When I was far too young, I watched The Manchurian Candidate starring Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury at a friend’s house back when television didn’t have too many choices and Saturday afternoons showed old movies. The movie disturbed me the rest of my life. One scene, in particular, left me with nightmares.
A group of captured American soldiers who had been brainwashed by Chinese communists are being presented to an audience of party functionaries and military leaders. The presenter, a bald Asian man with a fu manchu mustache, tells one of the soldiers to shoot Bobby, the youngest of the group. As the man points a gun at his forehead, the boyish Bobby smiles innocently at his executioner. That smiling face staring at death bothered me until I re-watched the film about fifteen years ago in an effort to finally exorcise those demons.
Trump’s most loyal supporters remind me of Bobby. Trump famously said “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Back then, we envisioned the person he would shoot would be an opponent. Now, we know the people he’s shooting are his supporters and they’re smiling while he pulls the trigger.
Trump promised to drain the swamp in Washington. Instead, he filled his cabinet with Wall Street bankers, corporate CEOs and Washington politicians who feel entitled to use taxpayer money to fund plane rides for personal travel. But the Trumpsters don’t care. He’s sticking it to transgender people who want to serve in the military. Take that!
Trump rolled out a tax reform program that’s little more than tax cut for the rich and will probably raise taxes on the middle class. He wants to do away with the estate tax, a tax that only affects estates worth more than $5 million, while doing away with the exemption on state and local taxes, something that benefits almost every American homeowner. But that’s ok. He’s still talking about building that wall.
Now, he’s cutting subsidies for Obamacare which will raise premiums by 20%, increase the deficit by $200 billion and increase the number of uninsured by 5%. The middle class will almost certainly pick up the tab and the lower middle class will feel the pain of losing insurance. But, hey, he’s defending those Confederate monuments.
After a steady diet of Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the like, Trump’s die hard supporters have been brainwashed just as surely as those soldiers in the film and only react to the grievances pointed out by their masters. As Trump levels the gun at them, they smile and thank him for taking on the cultural elites, illegals and others who are ruining the country. They only make up about 25% of the nation, but they’ll stick with Trump until they’re are dragged off stage and he retires to one of his country clubs to play golf at their expense.