Films are a great way of communicating complex and simple ideas, so the idea for this little column comes from two great, movies: The Russians Are Coming and The Manchurian Candidate.
Each film has something to help illuminate the insanity now taking place in the Republican Tea Party and how their exalted conspiracy-driven candidate has risen to the top of this teetering political party.
First, as way of background, in the 1966 film, The Russians are Coming, the inhabitants of Gloucester Island in Massachusetts go into full panic mode when a Russian submarine runs aground and sends a group of sailors ashore to seek help.
Of course, the danger is that a submarine on U.S. territory would spark an international incident, so the Russians take great care to be secretive, yet friendly to the nervous locals. It turns out the locals have been inoculated with the Cold War phobia and believe they are being invaded. They become comically hysterical trying to create their own militia to ward off the supposed invasion. The incident ends happily when the submarine is repaired and the Russian crew departs unharmed back into the Atlantic.
In Trump World, the Russians are coming is more sinister. If we accept the report from about a dozen independent U.S intelligence agencies that some Russians (with or without state support) have hacked into the Democratic Party computers and certain state databanks, then it does look like the Russians are coming with some sinister intentions.
Yet instead of being alarmed like the locals in the film, Trump supporters don’t seem to mind that the Russians are being this unfriendly intelligence gathering operations whose intent is to destabilize and influence the U.S. election. Those in Trump World apparently think this Russian cyber invasion is OK.
In the 1962 film, The Manchurian Candidate, the son of a powerful right-wing family (sound familiar?) is brainwashed and psychologically altered to turn into an assassin given the right code words said by his controller. The intent of this undercover assassin is to assassinate the favored non-communist candidate and at the convention that will then turn the nomination in favor of the undercover communist candidate.
In Trump World, the brainwashing of a prominent right-wing family candidate could easily be Trump himself, who is not brainwashed, but enamored with Vladimir Putin for some reason. Trump can easily be sent into a tizzy when his honor, importance or intelligence is insulted. Trump then goes into an uncontrolled high gear to make outrageous statements that sink his chances of getting the prize he covets and the majority of most Americans will dread. This drama is already in play and the ending is very clear. Trump did this to himself with the help of the Republican Tea Party.
So the day after the election, go rent these two films and realize how close we came to the comic tragedy that very nearly came down on the American electorate. And we have the Republican Tea Party to thank for this debacle which will take years to be untangled.