I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and then I’ll retire to my bedroom and watch porn

Back in 2004, in the infancy of my own running-centric blogging but more or less at the apex of my overall online rabble-rousing, I was half-jokingly, half-admiringly accused by a friend of being the Rude Pundit, who was himself then part of a new vanguard of uncivil political bloggers. The Rude One was then anonymous, so I suppose it was possible. No matter what my friend — a prominent running author himself at the time — really believed, I was honored by the comparison. I suspect that the Rude Pundit composes his posts in just the same way I used to do my “Bill Eamick” shtick on Letsrun.com: Start by writing a coherent and tactful essay, and then weave in generous amounts of gratuitous profanity and obscene metaphors. Most readers view the result of such a process either a masterful remix or an appalling abandonment of decency. I of course see these as complementary aims, and where appropriate (and often where not), I have done my best to maintain this practice.

Today’s essay by the Rude Pundit takes on a popular idea: If Donald Trump is forced to leave office before his scheduled term ends, a significant fraction of his supernaturally loyal base will rise up in literal rebellion, rampaging about the countryside in an unrestrained show of righteous rage. (The Rude One offers his best gem in his opening sentence with “America’s tallest dipshit, former FBI director James Comey.” Yes, I enjoy life’s simpler pleasures.)

While Trump’s administrative removal from office seems unlikely (the odds that he will suffocate after his flapping jaws misdirect a burger morsel into his trachea appear greater), the notion that his slavish followers would risk anything of real value — be it their very lives or their local moonshine vendor’s Netflix login credentials — to oppose this event is preposterous.

First of all, we hear this kind of “If X happens, people will riot in the streets” all the time. If this were a genuine phenomenon, it would go on nonstop and America’s jails and hospitals were not just overcrowded and overburdened but in a state of collective collapse. (Yeah, that sounds just as Chicken Little-shrill as Inbred Jed’s promise to plug him some libtards, but it’s closer to the truth.) At various points during this feckless presidency, liberals have vowed to flood the streets if such-and-such a line is crossed. Some of those lines have been not merely tiptoed over but obliterated. The treatment of migrant children at the U.S. border is an excellent example of something that, on the “we’re not gonna take it anymore” view, should have been a perfect catalyst for citizen bedlam.

But the fact is, people just don’t work this way, Fighting back for real is always someone else’s job. But it’s not cowardice that lies at the heart of this dissonance between emotional outbursts and real action; it’s plain sense. No one wants to get shot or incarcerated for a cause when life is more or less humming along as usual — yes, with some palpably destructive and crooked shit happening, but fundamentally unperturbed. And even though the Inbred Jeds of America represent the apotheosis of the mindless Confederate reactionary, those fuckers can be counted on to do nothing on any sort of organized or meaningful scale if Trump is sacked.

Part of the reason is what I just wrote: Few people who aren’t flat-out psychotic are really willing to go all out for a non-personal cause. The people who unwaveringly support Donald Trump — ignoring his every last ludicrous lie and moral transgression — may appear to be the most ignorant and duped U.S. citizens in recent or even distant history, but they are still humans with minds, and it’s easy to perceive where they’re coming from. Donald Trump is nothing more than a 150-decibel bullhorn for their own grievances, full stop. He is not one of their own. They are well aware that he is a quintessential obnoxious New York prick, from the accent to the presuppositionalism about the Big Apple being the most amazing city on Earth until definitively proven otherwise. Don’t get me wrong; I know from uncomfortable personal experience that a sizable contingent of his supporters are 100 percent clueless about Trump’s past despite its manifest availability, and believe that he is indeed a shrewd businessman who made all of his millions through a combination of savvy and industriousness. But at root level, this wouldn’t matter to the “heartland” and “Patriot” voters (that is, howling white dumbfucks) because they are well aware, for the most part, that Donald Trump would not give them a tattered dollar out of his own strained back pocket even were he made of money.

Donald Trump is useful because he says the quiet parts out loud. The U.S. has not, in just the past two years, become overrun with bigots, hypocritical Evangelicals, and shitheads who believe they don’t have a proper voice in the federal government. (In one sense they’re completely right on that last claim, because no one in Congress gives a fuck about them or anybody, whereas in a different sense they’re completely wrong given the over-representation of low-population red states in the U.S. Senate. I’ll leave gerrymandering aside for now.) Anyone who has been conscious for significant parts of the past 20 or even 30 years understands that the U.S. hosts a huge, unwieldy bloc of full-throated creationist loons and bullshitters who do everything in lock step — including, most critically, voting. They vote for Republican presidential candidates without fail. Sure, they had to choke on a somewhat larger set of justifications this time around, and pretend that Trump wouldn’t wipe his ass with the Bible if no other paper were handy, but they went out and did it. (Sometimes it’s a blessing to be so feeble-minded that when you know your only job is to vote for everyone in a given party, you always carry out this task perfectly. Democrats might do well to pay attention to at least this part of the mix.)

If Trump is forced out, yes, you will see a colossal amount of online noise, and some scattered violence, mostly from people who habitually engage in violence anyway. But you will not see anyone trying to topple the White House or the U.S. Capitol or even a Piggly Wiggly. This is not only because of the aforementioned desire to preserve one’s freedom and overall way off life, but also because these same voters recognize at some level that they will get another shot at installing a fuckwad in the Oval Office. No recent election, at least in the primaries, has been untainted by cross-waving, anti-gay evolution deniers who are as racist as Trump in every demonstrable detail.

A lot of these nominal Trumpists, though they would never publicly admit it, are content to continue making use of the food stamps and Medicaid that Democrats are far more likely to continue proffering than any Republican-controlled government. Democrats gladly vote for Dems they are pretty sure won’t do a damn thing about gun control, and Republicans vote for Repubs who they know are not going to magically endow rural, fartblown America with jobs and prosperity.

People are sufficiently comfortable here to put up with a lot of shit as long as the overall picture is emotionally satisfying. That seems to go double for people who have always been poor and want to blame someone else. (If people in struggling parts of the country want to struggle less, they could start by not having any more fucking kids, but that’s a different, far more sore subject.) Even if Mike Pence somehow went shuffling out the political door along with Trump, most likely with his tongue glued to the back of Trump’s withered shitscape of a scrotum, Trumpists wouldn’t act on this. They would be apoplectic at the sight of President Nancy Pelosi up there on the dais, but nothing would happen. Hell, Obama never had an attempt on his life while in office, and if that doesn’t convince you that talk is so cheap as to not constitute legal political tender, nothing will.