Understanding The Trump Phenomenon.

The success of Trump the candidate seems to have confused liberals and conservatives alike. But it’s really not that difficult to understand if you look at the underlying causes.

First, there is great dissatisfaction among many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Both sides see growing poverty and a struggling middle class while, at the same time, a privileged few are thriving. Both see a dysfunctional Congress that now represents only a fraction of its constituents – those with the money and power to call in political favors.

As a highly accomplished con man, Trump has tapped into the voters’ smoldering anger toward government, fueled by Fox News Channel and virtually the entire radio spectrum of rightwing, hate radio. Using a tactic perfected by unsavory dictators, he has successfully focused the blame for our problems on outsiders and those on the fringes of our society. He has convinced a substantial portion of our population that the nation is struggling as the result of Mexican immigrants, Muslims, China and “political correctness” – an oversensitivity for minorities, Muslims, immigrants, women and the disabled. That has invited angry white men to dig out their Klan sheets and to say whatever racist, sexist things that cross their degenerate minds.

Far from being the successful business leader his supporters believe him to be (he is one of the few to ever lose money as the owner of a casino), Trump is really only accomplished at the arts of persuasion and branding. He refuses to deal in specifics, understanding that emotions matter more than facts or even truth.

Capitalizing on what I would call the Kardashian effect, Trump understood that his celebrity and outrageous statements are good for media. As a result, he has been able to manipulate the media’s greed to the point that CNN and even the so-called liberal cable network, MSNBC, were willing to spend airtime focused on an empty Trump podium waiting for Trump’s latest rant than to cover a policy speech by Hillary or a large rally for Bernie.

Trump has benefited from the chronically short attention spans of the public – a public unwilling, or unable, to research or to comprehend the issues. A public that disdains nuance and complicated answers for complex subject matter. An impatient public that views the world as black or white; good or bad; right or wrong. He has also benefited from a political environment based on tribalism – knowing that even those members of his party who despise him and everything he stands for will eventually fall in line to support him. And he has seemingly embraced the strategy of former GOP strategist, Paul Weyrich, who correctly posited that suppressing the vote – even if it means alienating a majority of potential voters – benefits Republicans.

Finally, he has benefited from a chronically disorganized and divided Democratic Party – a Party that lacks clear, decisive leadership; a Party that, without control of the media, has struggled to articulate its accomplishments and its message; a Party that has made it easy for people like Trump, Cruz, Ryan, McConnell, et al to promise everything, but deliver nothing.

House Of Horrors.

No, it’s not The House On Elm Street. It’s not Norman Bates’ home. The US House of Representatives has claimed the crown! Populated by a host of psychopaths, spooks, bloodsuckers and zombies, it strikes fear into intelligent people around the globe.

Within its terror-filled chambers, Speaker Boehner plays a modern-day, orange-tinted Mad Hatter with a Tea Party no less crazy than that from Alice In Wonderland. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are like Freddie Krueger and Norman Bates trying to slash food stamps, Social Security and Medicare. Michele Bachmann talks glowingly of the end times. Louie Gohmert wields a verbal chainsaw attacking everyone and everything in sight. Steve King (not to be confused with the less frightening Stephen King), Trent Franks, Joe “You Lie” Wilson and Ted Poe lead the rest of the freak show.

Across the hall, honorary member and defacto House leader, Ted “the headless horseman” Cruz, unleashes a seemingly endless stream of hatred and nonsense.

With a cast like this, is it any wonder Washington has spun out of control? Is it any wonder that Congress has become dysfunctional? Moderate Republicans have fled for their lives, allowing the John Birch Society and Ayn Rand-inspired zombies (aka the Tea Party) to take our government hostage. So it’s now up to Democrats and Independents to put an end to their insanity.

But there are no silver bullets, no wooden stakes. And unlike horror movies, you simply can’t turn away from the terror or walk out of the theater when it gets too scary. In this story, it’s as if the 3D psychos have jumped off the big screen to threaten us all. Moreover, their tactics will have real consequences for the poor, the hungry, the young, the elderly and the middle class. Our only defense is our vote.

Around Halloween, everyone likes a good haunted house or horror film, but this is a horror story that may not end well…if it ever does. That’s your cue to scream!