Like the emergence of the Magicicada Periodical Cicadas every 17 years, VADD manifests itself in one form or another every 4 years; however, this year the emergence is potentially much more damaging and has more in common with Nathanael West's Day of the Locusts than one might actually believe. VADD is what I call Voter Attention Deficit Disorder. VADD is not much different than ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder and though ADD is not a transmittable disease, VADD is. The disease is spread by a variety of vectors, but instead of those vectors being airborne or insect borne, the main vector here is rhetoric borne.
According to HelpGuide.org, adults with ADD "often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily, mundane tasks. For example, you may be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bounce from one activity to another, or become bored quickly. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity--but they can be every bit as troublesome. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:
"zoning out" without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation
extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track
difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others
struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple
tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work
poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions"
So, one can see there is little difference between ADD and VADD. In terms of Trump himself, he clearly exhibits all the signs of ADD, but how might that relate to his growing constituents who seem to suffer from VADD? In other words, might there be some relationship between the ADD from which Trump suffers and the VADD that his followers suffer?
I believe there are 4 clear examples of VADD contingent on Trump's own ADD.
THE MEXICAN WALL
"I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively -- I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
Trump's original comments about building a US-Mexico Great wall (with one door) reached its peak not long after he made his famous "Mexicans are rapists" statement in June. According to CNBC Explains: "The actual cost for the rest of the border wall (roughly 1,300 miles) could be as high as $16 million per mile, with a total price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion...At $16 million per mile and with 1,300 miles to secure, the estimated cost would be $12 billion, and the price of private land acquisitions and maintenance of fencing could push that total cost higher. The U.S. government would have to pay to maintain the wall, which could cost as much as $750 million a year, according to an analysis conducted by Politico. And then if it wanted to man it with personnel, that would be an additional cost -- border patrol has an operating budget of $1.4 billion for 21,000 agents."
Big numbers for a fiscal conservative and the chances of Mexico paying for it would be tantamount to a kind of "magical realism" that even García Márquez couldn't imagine. But since the Trump Electorate suffers from VADD it has pretty much forgotten all about the wall since Trump has shifted gears to his next "huge" project.
Not quite 3 months later, in September, Trump suggested a plan to deport all illegals from the United States and send them all back to Mexico (even if they're not from Mexico) and he would do that with what he called a "deportation force." According to BBC News, "Based on an analysis for 5 million people, the Centre for American Progress estimates that a mass deportation from the US would cost an average of $10,070 (£6,624) per person. For 11.3 million people, that's $114bn (£75bn)." Back in 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy director Kumar Kibble said it costs $12,500 to deport an individual undocumented immigrant. So when you multiply that cost for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., that comes to $137.5 billion.
If one then subtotals the two future imaginary Trumpean megaprojects, the United States would now be in debt for about $162bn, give or take a few billion, but who's counting. Trump's 25bn"fiscally responsible" constituents who suffer from VADD have already forgotten about the wall, the costs for such, the maintenance for such, ad astra as has their leader who is constantly in search of new ways to spend non-existent financing for imaginary projects that will never happen. But that's part of parcel of those who suffer from ADD.
With the Mexican issues no longer having any traction, Trump had to find another issue to exploit and the Paris and San Bernardino massacres gave him that opportunity. Coincidentally, those tragedies have come about 3 months after his imaginary deportation dictum was issued. So, consciously or unconsciously, Trump has calculated that his VADD constituents really can't maintain a level of concentration on any particular issue for longer than 3 months anyway so he needed to find something else to exploit. According to Travel & Leisure: "In 2013, just over 1 million Middle East-based travelers passed through U.S. customs, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That year, these travelers spent an average of $6,000 each for a total of $6.8 billion. (European visitors, by contrast, spend less than $4,000 on average when they visit the U.S.)... Multiply this $6.8 billion figure to represent the full scope of Muslim travelers arriving in the U.S., and the total cost of Donald Trump's ban could be as high as $18.4 billion. What's more, that figure is the cost estimate before you factor in what it would cost to overhaul the country's screening systems."
One can argue what that additional imaginary amount might come to, but since we're using imaginary numbers anyway, let's assume it would cost twice as much as the TSA budget is today (which is about $7bn) to totally revamp the TSA system to ban Muslims (both US citizens and non-citizens) for an additional total of $14bn on top of the $18bn for a subtotal of $32bn which would give a subtotal of about $200bn. That debt alone would place the United States at #53 in between Romania and Peru in terms of their 2014 GNP. But who's counting. All that really matters is the imaginary discourse that Trump invokes based on his ADD and his followers' VADD. One has to think of what Trump will invent next. I submit it will be another wall.
THE CANADIAN WALL
According to The Atlantic: "The more than 160 Syrians who arrived from Beirut, the Lebanese capital, are part of the 25,000 refugees Trudeau's government has pledged to accept by the end of February. Another planeload of refugees is expected to arrive Saturday. The Canadian airlifts are being carried out from Beirut and Amman, the Jordanian capital, the two cities where the Canadian government has set up refugee-processing centers for Syrian fleeing their civil war." As early as September, a Bloomberg poll showed that "41 percent of Americans would favour a 'brick and mortar' wall along the Canadian border." At the time, Trump said he wouldn't build a wall along the northern border because he "likes Canada," but that was before Trudeau was elected and decided to allow Muslim refugees into the country. Given the 3 month xxxx, suggesting a Canadian Wall be built prior to the Iowa caucus and ahead of Super Tuesday in March would be an appropriate VADD thing to do and would allow for another 3 month hiatus before the Republican National Convention.
Theoretically, that could change Trump's calculus and even though the US-Canadian border is about twice as long as the US-Mexican border (approximately 3,987 miles) that wouldn't stop Trump from imagining the construction of yet another wall. After all, if the imaginary Mexican wall worked so well, then why not an imaginary Canadian wall? If the Mexican wall cost $25bn then the Canadian wall would only cost about $50bn. and, presumably, it too would have one magnificent door situated somewhere in the middle of the country. Perhaps, in Minnesota. Thunder Bay. With that additional imaginary project, the total for all four Trumpean projects would amount to at least $250bn the cost of which would eventually be paid for by the US taxpayer. Of course, Trump doesn't discuss that detail since he, like his followers, suffers from ADD and a "tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work" is one of the hallmarks of what constitutes ADD since there is no accountability for what one does (or doesn't do) associated with the disease. In the end, it is merely political rhetoric with no basis in fact since the facts are somewhat irrelevant if one suffers from ADD. But as one-time Indiana Congressman Earl Landgrebe once opined in relation to Richard Nixon's guilt, "Don't confuse me with the facts."