This fall finds more cases of “Chump disease”–a political virus in the same genus as those from the late Father Charles Coughlin, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) and Gov. George Wallace (D, AL). Species of the disease organisms can be classed by their targets–for those species: Jews, Communists and African-Americans. Traces of a recent outbreak of a related disease can be found in remains of the Pea Potty.
Chump disease has been multivalent, provoking attacks on women, African-Americans, Mexicans, Muslims and Jews. Acute onset tends to be accompanied by bloviating from which a few words tumble, including “fat,” “ugly,” “crooked,” “lyin’,” “crazy” and “little.” Disease carriers are urged against the targets. Writing in the Washington Post October 1, Stephanie McCrummen profiled the behaviors of a disease carrier: “Someone who thinks like me.”
Origins of Chump disease extend far back into the Years of Slavery. Former Presidential diseases in this genus included those from Jackson, who treated the federal government like his private farm, and from Polk, who bought and sold slaves at his desk in the Oval Office–both virulent racists hailing from Tennessee.
Michael Finnegan and Evan Halper wrote warnings this August in the Los Angeles Times: “Trump says ’2nd Amendment people’ can keep Clinton from naming justices” and “Virus spreads to Presidential politics.” Mr. Halper was writing about a biological virus–one that sometimes causes lasting nerve damage–but it suggests a metaphor for Nazis. The Chump was reported to keep a copy of Hitler’s speeches in his bedroom.
The Chump’s emotional awareness looks to have frozen at around age four, before he might have learned to share. His language seems to have stalled a few years later–leaving him barely able to produce a full sentence, let alone a paragraph. “I guess, right? Right? I guess. Right?” Now he’s a freak: a frightened child hiding inside an aging person.
Recently the Chump has been getting more of the treatment he deserves from mainstream media: ignoring his tantrums as circus sideshows. Zombies still wave and clap for him, but they are due a surprise, once they look around. At a fork in a road, many of their neighbors went another way.
When the Chump verged from freak show to center ring, he was badly exposed. He had neither training nor experience. In the newer environment, he is wildly outclassed. Exiting the first Presidential debate of 2016, he seemed flustered yet unaware of how thoroughly and skillfully he had been skewered. Soon he was venting over a former beauty queen, whom he helped to crown two decades earlier.
The next evening, as wounds from his thrashing began to burn, he dropped “Secretary Clinton” and relapsed into “Crooked Hillary.” As though on cue, his claque of would-be brown-shirts screamed, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” A few weeks from now, he’ll rest in a memory heap–somewhere far beneath Jennings Bryan, the Cross of Gold candidate from 1896 who, at age 36, could indeed produce complete sentences.
– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, October 2, 2016
Jenna Johnson, Trump urges supporters to monitor polling places in ‘certain areas’, Washington Post, October 1, 2016
Stephanie McCrummen, Finally: someone who thinks like me, Washington Post, October 1, 2016
James Hohmann and Breanne Deppisch, Trump stumbles into Clinton’s trap by feuding with Latina beauty queen, Washington Post, September 28, 2016
Jenna Johnson, At Florida rally, Trump resumes attacking ‘crooked Hillary Clinton’, Washington Post, September 27, 2016
Paul H, Jossey, How we killed the Tea Party, Politico, August 18, 2016
Michael Finnegan, Donald Trump says ’2nd Amendment people’ can prevent Hillary Clinton from choosing judges, Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2016
Evan Halper, Zika virus spreads to Presidential politics, Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2016
Martin Pengelly, American Nazi Party leader sees ‘a real opportunity’ with a Trump Presidency, Manchester Guardian (UK), August 7, 2016
Thomas Beaumont, Associated Press, Charting a road to 270, Clinton sets out most efficient path, WTOP (Washington, DC), August 6, 2016
Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press, Fact check: Trump’s Iranian propaganda video a concoction, WTOP (Washington, DC), August 4, 2016
Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer, What Donald Trump learned from Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man, New York Times, June 21, 2016
Holocaust Encyclopedia, Charles E. Coughlin, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, June, 2016
Ibram X. Kendi, The eleven most racist U.S. Presidents, Huffington Post, May, 2016
Debbie Elliot, Is Donald Trump a modern-day George Wallace?, (U.S.) National Public Radio, April, 2016
Joyce Oh and Amanda Latham, Senator Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism and the Witch Hunt, Cold War Museum, 2008
Marie Brenner, After the Gold Rush, Vanity Fair, 1990
Richard Kreitner, William Jennings Bryan delivers Cross of Gold speech, The Nation, 2015 and 1896
Craig Bolon, Chump No. 2 returns as anti-Semite, Brookline Beacon, July 3, 2016
Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3, plain vanilla creep, Brookline Beacon, June 16, 2016
Craig Bolon, Chump No. 3 sounds like No. 2, Brookline Beacon, June 11, 2016