Why Trump voters don't care if their leader is a criminal

Why Trump voters don't care if their leader is a criminal

by digby

Peter Beinert makes a nice observation about the parallel universe's in which the American people dwell these days:

On Wednesday morning, the lead story on FoxNews.com was not Michael Cohen’s admission that Donald Trump had instructed him to violate campaign-finance laws by paying hush money to two of Trump’s mistresses. It was the alleged murder of a white Iowa woman, Mollie Tibbetts, by an undocumented Latino immigrant, Cristhian Rivera.

On their face, the two stories have little in common. Fox is simply covering the Iowa murder because it distracts attention from a revelation that makes Trump look bad. But dig deeper and the two stories are deeply connected: They represent two competing notions of what corruption is.

Cohen’s admission highlights one of the enduring riddles of the Trump era. Trump’s supporters say they care about corruption. During the campaign, they cheered his vow to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. When Morning Consult asked Americans in May 2016 to explain why they disliked Hillary Clinton, the second most common answer was that she was “corrupt.” And yet, Trump supporters appear largely unfazed by the mounting evidence that Trump is the least ethical president in modern American history. When asked last month whether they considered Trump corrupt, only 14 percent of Republicans said yes. Even Cohen’s allegation is unlikely to change that.

The answer may lie in how Trump and his supporters define corruption. In a forthcoming book entitled How Fascism Works, the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

Fox’s decision to focus on the Iowa murder rather than Cohen’s guilty plea illustrates Stanley’s point. For many Fox viewers, I suspect, the network isn’t ignoring corruption so much as highlighting the kind that really matters. When Trump instructed Cohen to pay off women with whom he had affairs, he may have been violating the law. But he was upholding traditional gender and class hierarchies. Since time immemorial, powerful men have been cheating on their wives and using their power to evade the consequences.

The Iowa murder, by contrast, signifies the inversion—the corruption—of that “traditional order.” Throughout American history, few notions have been as sacrosanct as the belief that white women must be protected from nonwhite men. By allegedly murdering Tibbetts, Rivera did not merely violate the law. He did something more subversive: He violated America’s traditional racial and sexual norms.

He notes that Clinton being the first woman candidate for president was considered a corruption of the "traditional order" for these people. This explains their continued febrile excitement at the prospect of "locking her up."

I think he's right about this. Trump's people are outraged that anyone but white men and the women who help them ensure the world is safe for patriarchy and white supremacy are given equal status and they are fighting with everything they have, egged on by a bunch of cynical, right wing media monsters desperate to keep their market share.

By the way, these "Real Americans" are also total hypocrites and completely devoid of principles. They spent years wearing their alleged morality and patriotism on their sleeves telling anyone who disagreed to "love it or leave it." Now we have a depraved, ignorant, criminal in the White House and they love him. They are, in a word, deplorable.