NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 98

BEYOND TRUMP
By March 2016 Trump had taken the next step : he graduated from verbal bullying to frequent calls to physical violence towards protestors at his rallies ; far from slowing his relentless rise in the polls , Trump seemed to legitimatize a vein of violence in the public sphere that has begun to feed on itself : he and his supporters appear to revel in it , glory in it , and find each other and bond through it . By late summer he was even calling for violent opposition to Hillary Clinton should she be elected . He has adopted a truly pre-fascist political style that is aggrieved , xenophobic , nostalgic , paranoid , and physically violent . Beyond the law and its routine protections . And remarkably successful up through the Republican convention , although summer polls since indicate that his mockery of people with disabilities , his denunciation of Khizr Khan , the grieving Muslim father of a slain soldier , and his call for violent resistance against a Clinton presidency may have exceeded what many angry voters are willing to entertain . Hillary Clinton has begun to show an understanding of the danger posed not only by Trump ’ s right-wing populist message but also by his very methods . They not only express voters ’ fears and grievances of living under a destructive market economy and fifteen years of the War on Terror but also a public culture of intimidation and bullying that in itself silently legitimizes the most authoritarian behavior and policies .
Trump ’ s populist genius is to at once personify all that unfettered capitalism promises and lead a revolt against all its disappointments in the name of those very same promises . That contradiction may still explode before Election Day if , for example , the Trump University scandal of him shamelessly exploiting financially vulnerable White consumers for personal gain doesn ’ t go away . No longer admiring spectator of Trump ’ s bullying of others , his populist base may identity with his victims and hand him his pink slip . Still , perhaps Trump ’ s greatest enemy may not be his shady business deals , the Democratic Party , the discontented Republican establishment , or hostile media pundits but the overly long dysfunctional u . s . election cycle that can sap even the most robust and powerful campaign that under a different electoral system would have perhaps already put Trump in office . Even Donald Trump , King of the Tweet and media celebrity that he is , may suffer from over-exposure in the 24 / 7 media .
Trump was uniquely poised to carry out an insurgent bid for the Republican nomination in a time of popular discontent in a society still in thrall to the free-market : successful entrepreneur , financially and politically independent , and global brand ; but also reckless bully persona , media-savvy celebrity , old-fashioned paternalist , political outsider , and potential strongman . However , whether after Election Day we find ourselves to be discarded employees or disgruntled voters , and even if Trump loses the election and retires from politics ( an increasingly likely possibility ), the enabling social and economic conditions of his rise will remain in place awaiting the emergence of another defiant capitalist folk hero who displays all the aggressive liberty in word and deed of the free-born White man that many voters admire and identify with . Like Trump he — not she — will be granted every indulgence , every reprieve — and will be most likely not from New York and discredited Wall Street but from Silicon Valley in the form of a charismatic , libertarian but younger and perhaps less brazenly self-interested and contemptuous venture capitalist or hedge-fund manager . With or without The Donald , Trumpism ’ s legitimization of violent White nationalist politics will continue to convulse not only the Republican Party but the entire body politic . n
1 Stanley Bing , Crazy Bosses : Spotting Them , Serving Them , Surviving Them , 1st ed ., New York : William Morrow , 1992 , 72 .
2 John A . Byrne , “ Chainsaw ,” Business Week , 18 Oct . 1999 , 128-38 .
3 Hugh D . Menzies , “ The Ten Toughest Bosses .” Fortune , 21 April 1980 : 63 .
4 “ The American Culture of Public Bullying ,” Black Renaissance Noire , vol . 9 , nos . 2-3 ( Fall-Winter 2009-10 ): 174-87 .
5 Robert O . Paxton , “ The Five Stages of Fascism ,” Journal of Modern History , vol . 70 , no . 1 ( March 1998 ): 1-23 .
6 Paxton , “ Five Stages of Fascism ,” 15-16 .
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