Trump-brand Lemons

There will be lemons in this rant. But first of all, THIS:

Now watch it again. It’s that important.

I didn’t think I’d be writing about Trump again. The man is so obviously reprehensible in the eyes of everyone I know that I thought he’d have gone away by now. But apparently I only have classy friends; somehow, Trump keeps winning Republican primaries. I’m almost at a loss for words.

But that wouldn’t make a very good blog post, so yeah. Words. While Donald Trump and John Oliver are sparring over who has the “best” words, I’m going to go the other direction and try to bring in the oldest words:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
(Isaiah 5:20-1)

Has blatant evil ever been more widely called good? I don’t think it has in my lifetime, but it has been before. You’ve probably seen this video:

The man at the end is the most flabbergasting part of this video. He claims to not support Hitler, but when asked if he supports these quotes, he replies, “If Donald Trump said them I’d support them.” As if the man saying the quote matters when the quote is objectively horrible! And herein lies the correlation between Hitler and Trump: Adolf Hitler was legitimately and democratically elected. He was spewing anti-Jewish hate speech from the beginning and got enough of his fellow Germans to either agree with it or overlook it long enough to vote for him. He appealed to the fears and authoritarian tendencies of the German people in exactly the same way Trump is appealing to Americans today. Trump’s hate speech against women, Muslims, and Latinos has been broadcast for all the world to see. He’s even said some ignorant and hostile things about Mormons.

Joseph Smith taught that “the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” Muslims are the weak and unpopular religious group of the hour. Latino immigrants are the weak and unpopular ethnic group. But if Trump can go after them and be cheered, then he can go after Mormons or anyone else once the first scapegoat group has been deported. This poem, written of the Holocaust, should both inform and warn us today:

Holocaust Poem

We might not be Muslims or immigrants, but we could very easily be the next disliked group. It’s happened before. During the polygamy years (and even before), opponents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claimed that the Church’s American, Canadian, and European members weren’t even white. And while that may sound patently ridiculous today, people are very, very good at dehumanizing others. Trump is a master, and the people supporting him seem to rank that among his most appealing qualities—though usually in terms like, “He’s not afraid of who he offends.”

And as I read through the news and the interviews with Trump supporters, I feel sick to my stomach. Can so many of my fellow Americans really be so ignorant of history and willfully disbelieving of verifiable fact?

Well, apparently they can, and what I’ve been saying for a while now—that the Republican party is now reaping what it’s sowed over the last several years—is finally becoming obvious to others, including some inside the GOP. This opinion piece points out that “politics,” in its pure definition, is about a diverse group of people coming together to hash out compromise policies agreeable to the majority of people without trampling on the rights of the minority of people. Then it shows how the minority of the Tea Party has rejected this process because it thinks it’s entitled to have everything go its way all the time—and that this same prideful attitude is fueling the rise of Donald Trump:

These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want “outsiders.” They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.

Ultimately, they don’t recognize other people. They suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don’t accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions. They don’t recognize restraints. They want total victories for themselves and their doctrine.

This is a perfect description of both Donald Trump’s supporters and Donald Trump himself. They do seem to be electing someone who genuinely represents them. And if that doesn’t make you concerned about the state of our nation, I don’t know what will.

But how did they get that way? I’ve mentioned before how a lot of Donald Trump’s appeal exists because he is opposite to President Obama in almost every way. But why should that matter so much? Because for the last seven years, the Republican Party has done nothing but vilify the president and obstruct his agenda—an agenda that the majority of American voters supported twice in general elections. And in order to do this, the GOP had to show that they were different than Obama. Now, despite all the hype, Obama is not an extreme leftist or a socialist in the common sense of the word. He’s governed as a centrist for seven years. During his first term especially, he made real liberals mad by not moving fast enough on hot-button liberal issues like gay marriage (he waited until the majority of Americans supported it before he acted) or bringing our troops home (he ordered a troop surge in Afghanistan before the draw-down). This article (three years old but still accurate) lists several more Obama policies that come right out of the playbooks of Republican presidents like Ford and Eisenhower. I cannot stress this enough: OBAMA IS A MODERATE.

So in order for the GOP to be substantively different from Obama, it had to move to the right on the political spectrum. It had to make its policies more extreme so that they would actually be different from Obama’s. Perhaps no video illustrates this change better than this 1980 debate between Republican presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:

To say these words today and be taken seriously, you must be in the Democratic party. They no longer pass the litmus test of intolerance in the GOP. Hard-line candidates like Ted Cruz are the result. Marco Rubio once held a similar opinion to these two former presidents, but he’s had to recant that in order to compete with Cruz and Trump. Republicans who won’t, like John Kasich, are barely even noticed. And if George H.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan were running for president as Republicans today, they would be getting treated just like Kasich.

So if you are a moderate of any stripe, the lesson today is this: the Republican Party has kicked you out in favor of people like Trump. You might be tempted to form a third party, but we know from history that those don’t do well. You would be much better off to do as I have done and join the Democratic party. If enough moderate refugees from the sinking ship of the GOP climb aboard the Democratic galleon, it will move the Democratic party even more firmly to the center, resulting in good policies and actual progress toward solving our nation’s problems.

Many of you may be resistant because you distrust Hillary Clinton. I admit she’s not my first choice either, but she’s better than anyone on the Republican side. And keep in mind that the same propaganda machine that’s been painting moderate Obama as a flaming liberal has been working for even longer to portray Hillary Clinton as dishonest. The continued focus on Benghazi and her emails is a desperate attempt to build mountains out of molehills. But as my wife observed last night, even if all of that were true (and it’s not), Hillary Clinton would still be a better president than Trump. Not perfect by any means, but still a no-brainer choice.

Because at the end of the day, Trump is acting exactly like crazy CEO Cave Johnson from the game Portal 2:

Now, that’s meant to be funny. But it also comes from a game that’s very much meant to be creepy. The character speaking has been getting progressively more unhinged as the story unfolds. This is the moment where we finally understand just how insane he’s become. And I believe we have reached that moment with Donald Trump and the Republican party. Can’t you hear Trump’s voice saying these words?

“When life gives me lemons, I’m too good to make lemonade. I sue life and make it take the lemons back. I get mad. I don’t want your damn lemons! Don’t you know who I am? I’m gonna burn your house down!”

And there’s GLaDOS, the creepy AI who’s been trying to murder you (the player) for two whole games, agreeing with this guy, cheering him on—saying, “He says what we’re all thinking”! Could “burning people” really be what Trump supporters are thinking? “Deporting people” and “banning people” sure are, and that’s frighteningly close. The Holocaust began with forced relocations, but it ended with literally burning people. Where will Trump’s “lemons” take us? We have no way of knowing. But I believe that no matter how zesty or “refreshing” Trump’s lemons may taste at the beginning, by the time we’re done chewing, they will be as bitter as gall. Well did King Benjamin prophesy:

And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

Trump-brand Lemons are poison.

The Trump brand is poison.

Trump is poison, and he needs to be stopped.

The best way to stop him this year is to vote Democratic in November.