Mellanöstern och Nordafrika Tidningen
Published On: fre, Sep 23rd, 2016

Just how stupid are Trump supporters?

In the U.S. presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton recently was criticized for saying that half of the supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump were a “basket of deplorables.” While there is no doubt that some of the most vocal supporters of Trump are bigots and racists, such as the KKK inspired David Duke (who is running for senate in Louisiana), it is not clear if that number is below or above the halfway mark. But I would like to suggest another basket, without giving a specific percentage to offend objective-minded people.

Many Trump supporters, as can be readily seen by attending a Trump rally and listening to their comments, belong to a basket of really stupid people. Comedy Central (which should not be confused with the unintentional humor of the rightwing media giant Fox News) sent one of its stars to interview Trump supporters and did not have any trouble finding some of the most stupid and illogical people you can imagine. I realize that stupidity in the human species is transnational and not specific to any one nation or ethnicity. Politically motivated megastars like Erdogan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines and Trump act as a magnet for stupid and illogical people. There are still individuals who think the earth is flat or that the moon landing was actually shot in Nevada. But some Trump supporters are not far behind. You can watch the interviews yourself.

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Just as there is a long and sad history in America of racism against African Americans and continuing anti-Semitism, there is also a rising tide of Islamophobia. Donald Trump has stoked this prejudice by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, and then modifying it to make sure every new immigrant loves America (the way white supremacists love America) through a thorough vetting. Trump has also led the birther movement, insisting that President Obama was not born in the United States and only agreeing to say he was recently (in order to get on with the campaign). Beyond this, one poll found that 2/3 of Trump supporters think Obama is a Muslim. That basket mentioned by Hillary just got even larger. One of Trump’s supporters in the Comedy Central interview insists Obama is a Muslim because he takes off his wedding ring once a month and that is proof he is a Muslim, who are not allowed to wear jewelry.

The anti-Obama vitriol is front and center with Trump supporters.  Many insist Obama is not only a Muslim but may be the antichrist and he is certainly thought to be a socialist. The highlight of the Comedy Central interview was a man who blamed Obama for the attack of 9/11 because Obama was not in the White House at the time. Think about this for a moment. This fellow, who has a right to cast a vote in the most powerful nation on the globe, does not know that the president was George Bush in 2001. Another person suggested that Hillary Clinton probably has AIDS because her husband slept around with Magic Johnson. This person will also be voting. I suspect if the interviewer had continued he would have found Trump enthusiasts who believe that African Americans have tails. I know that quite a few of his Evangelical supporters believe that in the twinkling of an eye all the born-again Bible believers will magically disappear into heaven (the Rapture).

As I write this, the specter of a gladiatorial presidential debate between Clinton and Trump is only a few days away. Here we will see Trump minus the “make him less offensive” teleprompter. Unless he is the kind of actor who can totally change his own personality, his basic stupidity will be something to watch. Of course there is no outrageous or totally false thing he can say that will deter his army of really stupid followers. They may not be 50% or they may be more than half, but they are there and they will vote. In less than two months this whole circus will be over. Stupid people could elect Trump but only if other people are stupid enough not to vote for his main opponent.

About the Author

- Anthropologist and historian with 40 years of experience researching and working in Yemen. Varisco is currently the President of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, a Senior Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and an expert advisor to MENA Tidningen.

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