I’m genuinely grateful to the reader who posted this on an earlier thread. He explains Trump better than anyone I’ve yet read:

Rod: “Trump is not my guy, and Trumpism not a credible answer.”

On an intellectual level, I agree. The visceral level is another matter. I am an atheist white Southerner who has always voted a straight Democratic ticket because I found the Republicans to be repulsive. But even I feel the appeal of Trumpism. I lost all hope for a better future when I completed an advanced degree and found that I had not improved my job prospects a bit. I am sick to death of hearing politicians bleat on about how wonderful America is, when it is demonstrably not working for millions and millions of middle and working class (and poor) citizens. Working class people are seeing their life expectancy decrease, welfare programs and Social Security are supposed to be cut, with us working until we’re 70 to make up the difference, but there’s always money to fight another stupid, counterproductive war. Practically every public and private institution has lost its legitimacy.

Trump appeals to the nihilism that the elites in this country have let us fall into. I tried to fight against it. I did what they said. I had no college degree, so I studied hard while working hard and got two of them. Instead of this making any kind of a positive difference for my family, I am right where I was before.

So while the logical part of my brain says that Trump is a self-aggrandizing charlatan, I find it hard to think through the abiding sense of anger and despondency that I have developed and most of my friends and family have developed. We are governed by people that we have come to hate, and at the moment, Trump looks like the only way to even have a shot at making them hurt like they’ve made us hurt. That is a tough proposition to turn down.

This brings to mind the Randy Newman song, “I Want You To Hurt Like I Do”. Lyrics include:

If I had one wish
One dream I knew would come true
I’d want to speak to all the people of the world
I’d get up there, I’d get up there on that platform
First I’d sing a song or two you know I would
Then I’ll tell you what I’d do
I’d talk to the people and I’d say
“It’s a rough rough world, it’s a tough tough world
Well, you know
And things don’t always, things don’t always go the way we plan
But there’s one thing, one thing we all have in common
And it’s something everyone can understand
All over the world sing along

I just want you to hurt like I do
I just want you to hurt like I do
I just want you to hurt like I do
Honest I do, honest I do, honest I do”