SAY WHAT? - Whoa. The frenzied, hateful, gonzo base - in thrall to a cheap con man they blindly deemed "a vessel for God" - albeit a smiting, lying, transactional, grifting one - was always bad. Now, it's worse. Like, Leni Riefenstahl worse. With the pressure mounting - lawsuits, prosecutors, a Jan. 6 Committee bearing down - a flailing Trump has veered sharply to the right, threatening mob-style "problems like we've never seen" and posting brazenly QAnon-flavored missives and photos, including one sporting a "Q" lapel pin with, "A storm is coming." Subtle. Aptly, he ended "the week he went QAnon" with a feverish, hate-spewing rally in Youngstown, Ohio. Ostensibly there to endorse cracker Senate candidate J.D. Vance - ever-gracious, he sneered, "J.D. is kissing my ass" - he was really there to rave, literally. Ulysseus? Introduced by an equally demented Klan Mom MTG - he is the GOP's "one true leader" and God help us all - he railed to the less-than-massive crowd about a fictional America in ruins: No border, invasion by "millions of illegal aliens," crashing economy, enemy-of-the-people media, "horrible convicts," spying Obama, an "unhinged persecution." Aaron Rupar - thanks again for sitting through this - summarized the tired jeremiad: “Murders, shootings stabbings, r-r-r-rapes, carjackings are skyrocketing.”
But it was at the end that things got really bizarre - creepy, Wagnerian, Jonestown-Kool-Aid bizarre. As Trump began his final, hypnotic, hyperbolic lamentation of "a nation in decline," his babbling was theatrically accompanied by the swelling soundtrack of somber strings in the QAnon anthem "Wwg1wga," a ridiculous title representing their puerile, stalwart slogan, "Where we go one, we go all.” Reportedly written by one "Richard Feelgood," it's meant to portray the rising storm that will soon destroy the global satanic cabal of pedophiles out to get Trump - who in turn already used the song in a post, prompting excited QAnoners to declare it "THE mother of all Q proofs." Yes, we are all in fascist middle school. As the music rose, the toxic sick old man blathered about election fraud, Hunter Biden's laptop, how "Whatever they do to me, I will endure their torment," and a cognitively impaired president - Biden not him - whose failings mean "we may end up in World War 3." In response, the rapt crowd raised, en masse and zombie-like, a straight-arm, index-finger, eerie salute toward the stage that we could swear we've seen before. Oh, right: 1930s Nuremberg. We assume the armbands are on order. But it's definitely not a cult.
(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)