Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.
Most curious, though, was the reaction of the middle-classes, Malema’s traditional enemies, as his commitment became clear, and the scope of the ANCYL’s protest ambitions became apparent. They didn’t suddenly agree that nationalising mines or expropriating farmland would be a good idea. They did, however, express admiration, even respect – something that would have seemed unlikely in the extreme the day before. .. A little bit of sympathy can be a powerful thing. Where the chattering classes were dismissive, at best, of Malema before, a kernel of doubt has been planted. Could he be worth listening to? Is there perhaps sense to be divined in the mess that is his ideology? It won’t last, probably, but getting people who normally wouldn’t is the point of any protest. Even if Malema is utterly ignored by the government, and the JSE, and the Chamber of Mines, he’s already succeeded in a small way. Mostly, though, Malema has suddenly become an inspirational political figure, somebody who achieved a tangible and difficult goal through sheer determination. There aren’t many others we can say that about, and none who can reach disenchanted young people as Malema does. That, too, is a lever of power. – Phillip de Wet at Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP