Remember the character in the movie "Citizen Kane," a media tycoon who aspired to political office? And the egoist, builder in Ayn Rand's novel, "The Fountainhead." Or the character in the movie, "A Face in the Crowd"--a media-created demagogue. Human imagination through fiction writing has foretold future reality and fictionalized past reality. Now comes Donald Trump, egoistic builder, blustery persona, projected by the media through the t.v. screen onto the country for a decade, vying to be elected president.
The fictional examples are the least insidious comparisons and forerunners. A Republican Utah congressman asserted, "He's our Mussolini." Remarkably, besides personality comparisons, there's a physical resemblance to Il Duce.
The fictional and historical cases and the present case have in common both the character involved, and most significantly, the susceptible, mesmerized segment of the public that exalts him, looks to him as a savior.
We once wondered how an intelligent people that produced classical music and great scientists could fall for Adolf Hitler. That dictator pledged to make Germany great again. "It could never happen here" was smugly asserted. Yet, with circumstances, fate and human culpability, history is repeated. The then homogeneous Germany is paralleled by today's white America. U.S. white men today, like "good Germans" then, will vote for a fuhrer.
Underpinning this, in every election there's the "33% factor." A third of the electorate votes for the Republican, regardless; with an R by his name Satan would get their vote. Why? A Brain study showed that those who identify as "conservatives" have a segment of the brain--the amygdala--which is larger than the rest of the population's. Significantly, that brain section relates to fear and emotional reactions. Conversely, those who identify as "liberal" or "progressive" also have an outsized portion of the brain--the anterior cingulate--that governs empathy, decision-making and impulse control.
Despite the increased support for this right-wing phenomenon, the mitigating factor in this election will be U.S. diversity. The non-white population, non-Christian, Jewish, Muslim, black, Hispanic, Asian citizens and college-educated white women in a country founded and ruled till now by white Christian male Caucasians--those diverse groups combined, ironically, will save that country from itself.
This deus ex machina will not occur because those segments of society are necessarily intellectually or morally superior. They may be, but it's because they are threatened that matters. The human brain can be governed by fear. Trump, like his fictional and historic forebears, knows that instinctively. Playing that card got him the Republican nomination. Republican Joe Scarborough on his morning MSNBC pundit fest termed it the dark underbelly of white fear. And it's the fear in those he threatens that will defeat Trump in the general election.
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