Trump, as the Washington Post’s Marc Fisher reminded us on Sunday, is first and foremost a showman. He’s all about his brand. The brand he’s trying to develop as president is that of decisive promise-keeper who rescues the nation from imminent collapse. Accordingly, he has to first convince us that the nation is in a state of imminent collapse. So he is busy tailoring reality to fit his value proposition.
For a piece I published in September, about what Trump’s first term could look like, I spoke to a former Republican White House official whom Trump has consulted, who told me, “Honestly, the problem with Donald is he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.” It turns out that is half of the problem; the other half is that he has surrounded himself with people who know how much he doesn’t know. Since Election Day, Trump has largely avoided receiving intelligence briefings, either because he doesn’t think it’s important that he receive them or because he just doesn’t care about them. George W. Bush, in the first months of 2001, ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. Only in our darkest imaginings can we wonder what warnings Trump is ignoring now.
“…the media scandal of 2016 isn’t so much about what reporters failed to tell the American public; it’s about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn’t seem to matter.”
The whitelash thesis…
…absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.
Mark Lilla asks:
How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them?
Trump gives voice to his supporters’ frustration with elites they believe, not entirely without reason, view them with contempt.
Donald Trump, billionaire property developer, casino owner and carnival barker – America’s answer to Julius Malema — has been the clear front runner for the Republican presidential nomination since mid-July. Not only is he well ahead of the pack nationally, polling consistently at around 30% of likely Republican primary voters, he is currently the clear favourite to collect the most nominating delegates in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and Florida when the real voting begins.
The best short answer is supplied by Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal: “The blue-collar wing of the Republican primary electorate consolidated around one candidate. The party’s white collar wing remains fragmented.”
John Judis, another astute analyst, unpacks the Trump fan base as Middle American Radicals, or MARs, a category first proposed by sociologist Donald Warren in a 1976 monograph, “The Radical Centre: Middle Americans and the Political of Alienation.” Continue reading “MARs attack”