid deserves much, much more and worse. I work with some of them. I’m going to have to take up meditation to keep my temper one of these days, save that my readings on this site alone suggest to me that I lack anything resembling the necessary spirituality and depth to safely take it up in any but the most superficial way.]
      I’m agnostic on the others. I work in a professional government environment and have already [I’m 45] worked for younger bosses [up to 10 years younger; two women in a row for 5 years, both 7-8 years younger than me at the time; all without difficulty. The female bosses were professional and pleasant, if one was rather driven and eccentric. So I have never got that complaint. On the other hand I work in a building with offices even for the dregs. When we evolve to cubicles [our organization is moving toward the very finest in 1950s corporate thinking] I might go mad. But it isn’t an age or gender thing. More like an anti-fad thing. And I always assumed American teachers were like ours- earnestly progressive but utterly horrified by the idea of ever making any of their charges feel stupid. So I don’t really get that complaint either.
      But the intersectional kids, yep. Given the chance, I might vote for Trump just to spite them. I’d like to watch them weep, wail and rend their garments, so to speak. So I guess I understand after all… But there’s still those launch codes.

    2. Grurray Says:

      Of course, Trump with his superior leadership and negotiating skills combined with his independence from special interests will be much more likely to avoid that 28 minute decision in the first place.
      Hillary, OTOH, is just expected to steer us to the edge of the abyss. Why is she qualified during the moment of crisis according to the Senator from Maine? Because she lied to Congress without flinching. She can certainly be expected to stoically make the big sacrifices to ensure the future of civilization. I expect she’ll sacrifice any of us to protect her vision of the future.
      The same arguments about the launch codes come up every election. In 2012 Romney couldn’t be trusted with them because his religion wasn’t approved by the socially accepted circles. Rick Perry wasn’t qualified because he was a Young Earth Creationist and would be expected to accelerate the coming of the Rapture. In 2008 McCain couldn’t be trusted with them because he was potentially psychologically scarred from his POW experiences, so he might pull a Yaphet Kotto in Hawaii Five-O.

    3. Grurray Says:

      And I almost forgot the template for all subsequent attempts to exploit the Nuclear Football Problem-

    4. Graham Says:

      Yaphet Kotto! Now there’s a reference from the Wayback machine. I just googled and am pleased to find he is still with us. I don’t know the Hawaii Five-O episode you mention from memory [it’s listed as King of the Hill] but I enjoyed Kotto as Dr Kananga/Mr Big in Live and Let Die, as well as his many later roles including Homicide: Life on the Street.
      It’s true- Hillary is by far the more personally corrupt, dishonest candidate and the most likely by some margin to involve the US in war unnecessarily or unjustly. I still have the gut instinct that she’d be less insane in those unlikely 28 minutes, but I’m open to the idea that I’m wrong on that. It’s mainly that her public presentation seems less erratic than Trump’s. I do concede she is not really likely to handle that legendary 3 am phone call all that well.

    5. Graham Says:

      Just rewatched “Daisy”. Yeah, that was the most cynical thing ever put on tv by a presidential candidate.
      I don’t know much about Johnson the man. Was he a sincere Christian, as the ad rather implies? If not, the ad’s religious appeal amps its cynicism to a much higher level.
      And, of course, this from a man ultimately responsible for the waste of 58k + American lives just in military dead, never mind wounded in mind and body, families broken, or for that matter Vietnamese dead and a crushed RVN state all for nothing.

    6. Grurray Says:

      Johnson was a born again Christian. I’m not sure about the sincerity of his beliefs, but I do know that he had a rather checkered history in Congress and the Senate before the JFK assassination and the residual goodwill vaulted him into the presidency and then a second term landslide. He was known by the sarcastic nickname “Landslide Lyndon” because he originally won the Senate seat by the narrowest of margins when, in a contested runoff, a missing ballot box was mysteriously found containing enough votes for his victory. He also made millions trading off his political clout, employing what they used to cynically call honest graft http://politicaldictionary.com/words/honest-graft/
      finders fees, middle man fees, kickback, etc.

    Switch to our mobile site