As the Trump Turns: The Attacker has Become the Attacked

It’s long been observed (and recently much more eloquently than I could explain it) that Trump is a sort of champion of Americans who are upset by and weary of the direction the United States has been going.  Specifically, many rural white folks and working class people (much of my family falls into these categories) for whom economic circumstances haven’t been nearly so pleasant as progressive claims about the immensity of their white privilege might suggest.

They need someone to express their legitimate concerns and even their not-so-legitimate concerns about Hillary Clinton as a candidate for President.  And Donald J. Trump is the consummate attack dog, going after Hillary Clinton with a will in all three of the Presidential debates.  He was so successful in prosecuting the case against Hillary Clinton that his supporters are often convinced (just as Trump says) that the polling data is rigged against him and that in reality he’s winning.

This is completely wrong, of course.  There’s no rigging worth the name, and the evidence show’s that he’s losing pretty badly.  Even moreso than Mitt Romney did.  But if you feel strongly enough to absolutely refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton (and I do too), then this might not make any sense to you.  How could the great attack dog Trump fail to convince a majority of people when he’s convinced his supporters?

Well, it may have to do with the fact that he’s been attacked himself.  Mostly by his own words.  The most effective attack dog against Donald J. Trump has been…Donald J. Trump.  One problem with being a person who can attack anyone (and also a person who can compliment anyone) is that it’s very easy to end up attacking someone you previously complimented.

For example, Trump has praised Hillary Clinton in the past for her work as Secretary of State.  More recently, he suggested that she was the worst SoS to ever have the job.  This attack might play well with those who are still outraged by the Benghazi incident, but it won’t play well with anyone who likes honesty and consistency.  Nor does it play well with Trump’s progressive opponents.

He’s not wrong to think that he’s being attacked frequently.  He’s been the target of many sneering attacks from progressives, serious critiques from progressives, and more serious and earnest critiques from conservatives.  These attacks have not infrequently been international in scope and incredibly caustic.

This is hardly unexpected.  When you attack people, they tend to respond with attacks on you.  And so the attacker has become the attacked, perpetuating the cycle of outrage with each new zinger that rouses his supporters.

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