But none of this makes Donald Trump some kind of uncanny unstoppable force of nature. Remember when people marveled that Karl Rove was some kind of sooper-genius phenomenon... just because he was so brazen in his willingness to lie and cheat? Donald Trump and Karl Rove are utter mediocrities, they are ethically failed human beings. It was and remains only the ongoing failure of our organizations to weed them out when they fail to meet the standards of sustainable public organizations and resources, or even to prosecute them when they break rules and laws that renders them apparent "phenomena."
The GOP is now nothing but the party of scared racist bullies. The scared racist bullies of the GOP liked the biggest racist bully. And that was clearly Donald Trump. Few point out this bald truth and hence few are capable of getting at the "mystery" of the Trump phenomenon, or the failure of conventional wisdom the about the experience, expenditure, most convincing checking off of the plutocratic talking points (more defense spending, lower taxes on the rich, punitive austerity for "them," white-racist patriarchal Christianist family values over all), or the person whose "turn" it is to win the GOP nomination to win this time around.
Permit me to be "smug" for a moment. Racism is stupid and insane and evil. And its public voice is dying into impotent marginality -- which is not to deny the horror and heartbreak of its legacy and lingering force. None of the mediocre, bland bigots of the GOP's so-called "deep bench" of unpopular untalented unaccomplished uncharismatic Governors and hate radio celebrities could critique the racism that empowered Trump without alienating the base they would need to succeed within the GOP themselves. But we are not so constrained. To pretend these incompetents with their serially failed market fundamentalist pieties, their death-dealing fragile masculinist worship of guns and wars, their utterly rancid racist sexist heterosexist cissexist bigotry are anything but killer clowns is to deny obvious facts and disdain basic decency. If you think THAT is smug, then kill yourself because you're already dead. (Or, you know, read a book and wake up, or whatever. So smug!)
But you know what? America is not the GOP. America is the diversifying, secularizing, planetizing coalition that already elected Obama President twice in a row and has only grown since, and grows more and more and more by the day. Trump's appeals to disgusting bigotry may be dark magic for the aging white gun-nuts of the GOP (and the old white straight guys who still throng news media), but it is weird and ugly and out of touch in the America that has always been a nation of immigrants barrelling toward majority minority multiculture. Trump can try to divide this quarrelsome lot, Trump can try to make us scared, but there are rich vein of go along get along convivial pragmatism in this country and there are plenty who want calm competence at the helm when they are truly scared -- that is to say, it is unclear to me that Trump's line will even work if he manages to get us to frame this election in his preferred terms.
There is no mystery about the Trump phenomenon, only the exhibition of a destiny: the patriarchal white-supremacy that has long animated the American narrative is dying in America, even as it is still killing as it is dying away. It is time, and long overdue, for new stories. Here's hoping we can sweep aside the wreckage and find a field of flowers blooming here -- the work of building and maintaining sustainable equity-in-diversity in a nation and in a planet wounded and traumatized almost beyond healing is formidable enough and beautiful enough to enlist all our effort.