When we learned the average education level of a Trump voter was below a high school diploma we were not surprised. The simplistic message that brought about his election was repetitive and sounded like an infomercial for a product you really didn’t want to buy. As we have been trying to understand the rationale for Donald J Trump (R) we just need to travel back in time when Minnesota was in the Northwest Territory and relate to the formation of the Republican Party.
In August 4th 1855, in a letter Joshua Speed, Abraham Lincoln wrote, “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.”
In this passage, he is highlighting the aspects of the Know-Nothings or the Native American Party and not those of indigenous descent, who were an isolationist, anti-immigration, anti-Semite, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, conspiracy-driven movement. The downfall of the Whig Party after the passage of the Nebraska Kansas Act of 1854 created an opening for another opposition party to the dominance of the Democratic Party.
In his rise to the Presidency, Lincoln saw the Know-Nothings as a scourge, a blight on the land, and sought to purge their influence from the newly formed Republican Party after the 1960 election.
The lack of common knowledge, understanding of government and the aspects Trump spouted throughout his term are emblematic of these ideals of the Know-Nothings, and the lack of education proved how ripe our nation is for a cult-of-personality take over. It started with Ronald Reagan (R) a former movie actor and deteriorated to a cheap two-bit Carnival Barker an exploitationist from a reality TV show.
Our Constitution was crafted to prevent dictatorship and mob rule and in Trump we got both simultaneously. His constant lies sold the snake oil, and those who benefit were willing to turn a blind eye, and appeal to those unwilling to look into the information behind his words traveled as sheep to the slaughter.
We must gird ourselves from ever falling into such a scam ever again.
If the followers of Trump are not purged from the Republican Party, then maybe it needs to go the way of the Whigs, but in a vacuum, something will fill. The desire to advent Conservative principles is the call, and people of principle must step to the fore.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-09, CA) said it best when referring to the trial phase of the 2nd impeachment of Trump, “We’ll see if it’s going to be a Senate of courage or cowardice.”