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Diane Roberts: With Donald Trump, it’s Midnight in America

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China is stealing our brains. Europeans are laughing at us. Mexicans are pouring over our open borders to drive down your wages and rape your children. ISIL bombers disguised as Syrian refugee children will soon be living on your block. Muslims are shooting up discos. Democrats are coming to take your guns.

It’s Midnight in America.

Or maybe, like, 3 am. That’s an even worse time. The point is, America totally sucks. (Thanks, Obama).

There’s only one thing you can do to save it: vote for Donald J. Trump.

According to Donald J. Trump, anyway. He’s tanned, rested and ready.

He’s “your voice.” If he wins (WHEN he wins), “the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end.”

How soon? Inauguration Day.

How will Trump do it? By Making America Great Again, you loser. Trump’s powerful Trumpismo will overcome pathetic obstacles such as the United States Constitution. He will Make America Safe Again.

Truly, Donald J. Trump is an inspiring candidate. He has inspired former Klansman David Duke, a registered Republican, to run for the US Senate from Louisiana.

Duke, who has endorsed Trump, likes the way Trump has “embraced his ideas.” His platform is to “demand respect for the rights and the heritage of European Americans.”

Make America White Again.

Trump says he is all about Law and Order. Just like another charismatic figure from Americans politics.

Richard M. Nixon.

In 1968, Nixon looked at America and didn’t like what he saw. Hippies. Yippies. Rock and Roll. Black Power agitators. Women’s libbers. Anti-police rallies. Psychedelia. Short skirts and long hair and weed.

He didn’t like it, but he figured he could use it. The Republicans’ “Southern Strategy,” inciting white voters resentful of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, would lock them into voting GOP. Middle Americans terrified of the riots that followed the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, and horrified at youth culture and anti-war protestors, would vote Republican as well.

You just had to frighten the crap out of them.

At his RNC acceptance speech, Nixon darkly invoked “cities enveloped in smoke and flame” and “sirens in the night.” He would bring back law and order.

Trump decided that if it worked for the most despised president in American history, it would surely work for him: “I think what Nixon understood is that when the world is falling apart, people want a strong leader whose highest priority is protecting America first,” Trump told the New York Times. “The Sixties were bad, really bad. And it’s really bad now. Americans feel like it’s chaos again.”

A “strong leader.” A boss, in fact. Does ring any historical bells? Listen to Trump’s fact-challenged and detail-free rant. No nod, however small, to democracy. Promises to lock out people who don’t “share our values.”  Appeals to nativist prejudice: “Americanism not globalism.”

Richard Milhous Nixon (who struggled with the democracy thing), yes, but also Benito Mussolini.

Maybe Trump’s not a fascist, though he has no actual policies, no actual nuts-and-bolts platform.  Robert Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism points out: “Fascist leaders made no secret of having no program.”

Trump will govern through sheer force of personality. Just like Mussolini. VP Mike Pence will be in charge of “domestic and foreign policy.”

Mussolini concentrated on restoring the Roman Empire. Trump will arm us to the teeth, wall us in, and declare that America is, in fact, great again.


Diane Roberts’s book “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America” will be out in paperback this fall. She teaches at FSU.

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