There are many stupid people in all countries; after all, the bell curve of intelligence (whatever that is) demonstrates that 50% of the population are of below average intelligence. However, it has confused me greatly that some 60+ million people in the US could vote for Donald Trump to become president when perhaps as many people could clearly see that he was at best an amoral charlatan and a pathological liar1,2 who probably suffers from malignant narcissism. I and many others with whom I socialise clearly understood early in the US presidential campaign of 2016 what an incompetent menace he was likely to be. Why did not others realise this at the time?
Trump’s bizarre utterances are often later ‘explained’ as jokes by officials in the White House. These assertions include: that it is only because of testing that the number of Covid-19 cases is so high; that the US is doing better than most other countries in dealing with covid-19; that drinking or injecting disinfectant can kill the coronavirus if it is in the body; that poking an ultraviolet light down into one’s lungs can kill the coronavirus. These have certainly made Trump, and to a certain extent, the US, a laughing stock around the world. His ludicrous utterances and his lack of ability with English are symptomatic of his inability to cope with reality. This is to such an extent that members of his cabinet seem to have to either issue ‘clarifications’, or follow him around trying to placate other nations or organisations after Trump has opened his mouth without putting his brain (such as it is) in gear3.
Even though Trump has made so many idiotic statements which are either dangerous, untrue or at best inept, some hard-core supporters still take him seriously, and that cohort runs at about 30% of those surveyed. Soon after his election it was determined that it was the uneducated who tended to vote for him4. This reinforces my belief that education is the best inoculation against gullibility. Perhaps that is why so many right-wing governments hate education and will do all they can to restrict it to the children of the wealthy. It also makes me believe that it is largely the uneducated who are flailing around attempting to blame someone for their lives not turning out the way they had planned, through no fault of their own. Trump then comes along, lying, stating that he is their voice and that he will fix things for them, then proceeds to screw them even further, by giving tax breaks to the wealthy, pretending that Covid-19 was a hoax, not protecting jobs as he said he would and, with his family, illegally profiting from their positions in government.
You’d think that there would be protections against this sort of behaviour built into the US Constitution, that many right-wing nut jobs see to think is sacrosanct, even to the extent that some evangelical types seem to believe it came from Jesus5. It is ironic that it is the evangelicals’ poster boy, Trump, who is traducing that same constitution. While some people may be inclined to dismiss this as a US problem, the US constitution underpins that of many modern nation states, including Australia’s. These constitutions were written by people who were planning the future of their nations, to try to help those nations succeed in an unpredictable and often dangerous world. They guarded against corruption from within as much as they thought they needed to, but they wrote these constitutions under the misapprehension that politicians would have the same concerns as they had for the future of their nations. They did not allow for incumbents to be either solely concerned with retaining power, being monumentally corrupt6-9, or worse, as in the case of Trump, to be a criminal.