-By Don Ardell
We are awash in an almost unprecedented media fixation on Donald Trump, the leading contender for nomination to be the presidential standard bearer for the Republican Party in November. While Republican primary voters in most states where voting has taken place to date seem to think he is a reasonable substitute for the long-promised Second Coming of Jesus, a far greater number of Americans – and observers around the world, are appalled. How could the Republicans sink this low? Even if Trump should falter, look who’s waiting in the wings – Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, two religious, far right zealots many find far scarier than Trump. After all, Trump is just saying crazy things to fire up Republicans; the other two in the wings really believe what they’re saying, which is as bad or worse.
Paul Krugman attributes this sorry state of a Republican descent into madness to deliberate political strategies over many decades. Republicans have worked to bring out the worst in people. They prey on the fears of underclass whites about blacks and other minorities, on the superstitions of religious fundamentalists and on everyone else who can be convinced that big government, taxes, and enemies abroad are clear and present dangers to all that Republicans hold dear, such as guns, god, power and money.
Krugman suggests that Trump’s constituency is being led to believe as follows:
That black people are lazy, Mexicans are stealing their jobs, torturing Arabs is fun and women should stay in the kitchen. Trump does not put it that way, but that’s his message. (Source: Paul Krugman, Not Even Most Hardened Cynics Would Have Imagined The GOP Would Sink So Low, New York Times, March 7, 2016.)
And it only works if people are mean enough, if not dumb enough, to believe it.
Not much can be done if it’s mainly because so many are so dumb, meaning poorly educated and determined to stay that way. After all, Gallup polls show that 18% of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth and 42 percent of Americans still believe God created human beings in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. Another poll found that 25 percent of American public school biology teachers believe humans and dinosaurs inhabited the earth simultaneously.
My hope is Trump is winning largely because Republicans are so mean. That can be changed, as I will suggest in the next AWR which will focus on the greatest challenge there can be for wellness promoters. It not promoting less risky behaviors in order to reduce illness (prevention) nor even to advance better physical health status, however important both goals truly are. But, sights can be set even higher – improved men and women.
It’s really no wonder Trump’s winning. Krugman summarizes the situation as follows:
From a historical point of view, this is a fascinating time to be alive as we are witnessing the planet’s most dangerous political party evaporate in spectacular fashion, and all thanks to a reality TV star with fake hair.
It won’t surprise you to read that I believe the country as we’ve come to know it depends on the success of either Bernie or Hillary and the Democrats putting an end to the Republican madness in November. But I also believe Trump knows very well which celestial body goes around which, that humans go back a lot farther than 10,000 years and that no human hunter ever bagged a dinosaur or got eaten by one.
And I’m convinced that Cruz and Rubio believe all three of the above preposterously uninformed beliefs and a great deal of additional supernatural, as well as secular, policy craziness far zanier than the three above listed examples of 21st century human ignorance run amok.
Be sure to vote in November. Please.