In response to last night’s item on whether Trump’s rally speeches, interview remarks, and Tweets should be understood as conveying ideas of any sort, as opposed to being pure acts of tribal/resentment signaling and emotion, readers offer further analyses.
It is about addiction. From a reader in the tech industry:
Your reader who compared Trump’s need for attention to drug addiction made a very important point, but I think it applies at a much more basic, fundamental level.
Since the Tea Party and movement conservatives began to push the Republican Party past rational boundaries and into the realm of bark-at-the-moon crazy, politicians and pundits have been throwing chunks of bloody red meat to the base voters.
But a problem arose. Once a level of outrageous rhetoric was achieved, it no longer provided the “hit” that the people or the media wanted. Someone had to come along and up the ante to kick-start the next round of howling anger. You got “death panels,” you got “Obama’s a Muslim,” you got “Mexicans are rapists”—it just has to keep escalating.
And Trump saw this clearly, so he came out and one-upped everybody. And now he’s on round two, and he knows instinctively he needs to one-up himself. Stand by: Round three will start about September …
‘Thinking’ as cultural dividing line. From a reader who grew up in the South:
I have a reaction to the first reader you quote in “Does Trump Think?” The reader states, “His listeners are not looking for meaning. Instead, they are thrilled by the emotion of his speeches."
I grew up in the Deep South, surrounded by the white blue-collar culture that we describe now as the Trump base vote. I recognized my inner Yankee and got out after high school. I suspect that people who didn’t grow up as I did don’t realize the extent to which “thinking” is a cultural dividing line—specifically the kind of analytical thinking that us college-educated, blue-state elite prize as the professional approach to problem solving.