I’m a British immigrant, and grew up in a northern English working-class town. Taking my regional accent to Oxford University and then the British civil service, I learned a certain amount about my own class consciousness and other people’s snobbery. But in London or Oxford from the 1970s onwards I never witnessed the naked disdain for the working class that much of America’s metropolitan elite finds permissible in 2016.
When my wife and I bought some land in West Virginia and built a house there, many friends in Washington asked why we would ever do that. Jokes about guns, banjo music, in-breeding, people without teeth and so forth often followed. These Washington friends, in case you were wondering, are good people. They’d be offended by crass, cruel jokes about any other group. They deplore prejudice and keep an eye out for unconscious bias. More than a few object to the term, “illegal immigrant.” Yet somehow they feel the white working class has it coming.
My neighbors in West Virginia are good people too. Hard to believe, since some work outside and not all have degrees, but trust me on this. They’re aware of how they’re seen by the upper orders. They understand the prevailing view that they’re bigots, too stupid to know what’s good for them, and they see that this contempt is reserved especially for them. The ones I know don’t seem all that angry or bitter — they find it funny more than infuriating — but they sure don’t like being looked down on.
Many of them are Trump supporters.
Granting the appeal of the straight-talking outsider, one still must ask, why Trump? I mean, he doesn’t actually talk straight: In his own inimitable way, he panders like a pro. Shouldn’t it matter to someone who usually votes Republican that Trump isn’t a conservative — that, in policy terms, he isn’t really anything? He’s a liar and proud of it, transparently cynical and will say whatever comes into his head. How could anybody trust this man?
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.
i KNOW it is. Liberals have very nearly destroyed the country–weakening, impoverishing, and enervating it by blithely and arrogantly ignoring the lessons of history–and yet they still have the balls to sneer at the people who still make the place work to whatever diminishing degree it still does? They’re sick and tired of it, they have every reason to be, and if Trump upsets their would-be rulers so badly, well, they’ll put up with his being far from anything like a perfect conservative to finally get a bit of their own back, in the only way remaining open to them short of an actual shooting war which nobody really wants.
And if you’re still confused about all this, check out this litany of grievances against the useless, collusionist GOP:
Here’s a list of those modern conservative “small(er) government” principles:
• Did the GOP secure the border with control of the White House and Congress? NO.
• Did the GOP balance the budget with control of the White House and Congress? NO
• Did the GOP even pass a FY 2016 budget with control of the House and Senate? NO.
• Who gave us a $2.5 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill in December 2015? The GOP
• Who eliminated, not just raise but eliminated, the debt ceiling? The GOP
• Who gave us the TSA? The GOP
• Who gave us the Patriot Act? The GOP
• Who expanded Medicare to include prescription drug coverage? The GOP
• Who created the precursor of “Common Core” in “Race To the Top”? The GOP
• Who played the race card in Mississippi to re-elect Thad Cochran? The GOP
• Who paid Democrats to vote in the Mississippi primary? The GOP
• Who refused to support Ken Cuccinnelli in Virginia? The GOP
• Who supported Charlie Crist? The GOP
• Who supported Arlen Spector? The GOP
• Who supported Bob Bennett? The GOP
• Who worked against Jim DeMint? The GOP
• Who worked against Rand Paul? The GOP
• Who worked against Ted Cruz? The GOP
• Who worked against Mike Lee? The GOP
• Who worked against Ronald Reagan? The GOP
• Who is working against Donald Trump? The GOP
• Who said “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere”? The GOP (McConnell)
And, you wonder why we’re frustrated, desperate for a person who can actually articulate some kind of push-back?
Here’s a shock for ya – We are not just pushing back against Obama, Pelosi and Reid, we are also desperate for push back against you.
Don’t miss the conclusion; it shines a pretty bright light on things for anyone either willfully obtuse or just plain stupid enough to still be in the dark.