Paul Krugman: Donald Trump Is Selling Delusions

On Friday, Donald Trump got on stage at the RNC and spent 74 minutes trying to scare ignorant white people into voting for him. On Monday, Paul Krugman took aim at Donald Trump’s terrifying make-believe post-apocalyptic America by pointing that, surprise!, it’s all bullshit:

Last year there were 352 murders in New York City. This was a bit higher than the number in 2014, but far below the 2245 murders that took place in 1990, the city’s worst year. In fact, as measured by the murder rate, New York is now basically as safe as it has ever been, going all the way back to the 19th century.

National crime statistics, and numbers for all violent crimes, paint an only slightly less cheerful picture. And it’s not just a matter of numbers; our big cities look and feel far safer than they did a generation ago, because they are. People of a certain age always have the sense that America isn’t the country they remember from their youth, and in this case they’re right — it has gotten much better.

I remember going on field trips to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan when I was in grade school and driving through Times Square with all of the porn theaters, junkies and filth on the streets. I remember a lot of the action flicks from the 70s showing how unsafe the streets were with all the gangs and killers.

Now? These days people sit outside in Times Square, sipping an $8 latte without a second thought:

58 million tourists visited New York last year; tens of millions more visited other major cities; and of course many of us live in or near those cities, and see them every day. And while there are, as there always were, bad neighborhoods and occasional violent incidents, it’s hard to see how anyone who walks around with open eyes could believe in the blood-soaked dystopian vision Mr. Trump laid out.

But they’ll believe it because the “crime” that they’re pretending is everywhere is actually the “crime” of diminished white supremacy. They’re losing control of the country and that is scaring them to death. They WANT the country to be thrown into chaos so they can feel vindicated. The absolute worst thing that can happen in the mind of a white conservative is for Those People to take control of the country and for things to get better. They would rather see it all burn to the ground than to find out that white people aren’t superior after all.

Part of Trump’s success is that he’s telling the angry and scared white conservative that, yes, the country IS in crisis because they’re no longer in total control. He’s telling them they have every right to blame Those People out loud. But more importantly, he’s telling them that he, Donald Trump, can save them by putting Those People back in their place and making America white again. If not, America is doomed, DOOMED!

Krugman sums up the election thusly:

The question now is how many such people, people determined to live in a nightmare of their own imagining, there really are. I guess we’ll find out in November.

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