NORTH ADAMS — What the most enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporters brush aside is how much right-wingers hate her.
They hate her husband and they hate her, and after the last eight years under a president they also hate, I'm not looking forward to any more. The Republican hate machine requires very little retooling to shift from Obama mode to Hillary mode, and that thought exhausts me.
It might even exhaust me more than the thought of living through a Trump presidency, which I think is far more likely unless Bernie Sanders gets the nomination. Battle of the angry white men, one incoherent, one focused. If you want the Democrats to win the presidency, you'd better hope for Trump versus Bernie.
But even that's a gamble.
There is one scenario that has Trump causing the Republican Party to self-destruct to such a degree so that whoever the Democratic nominee is wins. The accepted wisdom has become that Trump and the Republican Party don't see eye-to-eye, and will not work well together.
I think they will find common ground if Hillary wins the nomination to be sure. The Republicans are not beneath using whatever weapon there is at hand to stop the thing they hate.
But I wonder if Trump is more dangerous than candidates like Ben Carson or Ted Cruz, people who believe every dangerous word out of their own mouths. Trump is a showman first. Real estate developers aren't usually media hogs, but from the very start, he was, and he knew exactly how to get the headlines. This translated in a reality television career, which really gave him the opportunity to hone his craft further.
His impromptu bravado is well-orchestrated.
His ability to cause offense is cynical play-acting.
Maybe the guy is just a psychopath, that good at manipulation.
I fear Trump supporters more than I fear Trump himself. Trump will get bored with all this at some point. His supporters will do the damage meanwhile.
This is the humbug of Barnum, the spectacle of professional wrestling, the fiction of reality television masquerading as a genuine event. This is a certain segment of the masses rallying behind someone bankrolling his own ascendency and, therefore, someone who owes nothing to anybody. Not even his supporters.
Read enough accounts of Trump's rallies, you see that his foot soldiers are often the most marginalized and dismissed of white people. Some are the dregs of the Tea Party. Many don't know what to do without Trump rallying them.
Our culture is awash in dystopian fiction much like teens of the 1950s were inundated with anti-Communist, nuclear war fear-mongering. Our books, our movies, our television, are so drenched in the idea that we cannot conceive of a Trump presidency that doesn't involve interment camps or jackbooted thugs, color-coded citizenry or battles to the death.
But life isn't The Hunger Games, and by painting the potential of Trump's America as exactly that, we are giving Trump and his followers more power than they truly have. We are doing exactly what they want us to do. Each fearful person announcing they will move to Canada is not only insulting Canada, but handing nourishment to Trump and his followers.
The choice seems clear to me. We can dodge a bullet, or we can stop a bullet. Stopping it may involve taking the bullet. Dodging it, though, means we lie there, shaken, waiting for the next one to come. Do you want to live that way?