Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign platform has from the beginning been based on racism, religious bigotry, class warfare of the rich on workers, hatred of women, and a whole series of other unacceptable and disgusting planks. Not since David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan ran for the senate in Louisiana in 1990 (and got 60% of the white vote) have we seen so extreme a candidate have such a good chance of winning national office. Yet despite Trump’s black soul (in the phrase of Khizr Khan), the polls in September had showed him competitive.
What in the world so degraded our politics such that a candidate as bad as Duke in most respects was not disavowed (as Duke was) by the Republican National Committee? That he was given thousands of hours of free airtime by cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC, who simply switched to his daily rallies as “breaking news,” in prime time! I can’t remember seeing them do that for a Hillary Clinton speech even once in prime time; maybe on a Saturday afternoon when no one is watching.
Obviously, the national kid gloves with which Trump has been treated didn’t come out of nowhere. The US political and information system was softened up for him over the past decade and a half. So here are some turning points that led us down this primrose path to the new American fascism.