Thoughts on Donald Trump's resurgence

Photo of Donald Trump campaigning at West High in Sioux City is by Bernie Scolaro and published with permission.

Bernie Scolaro is a retired school counselor, a past president of the Sioux City Education Association, and former Sioux City school board member.

Former President Donald Trump has won all the GOP nominating contests so far. On March 5 (Super Tuesday), the MAGA base in fifteen states and American Samoa will vote for a shallow man who somehow fills an emptiness inside them. It’s a sort of “Fat Tuesday” for Trump zealots. 

What insatiable need is missing from the common, everyday person that so many want to re-elect a person like Trump? What void lets us elect someone regardless of his cruel bullying? 

What void allows us to defend someone who lies continuously and makes decisions based on how he and his family might benefit, regardless of national security issues or the disappearance of the democracy that our forefathers fought for so tirelessly?

What moral void allows us to accept a leader who wants mass deportation camps? What moral void allows us to defend a “president” who enthusiastically separated children from their parents, or is non-apologetic for sexually assaulting women?

What political void is such that we allow a leading candidate for president to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin and encourage Russia to attack our NATO allies, while pushing false narratives to deflect from his own corruption? 

What political void allows us to elect a man with so little understanding of the Constitution or checks and balances of government branches, and clearly no desire to learn about or protect those core American values? 

What psychological void allows us to continually back a man whose narcissistic needs from day one in his first term was consumed with himself? (It was evident from his obsession over the size of his inaugural crowd.) He was so jealous and insecure about President Barack Obama that he continually seeks to undermine his predecessor and project blame onto him. He uses the defense mechanism of projection so often, I wonder whether he would recognize his own reflection. 

We all remember Trump’s famous line about not losing supporters even if he shot somebody on in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Perhaps his steadfast supporters experience the psychological phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance: “When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, people will try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.” 

I would describe it as a form of heightened justification and rationalization instead of owning facts or changing one’s mind due to new information. That’s why it doesn’t matter to them that Trump was impeached, has been charged with 91 felony counts, and was instrumental in inciting the January 6 insurrection. You won’t change the MAGA brainwashed minds; they aren’t hungering for that information.

What I don’t get is the insatiable desire to re-elect a man like Donald Trump. Which needs does he fulfill in us? Is it a recklessness, a wish that we could be like him—say what we want, feel what we want, regardless of what it does to others? Are we that empty inside, that we are willing to digest whatever he is willing to dish out to us? 

Are we in a nationwide mid-life crisis that prompts us to risk all that we have become as a country in exchange for a white nationalist and America-only country where merciless dictators are praised? Are we somewhat blinded by the thrill of the danger as if being chased in the hunger games to prove that we can still survive? Have we not learned from Alexei Navalny’s death that this type of autocracy cannot end well for the majority of us? 

I hope we survive—just don’t forget to avoid Fifth Avenue. 

About the Author(s)

Bernie Scolaro

  • Here’s what

    Trump has given hope to a large group of Americans who have gone from servitude to hardship from the beginning of our country to today. People who have gone through comparable abuses and poverty as our Black populations. People whose suffering has never been acknowledged. That’s why he is so popular and nothing sticks to him.

    (See White Tr*ash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
    Book by Nancy Isenberg)

    #of course there’s debate if why Trump acknowledges the needs of these people

  • puzzling to think this begin with Trump

    this guy is wrong about the neo-cons who had their own love of dictators and authoritarianism (many embrace the vile unitary executive theory) but he still offers a decent list of historical examples folks might remember:

  • Nice Piece

    It’s complicated to fully understand how a self-centered, ethically challenged politician like Trump can appeal to so many people.

    It’s clearly less about political philosophy or specific issues that traditionally define differences among candidates.

    With Trump it feels a lot about a reaction (especially among men) to the declining white, straight dominance over how we collectively live, work and govern as our country becomes more diverse.

    Also, a significant percentage of Christians are increasingly frustrated as America becomes more secular. They see this trend as some type of attack on religion, when really, it’s occurring in part because churches are not changing to retain and attract members.

    Trump’s appeal is simply shorthand push-back at these societal changes, among others. They find his angry, victim-laced, te

  • Oops. Accidently Hit Send Again

    To conclude . . .

    Trump’s appeal is simply shorthand push-back at these societal changes, among others. His supporters find his angry, victim-laced, tear it all down rhetoric appealing. Of course, he offers no solutions. Just anger and bluster.

  • seems worth

    remembering that Nixon won big despite the preceding public issues of Watergate…

  • mixed support at the union hall

    Have some Trump supporters at our local union along with some for President Biden. Trump’s behavior is shameful but not happy with Biden’s economy or his disgusting lack of border security. Shop steward says Biden cares more for the illegal aliens than he does for Americans. I’m on the fence, usually vote democrat but not happy with Biden’s age or some of his policies.

  • Best Union President ever

    Unions that don’t back Biden are forsaking the only President who ever walked a picket line. He has no policies that are anti-union.

  • this gets to the heart of the matter here in Iowa

  • Paul Waldman

    Paul Waldman studied in an elite liberal art college and got a graduate graduate degree in an expensive Ivy League university. He is part of the wealthy East Coast liberal minority who has oppressed white rural poors since the beginning of our country. He is part of this minority who calls them “deplorable”. Not only Waldman doesn’t understand the challenges rural whites have been facing, he is part of the problem.

  • Thank you, dirk, for that link

    That book looks very interesting.