I have been saying for some time that it would be very difficult for Hillary Clinton to lose the Presidential election this time around. It was clear to me that her policies and temperament were far superior to those Republicans that were running. I was far more worried about Marco Rubio than any of the rest.
So now, here we are after the second Presidential debate. FiveThirtyEight.com has Clinton with an 83.5% change of winning, and that’s before the second debate results are known. Clinton is on the rise, and Trump not. It’s likely the effect of the second debate will accelerate that.
I’m not worried about Clinton being President.
But something else does worry me greatly. In the past, we’ve had right-wing and left-wing kooks, people who take it too far. We’ve had the militia groups that were convinced that some sort of apocalypse was coming, and we’ve had environmental groups that wanted to stop lumber cutting or development. But those types of people were always a small part of the population; a very small part. I’ve seen numbers that say there are 10,000-50,000 militia members in the country, but that’s 0.015% of the total population. Even if the numbers were 100 times greater, it’s less than 2%. A small number of people. The lefties are even smaller in number, I would guess.
So, from 1992, you have had the Republican Party, at the national level, moving from campaigns based on just patriotism (Bush 41), to fear (Bush 43), to minimal policy (Romney), to no-policy (Trump), with increasing mendacity starting with Romney.
That leads us to now. Trump issues lies and less-than-truths at a rate not seen yet. He has two main policy concepts: controlling immigration and immigrants to keep them from murdering/raping/robbing US citizens; and tax cuts, specified as being significant.
Now, you can argue the merits of these to for a long time (well, not really a long time), and after that you can look at the rest of Trump: mostly, attacks against policies that Clinton proposes or has otherwise laid out. Much of what Trump attacks isn’t those policies (as it is abundantly clear that if you are going to argue policy, you need policy of your own to counter with). Trump instead takes the route of attacking stuff that he (or people he talks to) perceive to be bad. For example, Clinton’s emails. He wants to see a bunch of deleted emails labeled by Clinton as personal, and the fact they are missing is clearly a smoking gun for something is an article of faith for conservatives. On the other hand, Trump hasn’t released any emails (or his tax returns, for that matter).
Which brings me to what bothers me. Throughout the end of the primary campaign to now, Trump has had a voting block of roughly 40% of voters no matter what. Applying that to the voter population translates out to between 50M – 87M people supporting Trump (the numbers are somewhat amorphous, as do you count actual voters, registered voters, or eligible voters?).
That, to me, means millions of people who support a candidate who is a serial liar, abuser of women, will not come straight with what he wants to do with/to the country in large part, and perhaps worst of all, has no interest in longstanding policy and history in the country of two-party rule. People he, and his allies, have deliberately scared for months, and furthermore these are people who have little apparent interest in finding out the truth about either their candidate, or Clinton (think about the chants of “lock her up”, when the question “for what” isn’t even raised).
What are those people going to do when he loses? They obviously have a lot of pent-up rage. How will it be expressed? What will Republicans, who created Trump with their do-nothing policy, do if that group turns physically against the country?
When Obama was elected, the number of militia groups, which had ticked up when Bill Clinton was President, then down during Bush 43, rose again. The reasons were simple, that fear of losing guns or religion, and loss of white control.
I’m concerned we will see more terrorism. The roots are there: people driven by base fears, stoked by perceived leaders like Trump, or the Breitbart people, or Hannity, will react the way other uneducated people have done in the Middle East and elsewhere.
And those people will never question why they are scared in the first place.