Tracinski uncharacteristically gets it completely ass-backwards and wrong.
I heartily agree with Ben Domenech, whose article on this just made it harder for me to fulfill my obligations to his publication, by pre-empting most of what I was planning to write about Trump for The Federalist. Ben argues that Trumpism would turn the Republicans from a “classically liberal right” to a European-style nationalist party that is “xenophobic, anti-capitalist, vaguely militarist, pro-state, and consistently anti-Semitic. If you criticize Donald Trump, it is exactly the sort of hate mail you should expect to receive.” If that happens, he writes, we would be “losing a rare and precious inheritance that is our only real living link to the Revolutionary era and its truly revolutionary ideas about self-government.”
I don’t think this is actually going to happen, because the “classically liberal” wing of the right is too big and too strong. The Republican Party just spent the last six years, during the rise of the Tea Party movement, absorbing a fair portion of the “libertarian” wing of the right, the Rand Paul wing, which I suspect has little overlap with the Trump phenomenon. More widely, the right has benefited from a long intellectual renaissance focused on the universal ideas on which America was founded, which has no need for what Ben calls “identity politics for white people.”
“Absorbing” them? The GOP used them like toilet paper, insulted them, harassed them, betrayed them, sold them out, and in the end, ran them off. Now they’re oh-so-shocked that such a large number of Tea Partiers no longer wants anything to do with them and are mightily enjoying the delicious spectacle of the party crashing and burning at long last, by the hand of someone the Party uber alles types hold in at least equal contempt.
But it would help to have some more exact information on the size and composition of Trump’s supporters. That Trump will not be the party’s nominee is something we can (pretty much) take for granted. Too much of the party hates him, and not just the “establishment”—which critics like myself are somewhat comically assumed to be part of—but the rank and file and a fair portion of the punditry. Thus, we find that about a third of Republicans say they would never support him, far more than any other candidate.
Demonstrating yet again, as I said earlier, that all that bushwa about the dire necessity of “uniting” behind an unsatisfactory candidate–yet another “electable” candidate we must all climb into the clown car and ride enthusiastically along with to another farcical defeat–only works one way: in the favor of the mushy moderates. Odd, that: the only ones allowed to vote their conscience, to “unreasonably” cling to principle, are the people who have none.
So that leaves us to contemplate what will happen if Trump doesn’t get the nomination. Will he be this cycle’s Ross Perot, who runs a third-party campaign and scoops up such a large portion of disaffected Republicans and independents that he tips the election to a Democratic candidate who only gets 35% of the vote?
Which didn’t actually, y’know, happen.
Tracinsky then gets busy hurling the usual insults at Trump enthusiasts (“low-information voters,” “Archie Bunker types,” “single-issue anti-immigration fanatics,” “outright racists,” and “genteel quasi-racists,” you’ll be unsurprised to learn), which insults sound a whole hell of a lot like the Left’s perception of Republicans generally no matter who’s slinging them. He declares himself not remotely an Establishmentarian type, which I would have mostly agreed with before reading this tripe. Then comes the denouement: “So how many of these people are there, how committed are they, and how bitter will they be if their newfound champion doesn’t win?”
Robert, Robert, you still don’t get it. We expect nothing from the Republican Party; we want nothing from them. We are laughing at them. We aren’t bitter at all, except over the larger tragedy of seeing the nation we loved destroyed before our very eyes; the (self-)destruction of the Republicrat Party is pretty small beer compared with that. We are enjoying watching them (and their pet-poodle pundits) goad themselves into hysterical paroxysms over the unlikely spectacle of a wealthy blowhard running rings around them by merely expounding on some simple but heretofore-forbidden truths, and never expressing the slightest remorse over giving the business-as-usual types the shrieking fantods along the way. I doubt there are all that many of us who think we’re going to be saving anything with Trump or without him; there’s not a lot left that’s worth the saving anyway, and we’ve been burned way too many times to have much faith in mere politics to provide much more than its usual distraction. And if we do manage to at least re-establish some reasonable facsimile of a border in the process of having a few laughs at their expense, well, what’s not to like?
For an awful lot of us, although certainly not all, Trump is a means to an end these guys just can’t seem to grasp. The odds of us ever marching dutifully off again en masse to vote for whichever GOP empty suit they try to cram down our throats this time are precisely nil. If Trump is nominated, we might vote for him…or we mightn’t. Mostly, we are amusing ourselves while we wait for le deluge, a deluge that’s coming no matter which authoritarian Statist gets elected. In the meantime, we get to see at least some of our viewpoints openly expressed and affirmed without fear or shame, and that’s worth something to us too. If that gets the Establishmentarians all hot and bothered and pissing themselves in public, well…good. It’s really not complicated or difficult to understand at all, for anyone who’s been paying close enough attention for the last, oh, decade or so.