“I’ll Take Shakespearean Portmanteaus For $200, Alex”
The answer is… politics in the era of reality TV show presidents
Setting: Sometime in the not-too-distant future; on set recording of TV game show “Jeopardy.”
[end commercial break]
Alex Trebek: Welcome back! As you all know, our categories tonight are in the fun domain of portmanteaus. Good luck; here we go!
Contestant 1: (a quiet, unassuming librarian who loves knitting and cats and is hopelessly stereotypical) I’ll take Shakespearean portmanteaus for $200, Alex.
Trebek: Answer: Shakespeare writes a tragicomedy concerning the rise and fall of an American fruit drink beverage chain during the presidency of this modern aspiring tyrant.
Contestant 1: Who is… Orange Julius Caesar?
Trebek: He’s the one! Go ahead!
Contestant 1: Let’s move over to political portmanteaus for $200, please Alex.
Trebek: Here’s the clue: A brand of populism — perhaps jingoism — with a tinge of religious bigotry and white supremacy, all lumped together and masked under the false pretense of ‘patriotism.’
Contestant 1: What… is… Trumpism?
Trebek: You got it — referring there, of course, to the dark years of politics in which Donald Trump was once president of the United States.
That’s how it goes in my dreams, anyway.
But my dreams also include a grand, dramatic departure of Donald Trump, one where he not only loses by a devastatingly large margin, but also ends up having to be forcibly removed from the Oval Office. With a vaudeville hook. And the clang of a gong. As we hear the laughter and murmur of a live studio audience, their anticipation building to climactic proportions.
It’s sundown. He’s then escorted past ghostly tiki statues towards a makeshift hut and fire pit newly constructed on the south lawn of the White House. Tribal council awaits — “Survivor” reality TV show style — where he’ll be forced to account for his many lies and atrocious actions throughout the course of this 4-year reality sh*tshow. And the tribal council determining his fate includes Rosie O’Donnell, Maxine Waters, Kathy Griffin, and Patti Lupone (among others).
Sen. Kamala Harris would then step forward to snuff the fire from Trump’s torch (carried by Pence), and as Joe Biden enters stage left, Sen. Harris’ resounding words, “the tribe has spoken,” are followed only by the hollow timbre of a lone didgeridoo.
I mean… a girl can dream, right?
Love him or hate him, certainly, we all have our opinions of Donald Trump. As for myself, I’ve always been vocal about not liking him. Not liking him a lot. Though my opinions of him were formed long before he occupied a position in government, they’ve only solidified harder after 1,363 days worth of his tenure.
The question on the table today, though, is what exactly is ‘Trumpism?’ After four years of observing, reading, and learning as much as possible about Trump and his loyal cult-like following, here’s how I’ve come to define it.
Trumpism is a political — almost religious — ideology, that’s comprised of one or more of the following (each is linked to another article for further understanding of that topic and how it relates specifically to Trumpism).
- Populist nationalism (with tones of jingoism) that’s vastly misrepresented and mislabeled as “patriotism;”
- Grievance politics, especially, white identity politics;
- Belief in a “deep state” coup (where “deep state” has come to represent an effective way of signaling a conspiracy for which there just isn’t any evidence);
- A Christian persecution complex;
- Toxic masculinity;
- A respect for authoritarianism, authoritarian governments and an appreciation of demagoguery;
- People who are united by the idea of a “militia movement” and the idea of completely destroying the state in order to build something else entirely — i.e., the “Boogaloo Boys/Bois,” “Proud Boys,” “Wolverine Watchmen,” and other similar groups;
- People who are united in the perpetuation of urban legends, conspiracy theories, etc., or in other words, deep memetic frames;
- Manipulative and/or abusive behavioral tactics like psychological projection and gaslighting;
- The use of logical argument fallacies, like ad hominem attacks, strawman arguments, hasty generalizations, and appeals to ignorance;
- Unchecked, unaddressed white privilege, plus a willful ignorance of (and refusal to accept or acknowledge) the existence of systemic racism in America, even in the face of reason and facts;
- Inability to distinguish propaganda from legitimate news;
- Inability to distinguish between fact and fiction, or, at least, a very loose regard for truth in general.
Certainly, there’s a lot more to Trumpism than the 13 bullet points I’ve given here, but in my observation, these are the most pervasive, polarizing, and poisonous ones of all. Anyway, it’s getting late and I have to get to bed. Tomorrow’s gonna be long; it’s day one of early voting in my state, and I’ll be in line.