We can see and feel it coming, and we hope that we will be wrong. It’s a sickness that we share: an insanity rooted in nihilism, xenophobia and hatred; creating a general paranoia that is very much alike to a diabolical possession.
There is nothing new in what we see now: the demons have been lurking in wait to take possession of their inheritance for as long as we can remember. It was conceptualized in nineteenth-century imperialism, becoming manifest in twentieth-century fascisms, and has been simmering under the surface ever since Nazi Germany was defeated by other kinds of fascisms wearing democratic masks.
The success of Trumpism lies in the fact that he sold his brand to the voters by claiming to be the only one untainted by the errors and miscalculations that have brought our consumer civilization to the brink of an apocalyptical demise.
But did the void have to be filled by such a monstrous apparition? For potentially, this creature is even worse than the Nazi Führer. He is capable of everything Hitler was capable of and yet wields a power a thousand-times more potent than Hitler’s was, and a psychology that is more infantile and egocentric than Hitler’s was.
At the end of the Second World War, Thomas Mann, in a talk entitled ‘Germany and the Germans’ described a pact between the German people and the devil, Hitler. The speech was given in retrospect, Satan was already defeated, but Mann had developed the metaphor years before and had written a novel about it called Doctor Faustus.
Like Faustus, Germany sold its soul to Hitler, and like Faustus, America has sold its soul to Donald Trump.
Trumpist America has many of the same symptoms of Nazi Germany: the evocation of nationalist (patriotic) feelings and militaristic pride; the humiliation of past bungled military operations; the influence of perverted theologies and the feelings of family love – and these are all themes that are developed in gruesome detail in Mann’s Doctor Faustus.
The Second World war did not bring about the End of Times, but the demon-Hitler certainly pushed us to the brink of it. It inspired the creation and utilisation of the doomsday weapon (the atom bomb) and we have been living under that apocalyptic cloud ever since.
In Trumpism, even when he chants his own optimistic slogan “Let’s make America great again”, there is an apocalyptic atmosphere that engulfs our present, creating a tone of fear: a fear of the nihilism; the xenophobic and egocentric stupidity that the devil-Trump represents.
Middle-class America is shrinking and the divide between rich and poor is widening; a generalized decline which has been running its course since the 1970s; a decline that is not only reflected in an increase of poverty but is also a psychological depressant as it worms its way through a way of life that has always been deeply fragile in its depth of consumer-based nihilisms, precariously held up by the fragile supports of hypocritical evangelical theologies and the symbol of the dollar. It is hardly surprising, then, that they have mistaken Trump’s promises of greatness as a chance to restore what has been eroded away. His message is that America’s middle-class can only be resurrected by flexing America’s muscle, creating the common-sense, but intrinsically false, equation that the country with the biggest army should be able to dictate any and all the terms in order to bring the maximum profits to all American nationals.
But the greatest errors that these believers-in-Trump have made, and the greatest misfortune for them, is that they expect this restoration of consumer-power to come from a silver-spoon-fed businessman, who built and ruined his own empire on the bricks of inheritance, who has a perverted, psychopathic self-esteem and a mind that is anything but centred and orderly, and who prefers watching Fox & Friends to receiving counsel from his advisors.
If the Trump presidency does succeed, the most logical outcome of that success will be alike to a biblical End of Days. The success of Trumpism depends on a Trump-dictatorship. It is doubtful that the prolongation of the Trump regime will be able to last without intense gerrymandering of the already intensely gerrymandered electoral system in the U.S.A., or without a more blatant redesigning of the constitution to allow his dictatorship to be formalized, but, logically, these are all part of Trumpism’s agenda – the one who seems like a dictator wants to be a dictator, and they will continue to seem like a dictator until he or she is a dictator.
This dictatorship will be a bellicose one, pushing the world to the edge of the End of Days. To avoid it, the Americans will need to everything the Germans in the 1930s did not do when Hitler rose to power, and that means recognizing the devil for what he is before he is allowed to begin his destructive Armageddon and become the personification of Satan himself.
For this recognition to happen, the enlightenment has to be stirred, not in the already enlightened liberal folk, but in the vast army of evangelist Trump supporters themselves. The great irony of Trumpism is that its Satanic ideology has so easily infected the hearts of those who should have known better – all the God-fearing Evangelists.
We can now read Thomas Mann’s description of Germany’s pact with Satan because Satan’s attempt, as Hitler, to either control or destroy the world failed. But now the devil has made a new pact with a country more powerful and potentially more destructive than anything ever seen on Earth before. If he is successful this time, there won’t be any new Thomas Mann to tell us about it afterwards.
 Richard Florida, THE GEOGRAPHY OF MIDDLE CLASS DECLINE, 2016, CITYLAB