If people told you that MAGA hats come 25 percent off when you look peevish and 50 percent off when you're already wearing a sneer, the line snaking out of the airport hangar and a quarter mile down S. Apollo Blvd. in Melbourne, Florida, and awaiting President Trump's first rally since his inauguration would have made you believe them.
These are the wages of a campaign and an ideology of apocalyptic civilizational struggle: a pep rally that feels undergirded with dread, voters who dismiss leftists as "special snowflakes living in a bubble," gathering in an 83 percent white county that went for Trump by nearly 20 points, and pointing across the road at a few hundred protesters behind a net barrier, wondering whether an international Jewish financier has underwritten a special attack for Saturday afternoon.
Whitey Taylor—"it's not Blackie, it's Whitey," he clarified—hawked MAGA hats and Hillary For Prison shirts at 50 Trump rallies in 33 states during the campaign and was unconcerned about the stakes. A customer asked if he was worried about protester violence; as Taylor turned his face to look at the man, a little smirk embedded in the off-white beard and deep lines framing his nose and mouth. "I've got a 9mm. I don't worry about any of these people."
The worry grew stronger down the road, where the line looked interminable and threatened to disappear into the gray that seems to swallow the horizon under the lowering sky of a Florida afternoon. Two retired women sat in folding canvas camping chairs, watching the line, waiting for the rest of their party to gather, certain the protesters across the road were paid by George Soros.
"I think there's a good share of them," said Francis Gilmore, who'd moved down to Florida in the last decade. They were here to advance the Soros agenda. "You can go anywhere you want, do anything you want, live the way you want, say anything you want. No sort of control. They will control us." Soros was the bad kind of billionaire, not like the ones in Trump's cabinet, who "don't have to rob the money from us because they've got enough of their own."
Her friend, who refused to give her name, agreed. "There are many others besides George Soros but George Soros is the biggie," she said. "All the braindeads suck in the false news, because they don't have the ability to read and get the proper information." The friend had gotten a lot of the hidden details from The Creature from Jekyll Island, a Federal Reserve conspiracy book written by an HIV/AIDS denialist who believes he knows the location of Noah's ark and can cure cancer with a poisonous plant extract. When asked where else she gets her news, she replied, "Mostly radio."
Gilmore and The Nameless Friend agreed that the protesters represented an unprecedented rejection of the office of the president and an ahistorical breach of civility.
A man with dusty clothes, gap teeth, and a tan darker than his sandy blonde hair walked by with a four-year-old girl on his shoulders.
"Hey, who wants to kill an unborn baby?" he said, gesturing across the street. "All them are retards. That's some shit."
So yeah, this is Trump's America, endless fear and demonization of those people, hollow chest beating, and a shared sense of camaraderie through perceived victimization. We're all in control of the country and those stupid libtard snowflakes, but they're coming for us and at any point we may have to start shooting.
These folks are uninformed, but they vote. They vote GOP. And there's nothing Trump can do that would make them not vote for him, short of being nice to liberals. This is what I mean by impeachment or removal of Trump through the 25th Amendment being a dangerous fantasy.
Democrats need to stop relying on it, they need to stop considering it, they need to find a way to deal with the damage Trump and the GOP are causing people in real time rather than wasting breath on something that will never happen. And the reason it will never happen is that Republicans fear Whitey Taylor and Francis Gilmore infinitely more than they fear the rest of the country. Until they turn on Trump, he's president.
And they will never, ever turn on him. Dems need to stop chasing these folks and worry about the millions of Dem voters who are going to be wrecked by Trump policies.