MINOT, N.D. -- I'll not defend President Donald J. Trump's numerous sins against the dignity of his office, not to mention basic human dignity.
Trump's insufferable bellowing on Twitter, his smug antics in front of the television cameras, are a foghorn blaring over a nation that seems to be coming apart at the seams.
I understand why so many from our part of the world support him. As much as Trump's political opponents want to claim otherwise, there's no denying that his administration's policies, specifically in the areas of energy and agriculture, are much healthier for the wellbeing of North Dakotans than Hillary Clinton's would have been.
Yet we can't ignore what the president's demeanor is doing to American society.
I'm here to argue that he's not doing it on his own.
This Trumpian iteration of populism has found fertile ground in rural, right-leaning America because those people have been neglected and abused by the cultural institutions, which are mostly situated in urban, coastal areas.
The issues important to us don't seem to matter to newsrooms in New York.
Scriptwriters in Hollywood can't seem to fathom that there might be plenty of cultured, intelligent people living in the middle of the country. All they see are meth-addled, casually racist buffoons.
Trump understands this. He sticks his fingers in these wounds and manipulates the pain for political gain.
Yet instead of trying to defeat hateful Trumpism with understanding, our liberal friends double down on the arrogance that fed Trump's rise.
Recently Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The turnout was not quite what he'd hoped it would be.
One of the president's most vocal critics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, went to her massive social media audience to gloat about what she believes was a successful effort by online trolls to deny Trump supporters access to the rally. According to the congresswoman, a campaign started by Tik-Tok users, and K-Pop fans reserved tickets in advance of the rally and then didn't use those tickets.
The Trump campaign denies that this had an impact on audience size. Their preferred narrative has to do with fear of violent protests and a COVID-19 outbreak at the event, much of it driven by a national news media that is, undeniably, hostile to President Trump.
This humble observer has no idea which of these scenarios is more likely. They could both be true.
We know that Ocasio-Cortez, one of the luminaries of the Democratic party, believes there was a campaign to deny Trump supporters access to the rally, and she's happy about it.
That's the problem.
If Trump is an overbearing, populist troll, which of his political enemies are better?
Trump harvests hate for political gain.
But then, so do so many of his opponents.
If Trump is tearing this country apart, then so are his opponents who can't seem to be better than him.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.