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Robert Scheer to KPFA Host Philip Maldari: Trump Is a Symptom; Establishment Sellout Is the Disease

Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer asks, “Why did reasonable folks who vote Republican” vote for Donald Trump? (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

In an hour-long discussion about the presidential race and U.S. politics with Philip Maldari, host of KPFA’s “The Sunday Show,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer begs liberals not to let the idea of Donald Trump getting his hands on nuclear weapons scare them out of thinking critically about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Listen to the program here.

“Donald Trump is a bait-and-switch kind of guy,” Scheer tells Maldari, who is focused on the threat Trump poses to country. “He’s embraced neofascist thinking, scapegoating the most vulnerable, blaming undocumented workers, somehow dragging Muslims into the equation as a group. Yeah, he’s a demagogue of the Mussolini variety, no question of it. I don’t underestimate the danger of Donald Trump.

“But then you have to ask yourself the question: Why did reasonable folks who vote Republican, from Maine down to Alabama, vote for the guy? And this is an age-old question. How do we get madness in a society? Why do people turn to irrational, jingoistic, race-baiting solutions? And they do it out of enormous unhappiness. And you can’t ignore those problems. How did the most civilized, well-educated, orderly country in the world—Germany—embrace the scapegoating of Jews, Gypsies and gay people? Where did that come from? And so the issue is not whether Trump represents an extremely negative force. The issue is: How did we get to this place?”

Indeed, how did we get here?

“We’ve had false leadership on the Democratic side saying, ‘Trust us, and everything’s gonna be wonderful for all workers.’ And it isn’t. …

“Democrats have had a lot of power in this country over the last 24 years. Two-thirds of that time Democrats have been president. Where’s the great progress? Where is the great effort to help ordinary people? So is a Hillary Clinton presidency going to bring about progress in these areas? Or is it going to be more of the same? And then the right-wing, the irrational forces that are scapegoated, will be stronger four years later.”

“What is your prescription?” Scheer asks Maldari. “We fall into step uncritically, rally around Hillary Clinton, ignore the responsibility of the Democratic establishment of much of our problems and so forth? And their connivance with Wall Street—we just forget about that?”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Robert Scheer
Editor in Chief
Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig, has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his…
Robert Scheer

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