Values Viewers

The caricature of a thrice-married degenerate for family values candidate is a mean-spirited joke at the expense of the heartland. This man, long disdained from Pennsylvania to Utah as your standard run-of-the-mill New York liberal, has metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly of nationalism, isolationism, fundamentalism, and racism. But he is not committed to these isms; not like the true believers you see at his rallies.

The candidate remains the same: a misogynist alpha male 1%er. What has changed is his newfound constituents’ interpretation of their own values. A generation of Falwell and Robertson viewers, nodding gravely at the boob tube and muttering darkly about how it’s been a long time coming, have forsaken televangelism for reality tv. How else to explain vast crowds of the born again evincing support for someone who within their lifetimes endorsed late term partial birthing of the unborn? God, these idiots love a redemption story. Baby-killing 17 years ago; wholesale slaying it in the polls now.

This is not really a campaign; his producers are just hard at work on next season’s surefire reality smash: “The Candidate.” Already intimately familiar with the man following the grueling, must-see drama of the primary and general seasons, god-bothering viewers across the country will relish the chance to come face to face with the shocking truth: it was all bullshit designed to humiliate them, further erode their voting power, and make a mockery of their so-called values.

Nazarenes ought be showering this man with hellfire and damnation, yet they revel like pigs in shit amuck his gloatingly unchristian worldview. And with their end times imperative, the man seems a more likely candidate for antichrist than president. In our nation’s first reality election, his popularity with these people makes no sense.

In the 80s, he was known throughout Middle America as another dissolute NY millionaire who made obnoxious claims about becoming a billionaire. From the seats in nowhere, IN, he was an abomination. And his boasting of billions taught many kids there’s something more than a million. He was a shameless media spectacle. He did not reflect Reagan/Bush-era old man values; he was resplendent in glittery Clinton ones.

In the 90s, he wiped out his inheritance, declared bankruptcy, and implausibly reemerged as a business expert. Metastasizing into one of those corny comeback stories conservative evangelicals love: rehab, recovery, repentance, redemption, resurrection, salvation! …Shitty products, bad books, even worse infomercials, second marriage on the rocks.

Middle class family folk spurned him, but perhaps dark thoughts began: “Must be savvy to recover from bankruptcy like that. Just a shame he ain’t asked Christ into his heart.” Logical people continued to consider him tabloid pigfeed: bad hair, big mouth, unlikeable yellow complexion. The good people of the Great Plains scorned his name and graven image, grasping that bankruptcy is not an indicator of business acumen, nor is corporate ruthlessness a gospel quality.

In the 00s, he was on tv a lot in his latest celebrity incarnation as reality star on a show about business. Attaching his name to a bestselling, ghostwritten book about deals apparently having trumped actual real life experience driving enterprises into the ground. Then he attacked America’s first black president as a foreign-born radical and had his big coming out moment.

Striking out into uncharted tea party territory and betting big on liberals’ assumptive bias that: “Yes, indeed, conservative heartlanders are dipshits. And the appeal of racist slander such as “our first black president must be ineligible for office” is a strong indication that they are, well, also racist.” Educated observers thought: “Could it be possible that this man, once derided as the quintessence of national excess and shame, now charms values voters with such blatant, classless appeals to the lowest common denominator of the dipshit moron voter?”

In the 10s, the answer is a resounding yes! Campaign ploys painstakingly designed to strike every stereotypical chord with aging white conservatives resonate not only with the largely male retiree target audience, but also with that electorate’s beleaguered, long-suffering wives. One of the three or four groups most disadvantaged by the dipshit moron worldview, white women born in the 50s and 60s have every reason not to goose-step along to their menfolk’s tyrannical tune. Yet they stand there permatanned, bleached blonde, and delirious, urging them onward unto Armageddon.

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Washington to be born?‎ A renowned chauvinist backed by baby boomer women manifesting the worst stereotypes about their gender. Foolishly leveraging generations of hard-won education, suffrage, and equal rights to vote against their own self-interest and turn the women’s rights clock back to Mayberry.

Abandoned on a brave new world, the aging white tribe has become self-aware and discovered it no longer has a role to play. It’s a beautiful world; we mustn’t let the throes of a dying generation take it with them into extinction. So pray to whatever superstition you revere that the adults in the GOP’s big tent will step in to deprive these people of their democracy and re-cage this foul thing they have loosed upon a sinful world. Only when this electorate is disempowered once and for all will American democracy truly be safe.

Jonathan Brunson is a foreign policy and international development professional. He reports on political-military and national issues in the post-Soviet space. He has written and edited for development institutions and government on topics ranging from internal displacement in Colombia and South Sudan, to human rights in Uzbekistan, higher education partnerships in Pakistan, and development of political parties in Ukraine.