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No Sympathy For The Devil

If you say your opponent follows Satan, this absolves you of the usual political obligations

Trump is the most famous birther, the man who made plain the subtext of conservative arguments that Obama represented something other than American values. He made the idea that Obama was “foreign,” and possibly working against America, literal, by claiming that the president was born in Kenya. All he needed was his birth certificate in order to prove it. While Trump has backed off on explicitly stating that Obama is a foreigner, he hasn’t abandoned the idea that he is not one of “us,” and that this truth is what motivates Obama’s behavior.

This is what Trump is darkly and vaguely referring to when he employs the phrase “there’s something going on” to describe Obama’s actions.

When Trump insinuates that Obama is intentionally leaving America vulnerable to terrorism, or isn’t sad about dead cops, this is the reason why. To the question, “Why would Obama want to destroy America?” Trump answers that Obama is not himself an American.

If Clinton represents Obama’s third term, it follows that she, too, must want to destroy America. But how can Trump find a way to “other” a white lady who was born in the Midwest and has lived in the public eye for almost 40 years?

Simple: You say she follows Satan.

Ben Carson tied Clinton to the Prince of Darkness via Saul Alinsky, the community organizer she’d written her thesis about. Alinsky, in turn, began his book, Rules for Radicals, with an epigraph approvingly calling Lucifer the “first radical.” Since Alinksy admires Satan, and Clinton follows Alinsky, Clinton must be a follower and an admirer of Satan. This was not offered as an aside, but was the core point of Carson’s speech.

It’s hilarious that Ben Carson implied that Clinton is a literal Satan-worshiper from the stage of the Republican National Convention. I don’t expect Trump to spend much time detailing Clinton’s connections to Satan and His Kingdom from the stump. Still, it’s worth noting what this piece of rhetoric represents, in a figurative sense: the logical conclusion of the attack that has been leveled against the Democratic nominee and her party during the convention.

It’s also the end of politics.

If your opponent is in league with Satan, this necessarily absolves you of the usual obligations of a politician. There is no need to burden yourself with detailing your platform and presenting your qualifications. You don’t need to make a pretense of trying to persuade people who disagree with you. There can be no compromise with evil: Any area in which compromise appears to be possible is either an illusion or a trap.

There is no war of ideas: There is just war. There are no political enemies, just enemies. This is why, in all of the hours of day one dedicated to prosecuting Clinton for Benghazi, not one person ever felt the need to offer a motive for intentionally abandoning four Americans to die at the hands of terrorists. This is why, in all the time dedicated to the demonization of undocumented immigrants, nobody ever felt the need to offer Clinton’s rationale for intentionally, in their eyes, flinging the borders open to violent criminals. Evil is an end to itself. Satan has no purpose but to steal, kill, and destroy.

And it means that no tactic or strategy is off-limits in pursuit of the power to defeat your enemies. You can repeatedly say that Clinton belongs in jail, or that she’s a murderer. You can let the convention crowd repeatedly chant “lock her up.” You can say that she should be executed by a firing squad. There is, after all, no sympathy for the devil.

VMAs 2018