In the ongoing flurry of mockery and outrage over the revelation that Russia allegedly has video of prostitutes putting on a revolting show for Trump, there's a question not many are asking: Why is this not beyond belief? Why is such a vulgar story resonating so strongly with the public? If this story came out about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders, it might excite right wing internet trolls but it would gain very little traction beyond that (Pizzagate notwithstanding).
It's not even a matter of liberal versus conservative. The same story about Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan would fall just as flat. But not for Trump. As Shaun King put it when he noticed the same problem:
Not once did I see or hear a single person who doubted the claims from the Buzzfeed report based on their view of Trump's character. As salacious and wild as the claims were, not once did I see or hear someone say "Oh, hell no. Trump would never do that."
That's because Trump is white trash with money. Period. Back in 2015, comedian John Mulaney summed Trump up like so:
Donald Trump is not a rich man. Donald Trump is like what a hobo imagines a rich man to be.
Trump's relentless need to prove he's better than others stems from his knowledge that he is a fop, a pretender playacting the role of nobility. No matter how much money or power he garners, Trump knows that he is a low class buffoon who happens to excel at scamming others. He's a reverse My Fair Lady in which, born to wealth, he cannot transcend his own limitations, wallowing in depravity and pettiness because it comforts him.
One imagines that Trump views the actual elite, with their polish and grace, with a kind of hatred and envy. It would explain why he is so drawn to celebrities, those who were (usually) once-regular people before becoming wealthy and respected. And why it must burn his shriveled soul even more that they've abandoned him en masse.
But the larger point of why it's so easy to believe Trump is this repugnant remains: He's done a poor job of imitating his desired peers. From his ill-fitting suits, to his ridiculous hair, to his lurid bragging about his sexual conquests, to his long history of sexual predation and pedophilic tendencies, Trump is a known quantity. Even his staunchest defenders don't honestly believe that he possess any redeeming qualities. His followers love him for being a low brow dullard filled with the same kind of hate that motivates them. His disdain for sophistication and knowledge appeals to their resentment of a culture that's moved beyond their racism and insularity.
As far as character goes, those who elected Trump knew exactly what they were getting and they don't care. Those of us who voted against him knew as well and that's why we aren't even slightly surprised by this story. But now we're all stuck with a man whose very nature will degrade the office he will inhabit, draining it of its prestige and stature. And as Republicans continue to support him to serve their own twisted agenda, they will, at last, make "trickle down" a reality, leaving the United States covered in shame and humiliation.
- This article kills fascists
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