“The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” – Adolf Hitler, Volume One, Chapter Six: War Propaganda, Mein Kampf
The deeply polarised and disturbing voting in the 2020 US presidential election underlined how almost half of the American masses squandered a golden opportunity of voting out a psychopath, megalomaniac, pathological lying, nepotistic and self-aggrandising president with a thumping majority.
Even if Joe Biden becomes the 46 th POTUS, the voting pattern has exposed the serious lack of mental faculties and moral compass of the average Joe and Jane rooting for Trump, their racial mindset, immunity to logic and science, personal preferences over patriotism and enormous capacity to absorb the torrent of lies that emanated from the Oval Office
The fact that Donald Trump snagged battleground states like Florida, Texas, Ohio and Iowa is mind-boggling despite Covid-19 infecting 9.58 million Americans and killing 234,000 (as of November 5) because of his cavalier attitude towards the fatality of the virus and callousness towards the victims. On the voting day itself, the US reported its second-highest daily count of cases at 91,530 with record hospitalisations in the Midwest and West, including Iowa and Ohio. Florida reported 4,637 new infections with 56 deaths on November 3, bringing the total number of cases to 816,700 and fatalities to 16,890. On July 12, Florida had reported 15,000 new cases, shattering its earlier record of 12,274 infections in April 4. Still voters ensured Trump’s victory in these three battleground states.
Trump’s admission that he concealed the severity of Covid-19 and how much more lethal it was than the seasonal American flu from Americans way back in the first week of February—during one of the 18 interviews with Watergate scandal-fame journalist Bob Woodward for his book Rage—should have been the biggest reason for voting against him.
Trump’s subsequent vociferous denials about the lethality of the virus, advocacy of his own distorted theories regarding Covid-19 against the views of scientific experts like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, discouraging his supporters to not wear masks and maintain social distancing not only killed thousands of Americans but ravaged the economy as well. Businesses shut down, employees were either sacked or furloughed, millions became jobless and filed for unemployment claims and countless families financially ravaged.
Unemployment galloped to the highest since the Great Depression to 14.7% in April, turning 20 million jobless in a single month, from 3.8% in February with the rate even in May at 13%. Even during the Great Recession, 2007-09, the number of jobless Americans increased by 8.8 million with the unemployment rate peaking to 10.6% in January 2010, according to Pew Research Center. On the other hand, the three-month Covid-19 Recession cost more than 40 million jobs.
Though the president’s claim that the US had the lowest unemployment rate in the last 50 years before the virus ravaged the economy is true, his predecessor Barack Obama added 7 million jobs in his last three years as against 6.4 million during the Trump era. Yet, voters swarmed Trump election rallies, which brazenly violated Coronavirus guidelines, and turned up in massive numbers to vote for him.
In context of the voting in 2020, Adolf Hitler couldn’t have been more right when he wrote that “the receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous”. The Latino voting bloc’s support for Trump in general and Florida in particular was a rattling reminder of how they are conveniently forgetful of the volley of insults and disparaging remarks he had heaped on the community. Announcing his candidacy in 2015, Trump had compared Mexican immigrants and Latinos to rapists. “It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America.” Award-winning Hispanic journalist Jorge Ramos, a US citizen, was thrown out of Trump’s Iowa press conference in August 2015 when he asked him about his stance on immigration.
Trump’s disdain for Latino voters was confirmed by his former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen in his book Disloyal: A Memoir, released before the election. According to the book, the president once said that he will “never get the Hispanic vote” because “like the Blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for” him. Yet, according to a national exit poll by Edison Research/NEP with a sample size of 14,066 voters, 31% of Latinos voted for Trump. The Florida exit poll by Edison Research/NEP (5,824 respondents) revealed that Trump got 47% of Latino/Hispanic votes. The Trump campaign had tapped the Latino vote bank this year in a far more organised and precise way that Team Biden fearing losing votes.
Shockingly, African-Americans too voted for Trump despite his known racial and xenophobic rants. Considering the brutal killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake, especially Walter Wallace days before the bitter election campaigning, by cops, even a single vote for him from the community is impossible to fathom. Unbelievably, 11% of African-Americans voted for Trump, according to the Edison Research/NEP’s national exit poll. In fact, the number of non-White votes Trump received this year is slightly higher than in 2016.
Even 42% of women voted for Trump, according to the national exit poll, despite his disparaging remarks against them, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and his 2016 presidential rival and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Infamous for his abhorrence of women world leaders, Trump had called then-UK prime minister Theresa May “fool” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “stupid”. His history of sexual assaults and inappropriate behaviour against women has been widely reported by the media. The book All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, written by journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, mentions 26 incidents of “unwanted sexual contact” and 43 instances of inappropriate behaviour.
Trump core base and his new voters have made it starkly evident that they don’t care when their leader demolishes American institutions of faith with impunity, disparages and threatens world allies, pulls out of international accords—the Paris Agreement and the WHO—and triggers trade wars.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.