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While I think the importance of character, in the sense of being a good person in general, tends to be oversold in political analysis, there are limits, and this right here is one of them.

While Joe Biden, like anyone else, obviously has some personal flaws — he has a history of playing fast and loose with details of his biography, of being too chummy with reactionary Senate cronies, etc. — he’s also someone who clearly possesses a lot of genuine empathy for people who are struggling with various challenges, and who hasn’t let a couple of particularly terrible personal tragedies embitter him, as such things so often do.

Donald Trump is the scum of the Earth. He is a rare example of a famous person who does not have a single redeeming characteristic. To become famous you normally have to have SOME sort of admirable feature, even if it’s overwhelmed by your general awfulness. Trump has pulled off the astounding feat of being one of the most famous people in the world while lacking even a hint of any human virtue, broadly defined.

He is someone who can become a leader only in the context of an authoritarian/totalitarian cult mindset:

In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. … Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

If that’s not a perfect description of the audience both created by and subsequently exploited by the contemporary American right wing scream machine, from Fox News to Alex Jones, I don’t know what is.

. . .

Former President Donald Trump drew laughter from supporters at a rally in Georgia over the weekend as he mocked President Joe Biden for his stutter.

He also fired up a network of “proud stutterers” ready to put Trump on blast over his behavior.

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