Politics Analysis

Collective madness: Interviews with everyday Americans on Trump

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(Cartoon by Mark David | @MDavidCartoons)

Insightful interviews with everyday Americans – Trump supporters and haters – make clear the divided madness that has engulfed America, Sue Arnold writes.

AS A FREQUENT VISITOR to the States, this reporter's most recent experience was somewhat stunning.

The "heart of democracy" is suffering from near-terminal major strokes. Economic woes are paramount and evidence of decline is impossible to ignore.

But the most compelling stuff is the political battle being fought between former President Donald Trump and anyone who doesn’t pledge allegiance to him, his politics and his dire threats to democracy.                       

The description of the U.S. as a divided nation hardly does justice to reality. A national mental asylum might be a more apt description.

Having attempted to discuss politics with various Americans in many different parts of California and Nevada, these are samples of the conversation.

A reasonably well-educated known Trump supporter (KTS) comments on the hush money trial in New York — Trump is facing 34 counts of falsification of business records, including a secret payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

The big question is whether Trump made the payment to suppress the story in order to win the 2020 Election. In other words, election fraud.

This is the man who is on tape speaking about his sexual advances: “Grab ‘em by the p***y, you can do anything”.  

His sexual exploits with various women are on the record.

Stormy Daniels is reported to be wearing a bulletproof vest to the Trump trial. 

According to her attorney:

"She was paralysed with fear, not for taking the stand or telling her story, but of what some nut might do to her.”

Daniels testified on the sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006 in a Lake Tahoe hotel. Her testimony was very explicit — at the same time highlighting the bravery of a woman who faced off the former President at considerable risk to herself.

IA QUESTION TO (KTS): “So what do you think of Stormy Daniels and the hush money trial?”

KTS RESPONSE: "Stormy Daniels is just a whore."

IA was unable to continue with this particular conversation for fear of injuring the interviewee.

Interestingly, Professor Paul Ehrlich, a globally respected biologist, says his vote goes to Stormy Daniels for President.

KTS WENT FURTHER: “The Justice Department has been weaponised against Trump. All these charges are just nonsense. As for his real estate deals, so what if he inflated the value of his properties? People do it all the time. Banks know. Biden is the worst President in U.S. history.”

Discussion ended. 

A conversation with a 28-year-old artist – well-educated and aware of the current political nightmares – summed up the attitude of many young people:

YOUNG ARTIST: “Lots of my friends are saying they’re not going to vote. They don’t like Biden or Trump, they feel like our voices are not being heard at all. They feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. Economic issues, Trump’s lies, the legal charges, provocative and terrifying assertions about becoming a dictator Hitler-style, Gaza, Ukraine — it’s all too much. But I’ll be voting. I‘ll vote for Biden."

A shopkeeper in a rural town in Nevada told IA that he wouldn’t be voting for anyone. As voting is not compulsory in the U.S., many Democrats and Republicans fear there will be a significant number of potential voters who will choose not to vote.

The dislike of both candidates is prolific.

SHOPKEEPER: “They’re both dreadful. It’s time for a change. We need younger people, shorter terms of office, clean out the Supreme Court — there’s so much that needs to be done but isn’t happening. Things will get better one day.”

Days later, Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito is in the news as the New York Times broke the story that his wife displayed an upside-down American flag at the couple’s home in 2021, saying it was an "international signal of distress".  

The flag has been adopted by some far-right activists as a signal to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 Election win.

A second report indicated yet another flag associated with the far right known as the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flying at the Alito’s holiday home in New Jersey. 

Justice Alito said the flag-flying was 'entirely his wife’s business'.

Speaker Michael Johnson, a dedicated Trump devotee, has this flag outside his office. It’s a Christian nationalist symbol that ‘signals a desire to shape the US into a Christian nationalist nation’.

The conservative-dominated Supreme Court is expected to make a decision soon on whether Trump has immunity from federal law, effectively making the president nearly entirely above the law.

Calls for Justice Alito to recuse himself from the challenge over Trump’s claim to immunity over the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as a result of the flag flying, have been ignored by the judge and the chief judge of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts.

As if the political and economic dramas are bad enough, the abortion issue continues to escalate with a challenge before the Supreme Court to ban a common anti-abortion-inducing drug.

Louisiana State has passed into law a Bill which reclassifies the anti-abortion drug as a controlled substance — possession without a prescription from a specially licenced doctor could be punishable by five years imprisonment.

Visiting the U.S. these days is a step into a world of insanity. A nation where many Americans either retreat to their homes as sanctuaries from the madness or join a growing flock of crazy people who believe any conspiracy fed to them.

The stark evidence of Trump’s extraordinary damage to the justice system and democracy, the ongoing scandals, the loss of women’s rights over their bodies, and importantly the impacts on the office of the president is like an ongoing tsunami.

A rising tide of issues that would make any sane person feel lost, powerless, and downright terrified of the November Election outcome.

America is now number 36th on the world’s democracy matrix, listed as ‘deficient democracy’, along with Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, Panama, and Mongolia.

Sue Arnold is an IA columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

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