Trump's divide-and-conquer strategy is working
Sure, this paranoia is based on the same racism and xenophobia that has smoldered in America since the nation's inception. Trump's strategy is to stoke it daily.
Sure, American politics had polarized before Trump. Trump's strategy is to exploit and enlarge these divisions.
A few months ago I traveled to Kentucky and talked with a number of Trump supporters.
They looked and sounded nothing like traditional conservative Republicans. Most were working class. Several were members of labor unions. All were passionate about Trump.
"Why do you support him?" I asked.
"He's shaking up Washington," was the typical response.
I mentioned his lies. "He's telling it like it is," several told me. "He speaks his mind."
I talked about his attacks on democracy. "Every other politician is on the take," they said. "He isn't. He doesn't need their money."
I asked about the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia. They told me they didn't believe a word of it. "It's a plot to get rid of him."
By making himself the center of an intensifying conflict, Trump grabs all the attention and fuels even greater passions on both sides.