[Commentary]: Donald Trump Is Not a Fluke
As the presidential race stretches into Wednesday with no winner having yet emerged, one surprise that has come to fruition is that President Donald Trump over-performed on Election Day to a disturbing degree.
In 2016, 62,985,106 Americans voted for Trump. This year, turnout increased, and the president has earned more votes in 2020 than Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the tallying is not yet finished.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid observed that the closeness of the race coupled with the millions of voters that Trump has added to his movement suggests that Americans are facing an existential reckoning:
The question then becomes if Biden ultimately emerges, even if narrrowly as the winner, he then faces a country that is substantially Trumpist, right, that has a bare majority of people who reject everything that that comes with, including caging children and stealing them from their parents, and the sexual harassment, etc., all of that. But then a substantial minority that is okay with it, or embraces it, and so, you know, I just wonder what all this says about us. I think as the rest of the world watches this happen all night tonight, I think it raises real questions about what America is at the end of the day, and whether what Trump is is more like what the American character is than people ever, ever wanted to admit.
Even if Trump loses, we will have to grapple with the fact that a criminally racist president, who is an outspoken authoritarian and responsible for a plague, has managed to seduce sixty-seven million Americans into believing that he is the cure to what ails them.
In June of 2018, I wrote that Trump was not an aberration:
What the hell happened to us? Actually, nothing. The election of the 45th president didn’t change a thing. It revealed a deeply paranoid and exploited society, whose anger has been manipulated – brilliantly – at the wrong people. And now, the engineers of this budding fascist dystopia are scoring legislative and judicial victories at breakneck speed.
They have fully embraced authoritarianism. Our elections are compromised. Our justice system is anything but just. Our ecosystem is collapsing. I fear the powers of good and democracy are outgunned by a political movement that for decades has coaxed the public into believing that gutting social programs and subjugating society’s most vulnerable will ‘make America great again.’
On the ballot this year was a referendum on what kind of country the United States is – and how we as Americans define ourselves as a society. That Trump’s toxic, dumbed-down consumer-fascism has expanded in the last four years demonstrates one thing: Donald Trump is not a fluke.