California Bob opines about success, politics and personality, excerpted from an email conversation:
Trump's appeal is similar to the appeal of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rocky Balboa, Kid rock, Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura...
Growing up, we are fed the general rules about becoming a productive member of society: follow the rules, be fair, be cooperative, study and learn, treat others as you would like to be treated, etc. But there is a big subset of people, mostly young men, who have a real problem with that. They don't want to have to follow rules or listen to people, they don't want to have to be civil or considerate. So when they see someone who's brash and craps all over convention, AND who becomes successful in spite of it, it validates their sociopathic instincts. "See? Kanye West is a big jerk and he's totally rich! I'm short-changing myself if I don't let my inner jerk run free!"
And to be fair, those who achieve big things often have a high jerk factor that allows them to elbow others aside. I'm guessing Wellington was probably a huge jerk. But they usually also have some kind of talent that gives them an advantage.
When I finally started to encounter successful people in my life, one of my most demoralizing discoveries was that a lot of them are in fact huge jerks. But of course they generally also have some other talent: a huge amount of focus or energy, ivy league degrees, genius skills in math or rhetoric or logic, or something. Just being a jerk is not enough. Jerks with no compensating talent are very common, and the penitentiaries are full of them.
Trump is a jerk whose success is largely due to luck, however he does have some talents: he has a ton of energy, he's pretty relentless, and he's completely oblivious to conventions and institutions, so he's not constrained by anything that's not inscribed in law (sometimes not even then).
Of course just following the rules isn't necessarily enough to achieve great things. Rules and conventions are designed to ensure a smooth running of society, or put another way, keep the peasants docile and tractable. But there's nothing wrong with that. If everybody pursues their inner jerk, you just have chaos.
That's the problem with this relentless obsession on "individual liberty" -- for most people, maximizing individual liberty would mean devolving into homeless bands of drifters. And it has, in fact.
I give Trump good odds of winning the election. The FEC is under the executive branch. We've seen many overt acts by this admin to sabotage government, no reason to expect there won't be covert acts to sabotage the election -- they have fellow travellers throughout the system who are more than willing to destroy ballots or just fake the reporting. Lastly the media has taken on a nagging coverage of COVID and the "protests" which is just annoying people, this all redounds to Trump's benefit.
The losers here are going to be the lower classes, who will continue to be pressured by shrinking wages and benefits. When it's gradual over generations they won't notice. I'll try to send some pics of our new neighborhoods which consist of armies of derelict RV's filled with derelict people.
To recap the Trump appeal has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with sociopaths saying "I'm under no obligation to follow the rules."
I find it curious that Bob suspects the Trumper's will try and steal the election, since this is exactly the same thing all my right-wing pundits are saying about the Democrats.