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2016 And Beyond
There Is No Trumpism. There Is Only Donald Trump.
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  • Anthony

    There is only Donald Trump, well perhaps, but how about our marketing of the office of the American President: “…in America, entertainment is king, and Americans tend to focus on excitement above all – who looks better, has a catchier sound bite, seems most authentic….”

    “Politics was the first big business in America…and political campaigns are all side shows, all honors, all bombast, glitter, and speeches. The key to victory is the manipulation of public opinion, and that is achieved most effectively by appealing to the mental cliches of the public.”–khrushcheva-2016-01

    • qet

      Anthony: Trump-like phenomena are occurring all over Europe as well. Presumably those cannot be explained by your thesis. Can they?

      • Andrew Allison

        Revolt of the proletariats?

      • Anthony

        qet, I have no thesis in this regard nor concerned, per se, about current European ascribed populism. I shared another perspective as I (as you know) am not bias (not inferring you are) against perspectives that don’t follow the TAI inclination.

        • Angel Martin

          If I was looking for entertainment from a politician, Hillary Clinton would be pretty far down my list.

          Even her scandals are boring.

          • Anthony

            She’s been around a long time.

          • Jim__L

            They’re not boring to anyone who’s ever had to follow the rules that she’s broken, and knows exactly why those rules exist.

    • Andrew Allison

      That and inverse rascism are certainly how the current incumbent got elected.

      • Anthony

        You’re entitled to your interpretation.

  • WigWag

    Is Donald Trump vulgar, or is it Jason Willlick?

    The startling thing to me that’s been revealed by the Trump phenomenon is the downright racism proudly expressed by American elites from the worlds of journalism, diplomacy, government and Wall Street. The reporting on Trump at the American Interest has not been immune from this racism. Writers such as Willick, Walter Russell Mead and Adam Garfinkle can barely hide their contempt every time they bring up Trump’s name. In his post Willick used the word “vulgar.” In their posts, Garfinkle and Mead have painted Trump as a buffoon, an incompetent and a troglodyte.

    What motivates their animus to Trump? I suspect it has very little to do with the real estate developer-turned politician and everything to do with the Americans who are turning out in droves to support Trump. Trump supporters are largely (though not completely) white working class people who’s hold on middle class status is precarious at best. The white working class gives Willick, Mead and Garfinkle the creeps; the idea that anyone should represent these people makes their skin crawl. Willick, Mead and Garfinkle have wrapped their racism against down on their luck white people and their classism against working class people into a compact little ball and they periodically toss their little stink bombs out into cyberspace for American Interest readers to read. They should be ashamed of themselves; even worse, they should be embarrassed. After all, it sure takes a lot of courage to emulate every other moronic media shill out there.

    Why are Willick, Mead and Garfinkle so much less contemptuous of black people? I haven’t read any posts of theirs where they criticize ghetto culture for the multitude of problems afflicting the African American community. In fact just a couple of days ago, Via Meadia presented a post where all of the problems of inner-city schools were laid at the feet of teachers and their unions. Apparently, Mead thinks that the fact that urban schools are disaster areas have nothing to do with the children who attend those schools or the social pathologies that those kids go home to every day.

    Understanding the Trump phenomenon is far simpler than egg-headed journalists make it out to be. For close to 40 years GOP elites have been peddling to GOP voters ideas and programs that do absolutely nothing improve the lives of the demographic group that Willicj, Mead and Garfinkle find so distasteful. Reducing entitlement spending does nothing to improve the prospects of working class Americans; reducing pensions whether public or private makes their lives worse not better. Insuring that the curriculum their kids study is dictated by Washington, D.C. does nothing to improve the education of their kids. Ubiquitous high stakes testing does nothing to improve their lives either. Sending their teenaged children to fight and die in wars that neither political party has any actual interest in winning doesn’t do much for them either. Legislation that allows oil extracted in the United States to be sold overseas may or may not be good policy, but it does absolutely nothing to help the white working class. Free trade agreements may be good for GDP growth and great for Wall Street, but they are disastrous for marginalized workers trying desperately to hold on.

    Most of the political positions that Democratic elites and Republican elites are most proud of do absolutely nothing to promote the interests of white working class people; even worse, a large number of those policy positions take their already precarious position and make it even more precarious.

    Since the days of the Great Society, Democrats and Republicans have been debating how to remediate the social ills of African Americans and Latinos; that’s fine. When was the last time anyone debated how to alleviate the economic difficulties faced by the white working class? How could there be a debate; journalists, including those at the American Interest can barely mention the problems of this group without rolling their eyes.

    Finally, a candidate, however flawed, comes along and takes the travails of millions of economically marginalized people seriously and the best that Mead, Willick and Garfinkle can do is call him names.

    It’s not Trump who is vulgar Mr. Willick; it’s you and your colleagues.

    • Pete

      “Why are Willick, Mead and Garfinkle so much less contemptuous of black people? ”

      Well, it is clear that in the case of old Mead, he is a self-hating Southern white who thinks he must forever apologize to the blacks if he is to be accepted by today’s academic establishment.

      Come Mead! For once in your adult life, get off your knees and sniff the air of reality with respect to the blacks.

      • Anthony

        One American past time (since Jamestown – 1619) remains; no matter what the subject matter inject some old-time N***** scapegoating to provide both psychological wage and diversion from “real” cause of angst. And the game goes on.

    • johngbarker

      Wig Wag,
      Thanks for your perceptive remarks on education; I know many teachers and principals who work their hearts out in schools serving the poor. As a reward they are held in contempt because they cannot close the “achievement gap”. Now, schools with disadvantaged students are being corralled into “achievement districts” where the usual crowd of reform hucksters is gearing up to fleece the taxpayer with programs whose spectacular results are always a few years and millions of dollars away.

      • WigWag

        No one loves to scapegoat teachers more than Walter Russell Mead.

      • CapitalHawk

        If you create two school districts where the first school district has ten times the resources/money as the second, but has a population of students that, on average, has an IQ that is only 85% the average IQ of the students in the second school district, the average test scores in the second school district will be materially higher. The extra money and resources for district one will not be able to overcome the innate advantage of a higher IQ population in district two.

        Or, in other words, there will *always* be an “achievement gap” between the two districts.

    • Jim__L

      That white working class Americans deserve political representation is a staggering enough concept, though not an unwelcome one… That Donald Trump is that representative boggles the mind.

  • Jim__L

    It’s long overdue for the elites of the Republican party to figure out as well as Trump has where the GOP electorate (and the lean-GOP and lean-Democrat electorate) actually is.

  • Pete

    “…apart from the crutches of noxious racism and populism he uses to prop them up.”

    Where does Donald Trump express ‘noxious racism?”

    • Beauceron

      He doesn’t agree with the Left and Right’s mass immigration policies.

      That automatically makes you a KKK member.

  • Beauceron

    The best comment I’ve read about Trump was some pundit who wrote that Trump is a brick thrown through the plate glass window of the GOP establishment.

    As an angry voter who thinks our elites, from politicians to media to academia, have seriously screwed up this country and likely screwed it up beyond repair, I am delighted a brick has been thrown– but I do wish it was thrown over a better candidate.

    • WigWag

      We can all wish for better candidates but there are no better candidates; there are only the ones who chose to run. Ann Coulter (who I am usually not a fan of) has written eloquently about the wish for a candidate who says everything Trump says but is more couthe in saying it. Here’s her take,

      “Only a TV reality show celebrity, self-financing brash billionaire, who is perfectly comfortable in front of a gaggle of microphones and loves to hit back, could do what Trump is doing.”

      Coulter is right; “a better candidate” could not do what Trump is doing. Her whole article is worth a look,

      There are a couple of other things we know; all of the other candidates (Democrats and Republicans) are bought and paid for. None of the other candidates give a damn about the calamity facing the people supporting Trump. The Democratic candidates are focused on promoting the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, gay and transgendered people and African Americans. Sadly, they believe that working class whites deserve everything that’s happening to them. The “establishment” GOP candidates (Bush, Christie, Kasich and Rubio) have spent their careers supporting policies which are making the travails of white working people far worse. The other so-called “insurgent” candidate, Ted Cruz is so right wing that he would eliminate social security and medicare in the wink of an eye if he could get away with it. It’s easy to smirk at entitlements, but if they were reduced or eliminated, the white working class goes down the tubes. Their sky high suicide rates increase, their drug addiction skyrockets and their already slim economic prospects collapse entirely.

      There is only one candidate who cares about these people. He’s a billionaire and his name is Trump.

      • FriendlyGoat

        The reason that (some) working class whites actually do deserve everything that is happening to them is that they have supported for too long the people who passed the high-end tax cuts which helped turn financial markets into a casino, made the elimination of jobs much more profitable for employers, left the government broke and the government’s programs for people in jeopardy

        HOWEVER, the devastation was also wrought on other working class people who did not support such policies but basically lost their A$$ES anyway in 52/48 elections. Now, if we could get the GOP working people to come to their senses and re-join the Dem working people. we MIGHT begin to reverse the problem. If, however, the GOP working people cannot be brought around to caring about anything but their AR-15s, both we AND THEY have problems too big to fix. The thing is “we” know it, and “they” don’t. You, Wigwag, seem to get it in the last two sentences of your biggest paragraph above. Why do you know what everyone ought to know (but doesn’t)?

        • WigWag

          The President who did more than anyone in history to turn “financial markets into a casino” was named Clinton. He did so without a peep from the then First Lady. Now that the First Lady in question is running for President herself, she’s relying on the very same Wall Street crowd who owned her husband to finance her campaign. As I said (and as Trump says) she’s bought and paid for.

          You dramatically exaggerate the impact of high end tax cuts; had they never been enacted, there is no reason to believe that the travails of working class whites would be any better than it is. As for the social programs higher taxes might finance, the vast majority of those are focused on the poor and specifically poor blacks; its been decades since Democrats have been motivated to develop programs that address the needs of working and middle class whites. The programs that Democrats do craft work only occasionally and as often as not, they make things worse.

          Why can’t the Democratic Party attract the Trump supporters (aka Reagan Democrats) back into the fold? It’s not an easy feat to accomplish when Democratic elites make plain almost every day that they find working class white people culturally repugnant. If they don’t welcome gay marriage, they’re ostracized. If they view their second amendment rights as constitutionally guaranteed, they’re called cretins. If they have the temerity to believe in God, they’re disparaged as bumpkins. If they worry that immigrants are taking their jobs, they’re called bigots. If they don’t want their ten year old daughters to share a locker room with a boy who thinks he’s a girl but actually has a penis, they’re called hicks.

          Democratic elites have made their choice; they’ve chosen Wall Street over working people and they’ve chosen gentry liberal values over the traditional values of ordinary Americans.

          It’s little wonder that Trump supporters don’t feel welcome in the Democratic Party. After all, they’re not welcome, are they?

          • FriendlyGoat

            You actually did write two sentences at the end of biggest paragraph of your post above that made sense. You DO get it that any serious reduction of Social Security and Medicare WILL kill working class extended families deader than dead over time. You DO get it that attacking those programs is Republican orthodoxy. You DO get it that Republicans, as a party, exist for no reason but to cut taxes—increasing their urgency to attack the elderly entitlements. Why bother with the rest of this malarkey? It’s fog. Republicans do not support working class people whether they are in line behind Donald Trump as the Pied Piper du jour or not. Coulter may be frying your brain. She certainly knows what the “social issues” have been used for. Why don’t you?

          • Angel Martin

            Elite Republican income tax rate policy is irrelevant to the economic fates of blue collar workers. Countries with no tax-cutting party show exactly the same economic trends for blue collar workers.

            There is no connection between top marginal income tax rates and seniors programs. Those programs are contributory and paid for by payroll taxes.

            Blue collar workers have been hurt by “free” trade and mass third world legal and illegal immigration.

            Republicans support free trade because their donors want it.

            Democrats support open borders because they are having difficulty getting real Americans to vote for them, and need to import their majorities from the third world.

            The way of dealmaking in Washington is that both parties agree to support “free” trade and open borders to get the one that they really want.

            I can’t wait until the Fall when Democrats try to defend “free” trade and open borders, and then claim that they are “for the little guy”.

            Trump is going to pound them into a motionless heap on just those two issues alone !

          • FriendlyGoat

            Coulter fried your brain too?

            The world is now small enough and connected enough that no one can be “for the little guy” in only one country.

            As for the entitlement programs, you may have noticed that income tax rates were insufficient to support the government’s activities in all the years since the 1980’s——so that the combined budget “borrowed” all of the payroll tax surpluses (aka the trust funds) as a result. Now we need for the payers if income tax to repay what they borrowed in that process. When income tax rates are lowered, this cannot be done. It is the reason why Republicans CONSTANTLY speak of “entitlement reform” and have been doing so for decades.

          • Jim__L

            One question is, can anyone trust Trump to do as he promises?

            Another question is, would he do even more damage to our Constitutional system than Obama already has?

          • CapitalHawk

            Another question is – would anyone care?

          • Jim__L

            You forgot to log in as “TheCynicalOne”…

      • rheddles

        Howard Beale::The Donald
        Diana Christenson::Megyn Kelly
        Frank Hackett::Roger Ailes
        Arthur Jensen::Rupert Murdoch
        Max Schumaker::?

        Network If you haven’t seen it, do. Chayefsky was clairvoyant.

      • Jim__L

        Does Trump actually care, except insofar as they give him “ratings”? I really, really doubt it.

  • qet

    The difficulty that so many people, on both sides of the aisle and in numerous professional fields, are having understanding just how it is that Trump could be so popular and gaining, not losing, popularity with each passing day, is more a testament to their (and our) ignorance of true human psychology, sociology and politics, knowledge of which has long been displaced by a ruthless suppression of all non-positivist forms of knowledge, than to anything unusual about Trump.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I don’t think anyone doubts Trump’s willingness to fight, he demonstrates it at every opportunity. And this is what has been missing from the Republican Party, it constantly promises that it is going to fight tooth and nail against Obama and the Democrats, and then it gives them their entire wishlist in the most recent budget, despite the fact they control both houses of congress. So, even if all we get from Trump is some lost battles, at least we know he will fight for at least some the things he has promised.

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