The 'Two Minutes Hate' for Donald Trump

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool

Back in 2016, I was at a bar in Arlington, Virginia, talking to several of my less politically focused friends about the upcoming Presidential election. To one of them, I simply mentioned that I planned to vote for Donald Trump. And then all hell broke loose.


A woman standing next to me, whom I didn’t know, with a malevolent look on her face, strode right up to me, intruding upon my personal space, and angrily demanded that I renounce my support for Trump. She then lectured me about how dangerous he was, calling him a threat to women everywhere and a would-be-authoritarian to boot. Finally, she waited for me to respond. I just looked at her in surprise and told her, in a nice way, to get lost.

That was my first introduction to the left’s “Two Minutes (of) Hate” for Donald Trump.

The concept of “Two Minutes Hate” comes from George Orwell’s famous book, and the movie made about it, both titled “1984.”  The Guardian describes the concept: 

The Two Minutes Hate is a ritual in which Party members (of the imaginary nation of Oceania) gather to watch a film of the rebel leader Emmanuel Goldstein and express compulsory rage.  Regardless of their beliefs, the audience finds this an easy task. “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate,” Orwell writes, “was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in.  Within 30 seconds any pretense was always unnecessary.  A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.  And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”


Here is a clip of a "Two Minutes Hate" from the movie version of 1984.  

The political purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is to allow citizens to vent their existential anguish and personal hatred toward politically expedient enemies of the governing party and redirect it from the governing party. As the Guardian also writes, “Versions of the Two Minutes Hate form part of the playbook for dictators and wannabe tyrants; harnessing the hate of the 'other' and directing it at dissidents, minorities, and other opponents. The contemporary weaponization of hatred often overlaps with orchestrated disinformation campaigns.”

Since 2015, the left has directed the Two Minutes Hate against Donald Trump. I am guessing that everyone reading this column has experienced it – sometime during this time period, a person has interacted with you regarding Trump, denounced him in rabid and very personal terms, and denounced you for supporting him or, sometimes, for not immediately disparaging him with equal venom. As I have described elsewhere, the Two Minutes Hate always pictures Donald Trump as the Devil himself, or a Hitler. In other words, he is a man who is uniquely corrupt and crude, a barbarian crook who abuses women, hates minorities, and wants to overthrow America’s democratic society in favor of a dictatorship.

Large numbers of Americans have already succumbed to this propaganda. I estimate about 45 percent of the American voting public — mostly Democrats, but also some Independents and Never Trump Republicans as well. George Conway, a once-respected Republican attorney, has yielded to it, as has Nicole Wallace, a former Republican political aide in the Bush administration. They take great joy in Trump’s obviously and ridiculously partisan lawfare trials, and frequently say and do ridiculous things to express their total contempt for the man.  


Unfortunately, many members of my family, and many friends of mine, also have fallen prey to the Two Minutes Hate.  

There is absolutely nothing new about this type of leftwing strategy. For those who are not old enough to remember the George W. Bush administration, the Two Minutes Hate was employed against him, too. Its peak occurred between 2006 and 2008. The left claimed that Bush was also a man who was uniquely corrupt – he was a pawn of Big Oil, Enron, and Halliburton – and a very stupid hick cowboy, a crook, a religious nut who abused women and hated minorities –Republicans are always racists – and wanted to overthrow America’s democratic society in favor of a dictatorship – he was spying and torturing people! And, of course, he was another Hitler. Leftists often derisively referred to him as Bush Chimpy McHitlerburton.  

Ronald Reagan also was a victim of a leftist Two Minutes Hate. Did you know that "The Handmaid’s Tale" was originally written to depict his desired persecution of women under his religiously conservative regime? This story was later updated for Trump, despite Trump being far more liberal on social issues and far less religious than Reagan ever was. 

Richard Nixon was another victim of this. So powerful was the leftwing Two Minutes Hate campaign against him that even in the late 90s, my partisan Democrat grandfather was still getting so animated in condemning Nixon that my equally partisan grandmother would have to calm him down. And Nixon was already long dead.

A sad thing about this propaganda tool that leftists use against Republicans is that releasing the Two Minutes Hate is not in any way cathartic for the person expressing it. That person never feels any better after shouting out their anger or ridicule against the targeted Republican. They are either still angry, or they are weirdly delighted in any misery felt by the target, neither of which is good for their mental health. Even if their listener agrees with the venting person, (in this case) the fact that Trump is still around and (now) is the favorite for the 2024 Presidential election is still going to be gnawing at them and continuing to drive them into a frenzy.  


As a result of this leftwing strategy, political violence in the United States becomes likelier and likelier, regardless of what exactly happens in the 2024 elections. Which is not good for the Two Minutes Hate sufferers, or for our country.


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