Secularization and the Demonization of Donald Trump
All presidents are loved and hated by segments of the population, but the Left's hatred for Donald Trump goes one step farther. It's demonization. It can be equaled only with their demonization of George W. Bush. Or Ronald Reagan. Or Richard Nixon. One has to go all the way back to Dwight Eisenhower to find someone the Democrats didn't demonize.
The explanation for this lies in chasm that existed between Eisenhower's 1950s and the Nixon of the '70s. The interlude is not a coincidence, because the 1960s made for one of the most tumultuous decades in American history, not just politically and socially, but intellectually. Minds changed, and the "New Left" emerged. The New Left was the brainchild of Marxists who, by the middle of the twentieth century, were disillusioned with the Soviet Union. They abandoned some Marxist concepts like revolution and the abolition of all private property but maintained other parts of Marx's thought, like socialism and secularism. The Democratic Party subsequently became the party not just for socialists, but for those who wanted to jettison religion from society. These new leftists exiled the Christian God and Satan from their cosmology. Or so they told themselves...
Old (intellectual) habits die hard. Since Christ came to Earth, Christians have known that Satan exerts a pervasive influence. St. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that our "adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The secular Left continues this tradition, but the new Satan merely becomes a material one. He takes the form of tangible human beings with names like Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich, Bush, Palin, and Trump. Still responsible for all of the ills on Earth, this Satan must be rejected at all turns, the secular Left believes.
This leads to some interesting phenomena. Since Trump, by his very nature, is incapable of good, everything he does is inherently bad, such as raising tariffs to protect American workers. The fact that many left-wing politicians have advocated the same policy means nothing because Satan can only do bad.
Since Trump is incapable of good, he cannot be responsible for the economic gains. They must be attributed to Obama, the archetype of good. A Vox headline reads, "The Truth about the Trump economy: A massive change in perceptions masks continuity with the Obama years." Sure, the black American unemployment rate is declining, but all good in the world comes from messiah Obama.
Or the economic gains are illusory. Another Vox headline reads: "The average worker isn't benefiting from Trump's economic miracle"; actually, "the tax-cuts did more harm than good." The article acknowledges that wages are rising at 3.2% while inflation is 1.5%. That sounds good, right? Not so fast. The article continues: "workers' wages only grew about 1.7 percent within the past year — a pathetic amount compared to the sky-high payouts to corporate CEOs." Despite superficial appearances, the conditions of the poor and working class have not improved. When Trump talks about economic improvement, he deceives. After all, Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is the father of lies. (Note that according to the two Vox articles, the American economy is simultaneously good and bad.)
And since Satan is racist, anything Trump says related to race must be racist. If he criticizes a black mayor (or any black American, for that matter), it's racism. How else to explain political criticism? Trump tweets, "So interesting to see 'progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done." Thinly veiled racism, of course. And what other reason could there be for building a wall, except racism?
By abandoning Scripture, the secular Left creates false gods (Obama) and fake Satans (Trump). Satan, like God, works through human beings, but no human being can be classified as God or Satan. Jesus tells us we cannot worship two gods, and we must also recognize that there cannot be two Satans, although numerous angels and demons exist. Any Republican who viewed Obama as Satan (and some mistakenly did) was just as misguided; at least some of God's Holy Spirit resides in Obama, too.
The Western intellectual tradition is powerful, and it's steeped in the concept of God and Satan. Secularists haven't abandoned these concepts. They have just materialized them. The left-wing mind continues the Christian idea that the world is governed by God and Satan. But by mistakenly materializing these concepts and denying the power of the real God and Satan, they have created irrational versions of reality.
David Byrne is the author of Ronald Reagan: An Intellectual Biography.