Now when a candidate seriously advocates policies that are unconstitutional, impractical, and incendiary, that does constitute news. Polling and surveys also constitute news, although it's questionable how much insight they give us into the final outcomes. (Also see this by Nate Silver.) But "Borat tells Jimmy Kimmel that Trump is not a real person"? "Trump attacked by a bald eagle"? "Actor Harrison Ford's take on Trump"?
My personal theory on this man's amazing popularity is that it is payback for all the ways traditional politicians are seen posturing and pandering, election cycle after election cycle. Trump's supporters, if I'm right (and I'm basing this on anecdotal evidence from a small sample), do not trust those smoother politicians, even the ones they mostly agree with. Trump rides his ego into the arena and delivers his non-nuanced, "trust me" pronouncements with no censors, spinmeisters, or focus groups in evidence. His audience, in turn, has a sense that what they see is what they get, rough bits and all -- in stark contrast with most of the other candidates and their recycled platitudes. The disapproval Trump gets from those other politicians is proof positive that he is right!
Last Monday, Trump's performance on the old USS Yorktown was an eye-opener. He was quoting himself defending the indefensible, namely his exclude-Muslims policy. He noted that it probably wasn't politically correct, "but ... I. Don't. Care." Trump's political base at this point is made up of the very people who resonate with that sentiment. They don't care, they're thrilled to have a champion who doesn't care, and our bashing Trump for his functional racism and fascism, or ridiculing him for his transcendent absurdity, doesn't get our politics back to where we want it.
Whether or not we take early polls seriously, Trump's continuing success is a scandal and a danger to the country. For that very reason it's time for all politicians to figure out how to rebuild trust with us. I think we know who Trump is, and his success is distressing to many of us, but do we know who those other candidates are, what they truly stand for, and who's paying their bills? Let's ask, and ask persistently.
No, I didn't open the Borat, Harrison Ford, or bald eagle stories.
It took a Tucson church and 10,000 Arizonans to stop the deportation of Rosa Robles Loreto. (Thanks to Dawn L. Rubbert of Illinois Yearly Meeting for the link.)
William Schweiker tells us the main point he feels is missing from conversations about the San Bernardino attack.
The Guardian's live blog of the COP 21 conference in Paris as it nears its end.
Sarah Ruden on Bryan Doerries, his translations and staging of Greek tragedies, how they connect with today's war veterans, and the "narrow and utilitarian way we handle high culture in this country."
Another version of "Nobody's Fault But Mine" ...
Carolyn Wonderland and Bonnie Raitt - "Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine" from Road To Austin film from Gary Fortin on Vimeo.
[Text on Vimeo] Carolyn Wonderland delivers an epic rendition of the classic Blind Willie Johnson song "Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine". Carolyn and Bonnie trade guitar licks in front of an all-star band led by Stephen Bruton and featuring the late Ian McLagan on keyboards. This is one of 37 once-in-a-lifetime performances from the film Road To Austin. To purchase a DVD copy of the film go to www.rtafilm.com