Hussein Ibish in The National:
Mr Trump especially appeals to those white American males who feel blamed, collectively, for all the ills of society, and that they, alone, can be vilified not only without restraint, but also usually with applause. This narrative insists that, in reality, it is actually these middle-class white American males who are being unfairly economically disadvantaged.
Mr Trump, the billionaire, is cleverly exploiting the anger of those who feel, often with complete justification, that they are inexorably slipping from the middle class into the bulging ranks of the working poor.
Immigrants and other minorities could not have accomplished this grand theft without the connivance of traitorous “liberal elites”.
Money-grubbing corporations, the mainstream media, academic snobs, arrogant intellectuals and the hated federal government bureaucracy are the core of the liberal cabal that betrayed “real Americans” for ideological or selfish reasons, and consciously and cynically degraded the country. This imaginary grand betrayal is at the centre of Trumpian rage.
The Republican Party establishment is seen as part of the problem. It is either too weak or compromised by corporate and other interests to effectively defend the country. Only – or even especially – someone unquestionably outside of the thoroughly corrupted system can possibly hope to rehabilitate it.
Narratives about radical, emergency measures needed to reverse national devastation caused by parasitical minorities empowered by back-stabbing elites must be immediately recognisable as the stuff of fascism.
Yet it’s not clear what, if anything, Mr Trump actually believes. He hardly seems a would-be dictator. His campaign most often comes across as a gigantic ego trip, and sometimes even an incredibly elaborate practical joke.
But what explains the eagerness with which his lies, fabrications and reversals are championed by his supporters? It somehow doesn’t matter that his wild claims about blacks being responsible for most murders of whites, or thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, or Barack Obama not having been born in the United States, are demonstrably and incontrovertibly false.
The facts aren’t relevant. All that’s important is the sentiment, even if expressed through evident lies. The emotional “truths” they articulate are much more meaningful than the claims themselves, and therefore their veracity is incidental.