Forget the impeachment: that will be merely a footnote
When the British narrowly voted in 2016 for suicide by Brexit, Europe was shocked. But Brexit was nothing compared to Trump.
When Trump was elected in 2016, despite being the most ignorant, infantile, inadequate, repellent, and utterly stupid candidate in the history of the USA, politicians around the world instantly grasped the real lesson he’d accidentally taught.
The road to power in a modern democracy runs through lies and simple-minded blustering.
The hard fact that few people want to accept is that at least half of all voters are completely ignorant and not very intelligent. This means that they can’t grasp our modern complex world and so they’re desperate for someone to come along and tell them simplistic lies their limited intellects can encompass.
It doesn’t matter if these lies are totally implausible. It doesn’t matter if these lies are so infantile that even a small child would see through them. All that matters is that the lies are simple, and delivered as much as possible in monosyllables.
Trump became an accidental president because he wanted to boost ratings for his flagging trash TV show by pretending to be a candidate. The media gave him 85% of all coverage for free because he was a one-man freak show and people love to gawp at a freak. Then overwhelming exposure created momentum and that, combined with name recognition, carried him into the White House.
And politicians all over the world sat up and took notice.
No one thought Brexit was a model for anything except grotesque stupidity. It seemed to be a unique one-off event. But after November 2016 everyone realized that Trump had shown how amazingly simple-minded and easily gulled a huge proportion of voters truly are. Trump showed that provided one was willing to use the Hitler Playbook and stir up a toxic mix of fear and hatred, success was almost inevitable.
In retrospect Brexit became comprehensible because it too had relied entirely on simple-minded lies and the demonizing of foreigners. Trump taught the world that stupidity and venality are the keys to power.
Mussolini and Hitler and Stalin and Mao all thought that the critical percentage necessary to take over society was around 30% of the population. Trump consistently maintains 40% support.
By being a blustering infantile moron.
Immediately after Trump’s success, cynical politicians around the world began using the same strategy. Bolsonaro in Brazil, Salvini in Italy, AfD in Germany, PiS in Poland, Babis in the Czech Republic, and Johnson in the UK have all used the Trump Method to harvest millions of eager drooling dull-eyed simpletons who will reliably howl and cheer on command.
Trump categorically showed that you can never aim too low if you want to gain power democratically.
And that is why he’ll go down in history. Trump single-handedly proved that representative democracy is, pace Plato, a one-way road to eventual tyranny.
Now let’s consider how we got here.
Our fundamental problem: outside of politics, we expect people to demonstrate adequate capability before we let them do things.
If you want to be a neurosurgeon you can’t just stroll into a hospital and try to convince people you’d naturally be the greatest, smartest, most stable genius neurosurgeon in the whole universe.
If you want to be a pilot you can’t just board an aircraft and try to convince the other passengers that you’ll be the most stable genius pilot in the history of history.
If you want to be a dentist or hairdresser or plumber or electrician or truck driver or any one of a thousand other professions, you need to demonstrate some degree of competence. If you want to drive a car, you have to pass the driving test. You can’t just bluster and lie.
But in politics, which is perhaps the most important domain of all because it affects every single one of us, we don’t require competence in those standing for election and we don’t require competence in those who line up to cast their vote.
We let anyone, literally anyone, stand for office. We let anyone over the age of majority vote, regardless of their mental state, knowledge, and intellectual capacity.
This is why we have Trump and Johnson and Bolsonaro and Babis and Erdogan and Le Pen and Putin and all the other prancing imbeciles who are tearing our fragile civilization apart.
This is the lesson Trump has taught the world and the reason he will go down in history: he has conclusively demonstrated that representative democracy is totally unfit for purpose and leads inexorably to ruin.
The horrors our children and grandchildren must now suffer in the years to come will be Trump’s ineradicable legacy.