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Trump 2016: The Three Shadows Haunting Cleveland

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Message Richard Eskow
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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

As Donald Trump's Republican Party convenes in Cleveland, three shadows will haunt the arena. They won't talk about these shadows on television, but if you look closely you're sure to see them.

The first shadow is that of the extremist Republican right. Since the infamous Powell memo of 1970 it has invested billions in think tanks, academia, and politics to promote its agenda of individual greed over the common good.

Their free-market voodoo and corporate pandering is promoted by wild-eyed believers and cut-throat cynics who know that their ideas are unpopular and their theories disproven. That's why they rely on deception and disenfranchisement.

This is the Republican Party establishment. Its goods are peddled by the likes of Paul Ryan, a human smiley-face sticker with an extremist's heart.

The second shadow is that of a new fundamentalism, both political and religious, whose followers worship an angry white god of their own creation. They've claimed their religion on behalf of their political ideology, but despise what it and all spiritual traditions really represent: generosity, equality, and community.

"The Vision of Christ that thou dost see," wrote the poet William Blake, "is my Vision's greatest enemy."

Where their Bible teaches togetherness, their leaders preach a brutal individualism. Where it teaches love, their preachers shout in anger. They've been taught to hate government rather than greed. They have reason to be angry, but they're angry at the wrong things.

This is the Tea Party.

The third shadow is that of Trump himself, a bloated bleached-blond Narcissus transfixed by his own silhouette. "He worships at the altar of a stagnant pool," says an old Dylan song, "and when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled."

Under President Trump the Oval Office would become a hollow sarcophagus, the vessel for an aging and soul-dead boy king.

Trump seeks power by summoning the basest of human emotions, especially hatred of the Other. That hatred will shine in a million blue eyes this week. Trump contains multitudes: the man who objectifies women is running on an anti-porn platform.

They won't talk about these three shadowy monsters on cable TV, but they'll be there just the same: sipping cocktails in expensive suites, smiling through politicians' faces, lurking in the corners that camera lights can't illuminate. And they'll be out in the streets, ready for a fight.

Watch, and be afraid.

The nation is a tinderbox. There's bloodshed in Baton Rouge, in Dallas, in Minneapolis, and in hundreds of neighborhoods where network news reporters never go. African-Americans keep dying -- through gunfire, and in the many unseen ways people die when they're impoverished, malnourished, when they're deprived of safe homes and communities, of economic opportunity and adequate healthcare.

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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