Daily Archive: February 24, 2016
For the first time in years, the Right’s defenses would be completely destroyed, perhaps never to be rebuilt. Swiftly, the courts would be packed with ideologues; immediately, Congress would run through the remaining items on the Obama-Clinton laundry list; before the voters had a chance to stop them, the White House would usher in an irreversible amnesty; and, Trump having been turned into a pariah by a hostile press, his “anti-PC” attitude would be rendered toxic in perpetuity. The likely result of Trump’s selection as the Republican nominee, in other words, would be the entrenchment of all that his supporters claim vehemently to hate. That thrill that his acolytes would feel when they saw Trump named the winner of the primaries? It’d be gone in a matter of minutes.
Yet, contrary to reports, the Trump supporters I’m talking about aren’t fools. They aren’t racists either. They don’t think much would change one way or the other if Trump were elected. The political system has failed them so badly that they think it can’t be repaired and little’s at stake. The election therefore reduces to an opportunity to express disgust. And that’s where Trump’s defects come in: They’re what make him such an effective messenger.
The fact that he’s outrageous is essential. (Ask yourself, what would he be without his outrageousness? Take that away and nothing remains.) Trump delights mainly in offending the people who think they’re superior — the people who radiate contempt for his supporters. The more he offends the superior people, the more his supporters like it. Trump wages war on political correctness. Political correctness requires more than ordinary courtesy: It’s a ritual, like knowing which fork to use, by which superior people recognize each other.
This isn’t the whole explanation of Trumpism, by any means, but I think it’s part of the explanation. Supporting Trump is an act of class protest — not just over hard economic times, the effect of immigration on wages or the depredations of Wall Street, but also, and perhaps most of all, over lack of respect. That’s something no American, with or without a college degree, will stand for.
Damon Linker presents a scenario where we could see a third party unlike any we’ve seen before.