Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Lessons from the Trump phenomenon

COMMENT

TAGS: US Elections, US, Politics

What is happening in America is extremely dangerous but also very informative. President Donald Trump has lost the election. No matter how you look at it, he has lost, yet he refuses to accept defeat and has barricaded himself inside the White House. Unless reality becomes odder than a Netflix series, he will leave the landmark building on January 20. The logical thing is that he will leave, maybe without welcoming President-elect Joe Biden or attending the inauguration. But what is logical and probable has become very thing – on a global scale.

Two things stand out. The first is the failure through fear, or cowardice even, of the more moderate and serious Republicans to rise to the occasion. Only a handful have taken a firm position and a few others have muttered a word or two. The reason? Fear that Trump will attack them in a tweet and make them political pariahs. The old establishment has abdicated. With few exceptions, senators and other officials as being mere doormats.

The second astounding fact is that 70 percent of Trump’s supporters believe that the election was not free and fair. To them, it is totally irrelevant that federal and local Republican officials confirm that there hasn’t been the slightest hint of vote tampering, especially on a scale that would affect the outcome. The vast majority of Trump supporters believe his “truth.” The president has even managed to undermine, in their eyes, the credibility of what was until recently “his” channel, Fox. The broadcaster’s ratings have consequently suffered, giving credence to the cliche that, whoever crosses Donald pays for it dearly.

This 70% does not read The New York Times, does not watch CNN or even Fox. It finds its “truth” on Facebook and YouTube. I was reading somewhere recently that videos promoting conspiracy theories had 138 million views on YouTube the week following the election.

The “real” media and moderate, non-fanatical people are frightened. Maybe because, once again, they are in a bubble and believe that “the other half” is angry and disgusted by the same things that anger and disgust them. Wrong, it’s not like that. They inhabit different universes. And this is the great lesson for all of us, in Greece included. Because even at a time of immense crisis there are many, way too many, fellow citizens, who believe that the coronavirus is a great conspiracy and masks a muzzle imposed by the system. It must be true, because they were “told so” by their priest or other “spiritual guide” or they “read it on the internet.”

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