Food for Thought
I came across this piece a while ago at RCP and, better than anything else that I have read, it helps to explain the rise of Trump this election. There is real anger out there and no one else seems to understand it. This isn’t some tiny group of antiwar protesters, nor semi-libertarian good-business types. If Trump gets the nod, which is entirely possible at this point, I don’t think he will win. But even then these people aren’t going away anytime soon. And someone else will arise.
Trump isn’t a fascist. He is a populist. And he is popular for the very reason that the left fears most. He just doesn’t care what you think. And neither do his supporters. Hillary winning isn’t going to change that, not in the slightest. All of those conservatives out there? They hate Obama just as much as the left hated Bush and they will hate Hillary just as much.
Right now we have the worst media of all time. People do not trust them, and it is no wonder why. This media is driving people to look at other sources of news, sources that are just as biased, but at the least are biased in the same way as the viewers. Those sources will not let this anger go to waste. They will feed it, nurture it until it becomes a living breathing thing that will not allow for compromise. This is your Breitbart, your TPM, your Buzzfeed. They will indiscriminately use terms like fascist, nazi, or racist. And those being called any of those terms will simply ignore it, convinced of the moral superiority that comes from living in a cocoon, liberal or conservative.
Conservatism is a reaction to liberalism. The more that people feel that the left is going the wrong direction, or is leaving them behind on purpose, the more those people will support someone like Trump, a blow hard. It is a huge Fish You to those leading the country right now. That is what they want, for they feel left behind and hated. Conversely, as society starts to drag behind, liberals will put forth candidates such as Hillary, who really have done nothing in their entire lives, other than “It’s time for a woman to be in there.” And everyone who remotely criticizes her will be called sexist and that will be the left’s big Fish You.
America is a massively pluralistic democracy. We do not have centuries of history, real or imagined, like Europe does. We simply have a social contract to hold us together, also called our constitution and legal system. Some people want to change that contract, others want it to stay the same. Right now those two groups are fairly similar in size, but anger can change that and if there is another attack like that in San Bernardino, fear will start to overwhelm hope.
Inflating Trump to give Hillary the edge is called twisting the tiger’s tail. Hopefully it won’t turn around and bite.
(ETA: Don Zeko made a good comment that I was a little (a lot) sexist in my thoughts on Hillary, so that has been changed.
Thank you, Don.)