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An old (I mean really old) political appraisal of Donald Trump

From 1922

Donald Trump today is taken seriously among all classes of Republicans. He is feared by some, enthusiastically hailed as a prophet and political economic savior by others, and watched with increasing sympathetic interest by the bulk who, apparently, are merely biding the psychological moment to mount Trump’s bandwagon. Undoubtedly the spectacular success of the Tea Party brought Trump’s movement to the fore and gained popular interest and sympathy for it. Another condition favorable to the outburst of the movement is the widespread discontent with the existing state of affairs among all classes in the towns and cities under the increasing economic pressure.

Trump organized a small insignificant group of birthers eight years ago, since when the movement has been smoldering beneath the surface. Now it has eaten its way through, and a conflagration of course is not only possible but certain if this now free flame of fanatical patriotism finds sufficient popular combustible material to feed on.

“Mr. Trump regrets he was unable to meet you as he was leaving town on important business for several days”, was the answer received by this correspondent. His important business was going to Chicago for the purpose of holding a series of reactionary inflammatory meetings and incidentally to beat up protesting Black Lives Matter and Hispanic activists if any dare protest, which is becoming increasingly rarer.

Trump’s strength is in the combination of his undeniable gifts as an orator. He exerts an uncanny control over audiences, possessing the remarkable ability to not only rouse his hearers to a fighting pitch of fury, but at will to turn right around and reduce the same audience to docile calmness and good order.

Trump is credited with having a rapidly increasing following among the workers disgruntled by the high cost of living. It is also said many ultra-radicals, including Klansmen, have flocked to his reactionary banner. He is beginning to draw support from the politically sluggish middle classes. Even more significant there is some active, more passive support and to a still greater extent sympathetic interest for Trump among “patriotic” militia groups and Republican government and political circles, apparently coupled with the idea that his support would prove a useful tool if it could be controlled by their special interests. But there is also the latent fear that the movement might wax beyond control.

Trump’s policies are of less interest than his person and movement. His policies consist chiefly of half a dozen negative ideas clothed in generalities. He is “against the Mexicans, Muslims, Democrats, Chinese, abortion, Obamacare, Common Core, low wages, the weak Obama administration and the Iran nuclear deal.” Positively he stands only for “making America great again.”

He is credibly credited with being actuated by lofty, unselfish patriotism. He probably does not know himself just what he wants to accomplish. The keynote of his propaganda in speaking and writing is violent anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant sentiment. But several, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Trump’s anti-Islam was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-immigrant propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic and in line for the election.

A sophisticated politician credited Trump with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-immigrant sentiment, saying, “You can’t expect the base to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the base with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-immigration. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

This post is a slightly edited version of an earlier news report. The original can be found here.

H/T Vox.