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Brooks: Trump Win ‘Political Shock of Our Lives,’ Fueled By ‘Condescension’ Towards ‘Primitive Hordes’

On Friday’s broadcast of “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued the electoral victory of Donald Trump is “certainly the political shock of our lives, at least my lifetime. It feels like almost the ’60s,” and “owe some respect to the electorate and the people who voted him,” because “we don’t want to turn this into children of light, children of darkness, where us college-enlightened people, educated, enlightened people are looking down at those primitive hordes. … That’s what — that condescension is what fueled this thing in the first place.”

Brooks said, “Well, it’s certainly the political shock of our lives, at least my lifetime. It feels like almost the ’60s, sort of a political revolution, a cultural revolution, an aesthetic revolution, the things that now you can say and get elected president. And so, it was all those things. I’m sort of finding myself in a strange emotional territory, if I could lie on the couch here. On the one hand, Trump appalls me. I won’t be shy about that. But having — with the elective democratic process having taken its turn, I sort of feel we have to owe some respect to the process and owe some respect to the electorate and the people who voted him, on the assumption that they have something to teach us. And so, all these people are marching in the street. There’s all this hostility. I find myself — and I think this was the president’s attitude, and frankly Hillary Clinton’s attitude, of respectful pause. Maybe I’ll be as upset at Trump as I was in another week, but what do they try to teach us? Just try to understand what the situation we’re in is.”

Brooks later added, “There’s clearly a racial element. And so, I think that — I don’t have a machine to peer into the souls of the voters. So I don’t know how much of the racial element was dominant, how much was there, something they tolerated, something they endorsed. Clearly, for some people, it was a large element. I do not believe, having spent these last many months interviewing Trump voters, that it’s a dominant element in at least a lot of the people I spoke to. They had good reason, as Mark just elucidated, for why they were really upset with the course of the country. Their culture, their life economically, socially, families breaking apart, drug use, it’s going downhill. And when — I think the two things, one, we don’t want to turn this into children of light, children of darkness, where us college-enlightened people, educated, enlightened people are looking down at those primitive hordes. We do not want that. That’s what — that condescension is what fueled this thing in the first place. And so I don’t think we want that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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