On Tuesday, President Donald Trump spoke before Turning Points USA, a right-wing group primarily composed of young people. As expected, Trump went off on another rant about "The Squad" going so far as to falsely suggest that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an anti-Semite.
Even as some members of his party have cautioned Trump about targeting the four lawmakers, he's continued to ramp up his attacks.
Writing in The Bulwark, conservative columnist Jonathan V. Last wonders if Trump is a symptom or an aggravating factor of our rage-filled times. He highlights a reader's letter, who makes the point that Trump is both a symptom of our angry, divisive culture and that he also makes everything worse. The reader, E.P., observes that Trump's brand of politics can be thought of as akin to meth addiction.
"I see Trump as a symptom so powerful that it becomes its own cause, kind of like a political hard drug," E.P. says. "Let’s pretend that Trump is political meth. (Heroin is a more timely analogy, but meth is perhaps more closely associated with rural whites and—like Trump—it makes you want to fight people.)"
"If you’re deep into meth addiction, you’ve probably lost your job, friends, family, and self-respect," he writes. "All you have is the meth," he says. "This makes you cling even tighter to the very thing that has ruined your life, because despite its terrible long-term effects, every hit (tweet) gives you another burst of that sweet, sweet power that first drew you to the drug."
"The meth doesn’t fix your old problems," he says. "Whatever problems you had before you got hooked on it, they get bigger. But the meth also creates new problems in entirely different categories, too. Again: The analogy with the Republican party here seems pretty on point."
The metaphor extends to the entire GOP, which has done virtually nothing to reign in Trump.
"Was the GOP’s metaphorical descent into meth addiction inevitable? I don’t think so," he says.
"What if Chris Christie hadn’t suicide-bombed Rubio in that debate? What if the Access Hollywood tape had come out during the primaries? What if Hillary had made one more trip through the Midwest? A lot of things could have changed. Maybe the party would have ended up with a less destructive addiction, like political caffeine pills. Or maybe it would have gone straight to Fentanyl and been dead by now."
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