On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a lengthy look at the lives of “Trump’s Rally Diehards”—a gaggle of “mostly white” men and women who have followed the president’s roving MAGA hate-fests from place to place, soaking up his unctuous self-flattery and casual xenophobia like they have “an addiction,” as one of them explained.
Folks, I’m here to tell you that this situation does not sound great.
Here’s one anecdote:
Libby DePiero once drove her Ford Focus so far to attend a Trump campaign rally—about 1,000 miles from her home in Connecticut to Indiana—that when she lay in bed that night she thought the twitching in her driving leg was coming from an animal under the mattress.
[Rubs leg] The ol’ Trump gam’s twitchin’ again. Gonna be some racism a’comin, I reckon.
“You go to the rallies, and he basically tells you that you don’t have to put up with ‘the swamp’ and those kinds of people,” said Saundra Kiczenski, a 40-year-old Walmart worker from Michigan who has been to 29 rallies. “Because of him I decided not to pay for Obamacare, not pay the fine. And what happened? Nothing. Before, the quiet me would have paid the fine. But Donald Trump told me that we have a voice, and now I stand up for myself.”
Personally, I question the wisdom of publicly stating that I was inspired by the president of the United States to enthusiastically break the law.
Okay, one more:
“Once you start going, it’s kind of like an addiction, honestly,” said April Owens, a 49-year-old financial manager in Kingsport, Tenn., who has been to 11 rallies. “I love the energy. I wouldn’t stand in line for 26 hours to see any rock band. He’s the only person I would do this for, and I’ll be here as many times as I can.”
I wouldn’t stand in line for 26 hours to see anything, honestly. But, especially not to have a billionaire septuagenarian yell at me about how great he is.
As we’ve seen time and time again, toxic fandom is a vile, pernicious force when it comes to ostensible ephemera like lightsaber measuring, and web-slinging cinema. But when it manifests in something as important as presidential politics? Folks, we’ve got a problem. Read the full Wall Street Journal piece here.