The Day of the Deranged: Part I

The haters won’t care. They’ll never care.

Normal people are disgusted by reports that Republican presidential nominee could have avoided paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades. Normal people are repulsed by Trump’s verbal assault on the dignity of 1996 Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado and former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jennifer Lin. However, the Trump crowd couldn’t care less. They find this sort of stuff amusing and admirable, not amoral.

Considering the moral and mental blindness of his highly motivated supporters, I do not buy for a moment Politico’s suggestion that Trump’s tax troubles constitute a deathblow for his campaign:

In a tweet at 7:22 a.m. ET on Sunday, Trump…did not deny the [New York Times] report. “I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes,” he wrote.

Trump’s refusal to release any tax returns, something every presidential nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972 has done, has been one of the larger clouds hanging over his campaign and one his Democratic opponent has sought to exploit.

It now appears as though the GOP nominee’s failure to come clean has backfired, with the Times drawing one of the same conclusions that Hillary Clinton offered as a possible explanation for Trump’s secrecy in last Monday’s debate — that he has paid little or no federal income tax for some time.

The story, which posted Saturday night just as Trump had taken the stage for a rally in Manheim, Pa., seemed to send the candidate, already reeling from a week that started with a bad debate and continued with a stream of recriminations over his treatment of a former Miss Universe in a 3 a.m. tweetstorm, spiraling at even greater velocity into a political abyss.

After taking the stage 102 minutes after the rally’s scheduled 7 p.m. start time, Trump veered off-script several times, impersonating Clinton’s near fall last month as she was suffering from pneumonia and asserting — after taking credit all week for his restraint in not bringing up Bill Clinton’s sexual improprieties at the debate — that she probably isn’t faithful to her husband anymore because, he said, “Why should she be?”

Trump’s allies, meanwhile, tried to shrug the story off by minimizing the importance of a partial tax return from a single year and characterizing it as just the latest attempt by a liberal media to hurt their candidate.

I fear this strategy will work, and that Trump’s supporters will continue to love him, because they hate everyone else.

Speaking of hate, last March I noted that manifestations of Donald Trump-inspired invective were not limited to “red” states, citing an incident in which Jewish students at Newton North High School in Massachusetts were subjected to taunts of “You killed Jesus!” during a basketball game. Sadly, as the election grows closer, the climate of hatred spawned by the Republican presidential nominee has only gotten worse:

A group of Newton North High School students who drove through the school parking lot waving a large Confederate flag out a car window have sparked a police investigation and a discussion over racial tolerance at the predominantly white school.

Both Newton police and school administrators are investigating, Mayor Setti Warren said.

“The actual act is under police investigation,” Warren said Wednesday night. “I’m hopeful we will have some forthcoming details from the Newton police about it.”

The students involved in the incident, which took place on Tuesday, have not been identified publicly. But Newton North’s administration has identified and spoken with the students who were involved, Principal Henry J. Turner said.

A video of the incident went viral on social media after a student who was upset by it posted footage on his Facebook page.

Let me guess. The parents of these students aren’t planning to vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Setti Warren is the first African-American mayor of Newton; five years ago, prior to Elizabeth Warren’s entry into the race to challenge then-US Senator Scott Brown, Warren was widely expected to mount a strong campaign against the unqualified Republican heir to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. It must horrify Warren to bear witness to this. It should horrify us all.

Donald Trump is the father of this invincible ignorance and intolerance. His minions flood comment sections with caustic and crude celebrations of the Confederacy. His supporters act like marauding hooligans at his rallies. The members of his inner circle lie without shame or conscience.

The intellectual contrast between supporters of Hillary Clinton and supporters of Donald Trump is perhaps the greatest in recent United States history. The former group consists of those who have some semblance of understanding of culture, philosophy and how the world works, who recognize that science, physics, research and knowledge are important. The latter group apparently consists of those who think the Alan Parsons Project is a public-housing development, who assume Naomi Klein is Calvin’s sister.

When ignorance conquers intellect, terrible consequences invariably follow. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush taught some of us that lesson. Those who did not learn that lesson were too busy watching Dynasty in the 1980s and The Apprentice in the 2000s.

The worst could still happen. The racists, the sexists, the anti-Semites, the alt-righties and the low-IQ lickspittles could still have their glory (a glory aided by the Russian government, perhaps). Every day, we run into people who want Trump to win, who want to turn the clock back to the 1950s, who want black and brown and gay and Muslim people to go away and find another country. These people are convinced that Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 victories were just two consecutive flukes, and that on November 8, the natural order of things can be restored.

They are vicious. They are vulgar. They are vile.

Despite the humiliation the Trump campaign has experienced this week, could they still be victorious?

(NEXT: What a Trump win would say about America.)

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.