LONDON – Historians may come to see the American actor Alec Baldwin as US President Donald Trump’s most useful ally. Baldwin’s frequent and widely viewed impersonations of Trump on the comedy show “Saturday Night Live” turn Trumpism into a farce, blinding the president’s political opponents to the seriousness of his ideology.
Of course, politicians are parodied all the time. But with Trump, there is already a tendency not to take his politics seriously. The form of those politics – unhinged tweet-storms, bald-faced lies, racist and misogynistic pronouncements, and blatant nepotism – is so bizarre and repugnant to the bureaucratic class that it can overshadow the substance.
Even those who seem to take Trump seriously are failing to get to the root of Trumpism. Democrats are so infuriated by his misogyny and xenophobia that they fail to understand how he connects with many of their former supporters. As for establishment Republicans, they are so keen to have a “Republican” in office implementing traditional conservative policies – such as deregulation and tax cuts – that they overlook the elements of his agenda that upend their orthodoxies.