Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How AZ Politics Presaged the Rise of Trump

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Journalist Tom Zoellner, author of A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us About the Grand Canyon State and Life in America, has written a Phoenix New Times essay that examines the parallels between Arizona politics and Trump's rise:

There was a moment during Donald Trump’s rambling and free-associative speech at Fountain Hills back on March 19 that seemed to sum up his appeal to a certain stripe of Arizonan.

“They just approved a budget, which is a disaster, the omnibus, they call it the omnibus budget,” he said in that hoarse, Queens-accented roar. “It is a total disaster. It funds Obamacare, it funds Syrians coming into the United States — we have no idea who they are — it funds illegal immigrants coming in through your border, right through Phoenix and right through, right through, it comes right through Arizona. All of these things are funded with the budget that they approved, and I think it took them like 12 minutes to approve the budget. Not going to happen anymore, folks. Not going to happen!”

If you sort through the incoherence and the misleading statistics and the orotund talk-radio-obsessed, red-faced-uncle, Navy-baseball-cap-wearing, pissed-offedness, you end up with a centerpiece of impressive rhetorical energy, one rammed into the audience’s sublimated consciousness with the repetitive lyricism of hip-hop and the noise and power of a monsoon. Right through Phoenix and right through, right through, it comes right through Arizona.

This is the sort of incantation that inspires a tribal sway: a kind of group ecstasy that transports the listener from the boring world of facts and limitations into an energetic realm of vicious threats and endless possibilities for cinematic triumph. Trump was saying more than he knew at this rally in the suburb with the ridiculous jet-powered fountain where Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes his home. Because what has also been roaring right through Arizona for the last three decades is a wave of what might be called proto-Trumpism and it has run right through, right through Arizona.
Read the whole thing here.

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