by Ed West
Saturday, 14
November 2020

Trump Derangement Syndrome is here to stay

The President's hold on liberals' runaway fantasies will continue
by Ed West
Despite the endless comparisons, Trump was not Hitler

One of the most powerful forces in modern politics is LARPing — the political version of dressing up and re-enacting history.

This is not a new development, by any means; in the late 18th century French schoolboys learned up to four hours a day of Roman history, and much of the subsequent revolution, republic and empire was hugely influenced by this obsession with Rome. Later, and more darkly, the Nazi conquest of eastern Europe was a medieval fantasy for some, a potent mixture of the Teutonic Knights and Joachim of Fiore’s Third Age, while more recently ISIS were certainly LARPing at playing warriors from Late Antiquity.

President Trump, who finally might be going — at least he’s kept his dignity right til the end! — was the ultimate LARPers’s foil. Since the start of his presidency the narrative among large sections of the US media has been that the United States is entering its fascist moment, a prophecy first made after the war by west coast psychologists who saw the country turning into the Third Reich (as America famously did in the 1960s with flower power and the Civil Rights movement).

Trump’s opponents referred to themselves as “the Resistance”. HBO gave us a series about America being run by a populist Nazi sympathiser and various journalists made dreadfully weak historical analogies about “Drumpf” being Hitler.

Trump wasn’t Hitler; he was a corrupt, populist demagogue, prone to nepotism and compulsive lying, with a great knack for cruel humour, more closely resembling something from Latin America or central Asia. He may be a nationalist, but that’s not the same as being a racial purist.

Trump was painted as Hitler because this provided a psychological need for many of America’s commentariat, who are personally bored and anxious. The rest of the country clearly didn’t see him that way, and Trump did pretty well among Hispanic and black voters, who had a more realistic view of his racial attitudes than the country’s professional commentators.

Now that Trump is gone, the hope is that America’s great awokening will slow down or reverse. There is some logic to this argument; when centre-Right or even centre-Left parties address immigration concerns it does tend to weaken the populist Right — except that the “woke” movement doesn’t really have any concrete demands, expect for utopian notions about “ending systematic racism” or wildly unworkable policies like defunding the police.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, tiresome as Trump was, he was a symptom, not a cause, of runaway liberalism among the American upper-class, a process that began around the start of Obama’s second term. Will a Democrat in the White House slow down this radicalisation? It seems unlikely that people who have spent four years saying their opponent is Hitler are even psychologically capable of accepting otherwise; certainly there seems no sign of any change of heart among those who made the claim.

More likely, as both Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama have hinted at, there will be some sort of de-Trumpification process to shame and demonise anyone who was sympathetic to the old regime. Four more years of the “Resistance” against Trump, except now masquerading as the victorious allies at Nuremberg presiding over the guilty. Trump may have gone, but Trump Derangement Syndrome is probably here to stay. 

Join the discussion

  • Both Trump and Brexit represented the high point of a peasants democratically valid revulsion at the Corporate cartels that had destroyed and hollowed out any means of restoring the sovereign nation states that the majority of voters had inherited at great cost.
    The last four/ five years have revealed the extent of the malice and evil that had yet to be rooted out, and the insurgents that rightfully took the reins and offices of power were naive and unable to stay united and as malevolent and vindictive as those they indulged ,tried to reason with .
    Trump getting fiddled out of the election is the final call, the disgusting efforts to overturn Brexit was an opening act.
    Your failure to see what kind of progressive , One Love kinda coup has been enacted means that you see Trump as the problem.
    He’s not. He has exposed the pinchpoints of the Davoisie as structured, and those who will take this forward won’t be one man caricatures like Farage and Trump.
    They are learning now what being reasoned, nice and ” democratic” gets you. The gulag and a beating from Antifa as the state militias look on and the cameras point to a faux pas in Melanias choice of footwear

  • The issue I believe is not that Democrats secured a majority but why, given the manifest failings of the alternative, that it is so slim as to fall within the error margins of the Electoral College system.

    I don’t see why any of those workers are any more real than any other either or, indeed, what point you are seeking to make. Certainly I am not claiming that a property that is true of a class in aggregate is true when applied to each member of that class, as you appear to suggest.

  • Is that it – A line in clothing?
    It is the Democrat establishment that trashed countless working class jobs by outsourcing to China, amongst other places – Places where the workers work almost for nothing.
    The more I read comments by smug, self-serving “liberals” (you’re far from the worst), the more I support The Deplorables.

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