Many would liken the rise of Donald Trump to that of Mussolini, cloaking fascism in pride and division. But I think the core of his appeal comes from an even darker menace. Foreseeing the frustration of toeing the line of false piety within the Republican base, Trump came prepared to offer a far more intoxicating alternative.
The Republican Party has used false piety as a weapon of control, with its followers reaping satisfaction from self-righteousness which really only has a limited payout. False piety has a framework of decorum that purports to be dignified. Trump was ready to personify blowing that out of the water. It was time for the id to fight back and hedonism to bust through the stodgy facade.
He rose as Count Trumpula. With his arms raised, he held no black cape in his fingertips. His iconic and simplistic cap was his tool for bewitching, his delivery using everyman jargon and matter-of-fact, dismissive disdain. His arrogance perceived as strength, Count Trumpula ripped the lid off false piety while retaining it as a fourth-tier asset. He offered the glee of unrestrained hatred, and his audience ate it up. While they were very willing to risk the obvious comparison using a stiff-armed salute, they might have just as easily just tilted their heads to the right, offering the other side of their necks for the feeding that would be welcomed.
Because now they want Trumpula to feed on their essence and drain their souls. The promise of eternal bliss and lockstep devotion is worth far more to short-term thinkers. They always wanted to be an asshole like Trump, but there would always be lasting repercussions. But their idol always gets away scot free, with no one willing to stand up to a vindictive billionaire including a complicit media willing to milk the machine without confrontation or evaluation. His presence behind a podium often plays out like a mockery of the office he hopes to attain, yet Count Trumpula still wins fans by not appearing presidential in the least.
He bewitches, and all hear his words as truth. Count Trumpula offers up the threat of violence, and his minions lust for the chance. Build the wall, or Mexicans will take your job, he says. Ban all Muslims from entering, because every single one can be a terrorist. Objectify my wife, please, because that's OK again. And objectify my daughter too, because she's really hot. No one, not even the Pope, is more important than me. Face it, you long to be a bad boy like me. Well just tilt your head and it will be done.
To those spread before him, Count Trumpula's power is seen as untouchable. No wooden stake will pierce him unless it comes from his own hand. No others can wield it, because his defense of offense is impenetrable.
Although they can't conceive of it, there is garlic that can weaken their hero. It comes in the form of math. It lies in simple questions the media would never ask, because you don't stick his hoof in your gift-horse's mouth. "Where will Mexico get the money to build our wall? What governmental branch will have to be created and funded to prevent Muslims from entering America? And just what percentage of Muslims are jihadis anyway? Are we talking 40% or .01% here? If the former, they must be pretty timid jihadis if we haven't seen much more violence inside the US. Are you calling them chicken?"
When math and logic are applied to Trumpula's bombast, a rational person has to find the Dark One's argument full of holes.
Although they created the cesspool out of which Count Trumpula arose, the Republican Party has been victimized by the strength of their own venom. They too hold the garlic, but if they use it they decimate their own tools of manipulation. Without the rise of their chosen CORPservative slaves to industry, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie, the GOP quickly found themselves with no lapdog in the fight. Marco Rubio was as close as they could come, but he flamed out. Left with two polarizing figures fighting for the top of the ticket, the most plausible path to retaining power leaves them with potential presidents they cannot fully control. Count Trumpula will cede nothing. Rafael Eduardo Cruz will listen to nothing. Each will bring lead coattails to the Nov. election.
Only a brokered convention will offer any hope of a true puppet in the White House. And without that, the GOP will see the beginning of the Democratic onslaught, and what's worse, under Dem control America will actually get tangibly better. Trickle down will peter out. Count Trumpula's minions will remain, but no longer live on as a political force. They will just fade back to being the jerks they always were, only wielding power and camaraderie at their end of the bar.