It might as well not even exist in their minds.
Let’s say that somehow, someway, The Tape hit the Internet. Explicit footage of Donald Trump in a Moscow hotel room in the fall of 2013, whooping it up as Russian escorts got their freak on in a most unsanitary manner. Imagine seeing Trump, the leader of the free world, carousing in a state of arousal, incompetence turned on by incontinence.
Then imagine 62 million of our fellow Americans not giving a damn. Because if The Tape ever leaks, that’s exactly what will happen.
The cult of Trump has become comfortably numb to the threat this man poses. His lawlessness, ruthlessness and recklessness are considered attributes by his admirers. Not only could he shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and get away with it, his cheerleaders would say it was self-defense.
This is the sick psychology of the right. This is the intellectual abyss into which so many Americans have fallen.
Those who continue to support Trump after all his scandals and silliness have made him their god. What will they do and say if Trump loses in 2020, if their god fails? Will they finally confront reality and facts, and embrace the diversity and wisdom of a changing America? Not a chance in hell. They will surely retreat further into moral darkness, waiting for another Republican demagogue to come down the pike in 2024.
Trump was their last, best hope, their final chance to thwart the rise of a new, open, tolerant America, their ultimate opportunity to, as William F. Buckley once infamously put it, stand athwart history yelling “Stop!” They can’t give up on Trump. They don’t know how to.
This is why, even if The Tape surfaced, they will not leave his side. They will make excuse after excuse. The right-wing evangelicals will indeed speak in tongues, muttering incoherent rationalizations for Trump’s hotel horniness. Anthony Scaramucci will say that…come to think, it’s too disgusting to think about what Anthony Scaramucci will say.
The Trumpists will be able to intimidate the mainstream press into effectively censoring The Tape. They’ll lean on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC to limit how many times The Tape can be played, declaring that the airing of The Tape itself is a form of “liberal media bias.” The Trumpists may even try to pressure YouTube into pulling The Tape down.
The Trumpists will be fixated on restricting the distribution of truth because to them, truth is a lie. Look at all the things they consider lies: The reality of human-caused climate change. The arguments in favor of keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally unstable. The evidence that Medicare for All would reduce health care costs and strengthen the economy. The studies pointing to the benefits of diversity in higher education.
Trumpists can’t handle the truth, even when the truth is played right in front of them—and because they can’t handle the truth, Trumpists are getting played.
Will any of the put-upon “working-class Americans” who voted for Trump be any better off once his administration ends? Of course not. They’ll still be deep in the 99 percent, while Trump and his Cabinet will be wealthier than ever.
Hillary Clinton would have fought until every last ounce of strength was gone from her body to raise them up, to help them put more food on their table, to help them get the best education possible for their children and the best jobs possible for themselves. Alas, she had a (D) next to her name, so they scorned her and damned her.
In so doing, they scorned and damned themselves—yet their reverence for Trump has rendered them blind to their very own suffering. They would take their last dollar and give it to Trump to fund his re-election campaign–and will howl in pain if that re-election campaign fails.
Maybe I’m being way too cynical. Maybe, if Trump loses, some members of his fan club will finally wake up. Some of them will realize they’ve been had. Some of them will admit to themselves that Trump did nothing for them. However, they’ll never apologize to the people they hurt, the families they tore apart, by voting for this menace. They’ll still have too much false pride. They’ll keep their shame in their hearts and minds for decades. In other words, boy, they’re gonna carry that weight a long time.