Donald Trump’s rigged system

As Donald Trump warns about a “rigged system,” he’s indirectly training terrorists.

No, he doesn’t have secret training camps in Montana or Utah. Nor does he need to disseminate any information about bomb-making. He doesn’t even need to have the desire to see anyone turn to violence.

All he needs to do is carry on bottling rage, distributing it far and wide and sooner or later this incendiary infusion is bound to explode.

Whenever and wherever this happens — and there’s no telling how many times it has already happened — it will be hard to pin the blame directly on Trump. The ticking time-bombs within the brittle minds of many an American are scattered from coast to coast.

Rage contained will get released when the person within whom it has been festering no longer feels like this is their own possession — their own demon that they must struggle to restrain.

As rage gets sanctioned and fueled by a powerful and prominent man like Trump who has positioned himself as a champion of the people, then the would-be perpetrator of violence who previously went unnoticed now believes he has been transformed into an instrument of a higher law and an expression of the will of his nation.

Not my will, but Thy will be done, thinks the American terrorist for whom this country, its people, and God form a holy trinity.

When Trump says this is a “rigged system,” he’s telling his followers they don’t live in a democracy.

Figuratively or literally, this is a call to arms — and that’s exactly the message that some of Trump’s followers are receiving.

Trump, like every experienced white collar criminal, is an expert in covering his tracks. As an agitator, he adopts the posture of an impassive witness, observing events without telling anyone what to do. But as Alex Massie observed after Jo Cox was murdered in the UK:

When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.’

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

When Trump calls out to his followers that the FBI’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton means that he and they are up against a “rigged system,” these are the kinds of responses he triggers:

“There’s a place in hell for this CARELESS, CORRUPT, LYING WITCH! 😡” tweets @MiddleClazzMom.

“I’d like to see her on fire in hell, and our sick terrorist Obama” tweets @vickilynne58.

“Disband the FBI!! Start a Citizen Secret Police to interorgate them!! Yes! I’m pissed!!” tweets @wiley4454.

“When #Government doesn’t follow the #Laws the #Citizens don’t need to!” tweets @drginareghetti.

“We all received a major blow today but like our founding Fathers this will not stop us from wining the war #MAGA #Trump2016” tweets @jrmadmen.

When you say the system is rigged, this isn’t a callout to voters — it’s a declaration that voting is worthless.

This is the message that ardent Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, hears loud and clear: “The Fix Is In: @HillaryClinton Will Be The Next President! #RiggedSystem”

“If this DONT WAKE THE AMERICAN people up, I dont know what will.. Time for the pitchforks,” tweets @BeezakaMrB.

But don’t expect a big rush on farm-supply stores, because in a country where it’s easier to buy an assault rifle than it is to track down a pitchfork, those who feel most enraged about a rigged system won’t be grabbing agricultural implements.

The more Trump claims he’s up against a rigged system, the more angry his supporters will be when he loses. They won’t accept loss as a defeat; they will view it as a crime.

Seeing themselves as victims of evil global forces, there will be a few who decide that violence is the only path to justice.

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4 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s rigged system

  1. Óscar Palacios

    And unfortunately it looks like this would also be the case with Leave supporters if they feel that their votes are not respected by Parliament.

  2. Paul Woodward Post author

    I think there are a few important differences (none of which hinge on judging the relative intelligence of the two groups, Trumpsters and Leavers).

    Having won the referendum, Leave supporters are currently in a position where they can evaluate the promises/fears that were presented before the vote, measured against what has already happened in the last two weeks. What was dubbed “project fear” turned out to a fairly well-grounded set of predictions. And this is just the beginning of what is increasingly understood to be a very long and messy process.

    At the same time, as creative as some legal and constitutional experts might be in conceiving of ways to overturn the referendum, I don’t see that happening and the signals that have come from Cameron, May and others is that democracy will be respected. That doesn’t preclude another referendum down the road, but in that event a different outcome will reflect a change in public opinion.

    Moreover, when the leading proponent of Brexit, Nigel Farage, has been so swift to declare “mission accomplished” — even before Article 50 has been invoked — and likewise Boris Johnson has been in such haste to flee from the battlefield on which he stumbled into victory, the supporters of Brexit who thought they were struggling against a rigged system have dramatically witnessed that the vote was clearly not rigged. And they have a multitude of reasons to view their own leaders with suspicion.

    That said, there will still be individuals out on the fringe harboring paranoiac thoughts about the establishment and about the need to do “whatever it takes” to protect Britain’s sovereignty. Another Tommy Mair is probably lurking out there somewhere. But that danger highlights the huge difference between the U.S. and the UK: in the ease with which murderous individuals can procure lethal weapons.

    If Brexit ends up being reversed, I don’t see that happening as a result of Parliament failing to respect the will of the people. What seems more likely would be a widening consensus that the UK took a wrong turn and a “course correction” ends up being more popular than pressing on to the bitter end.

    After EU leaders were first insisting that withdrawal needs to happen as fast as possible, many have subsequently been signalling that there is no rush and positing a variety of ways in which a door can be left open.

    Meanwhile in the U.S., however frequently Trump says the system is rigged and in spite of the non-conspiratorial ways in which that is true, he could actually get elected.

    If those of us who predict that will be disastrous, turn out to be wrong, it will be good to have been wrong. Even so, as much as I support an experimental approach to life, I’d prefer to never find out what it’s like to live in a country with this man as its president.

  3. Óscar Palacios

    Thank you for all that food for thought.

    On the other hand, I was trying to wrap my head around the extremely disconcerting resignations of both Farage and Johnson. I have a very hard time imagining politicians in my country resigning after winning an election. It’s just unthinkable. Perhaps, as many have suggested, this is because they didn’t really believe that they could win in the first place. I still have a hard time thinking about it because the polls before the referendum clearly reflected the very real possibility of the Leave camp actually winning.

    Weren’t those guys prepared for that? It wasn’t like the pre-referendum polls showed a significant lead of the Remain camp. If I remember correctly, before the Scottish referendum the gap was wider and there was a lot of talk about the Yes camp “catching up” to the No camp. There were also many people criticising Cameron and the No camp for an unenergetic and uninspired campaign. Still, the Yes camp appeared to be fighting an uphill battle. And they lost. In 2014.

    Not so with Brexit, the chances of them winning (at least as I remember the polls) seemed much more real. I’m just a curious and distant observer, but the Leave vote seamed like a real possibility; how come those guys, being the friggin protagonists, how could they not forsee the most immediate consequences of Brexit? They had no plan? Jeez.

    I’m very puzzled by that.

  4. Paul Woodward Post author

    Brexit exemplifies populist causes. The champions of such causes have much less interest in accomplishing what they are promising, than simply harnessing popular support and using it as a political tool.

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