It’s a bizarre thing existing in a Netherworld where you neither support nor despise Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. The benefits of this new media world of ours, this awe-inspiring world of social media and instant online publishing, far outweigh the negatives. One obvious negative is that our politics are becoming a bit more shrill, sometimes to the point where if you haven’t yet taken a side, one will be assigned to you.
This is exactly what happened to me last week while I was away on vacation. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg extrapolated 4 of my tweets and Voila! I’m a Trump supporter.
Now I don’t mind being labeled a Trump supporter, even on the pages of National Review. In the interest of full disclosure I just think I should make clear that I am not. As of now Trump is 5th on my list of GOP candidates — here are some tweets to that effect Goldberg missed.
What struck me most about Goldberg’s column had nothing to do with me. What struck me is that an objectively brilliant guy, and longtime intellectual hero of mine, is clueless when it comes to Trump’s obvious appeal. Moreover, like too many in the GOP Establishment, his response to Trump supporters is filled with outrage and insults.
Let’s start with the obvious:
Trump Detractors Have Outed Themselves: They Oppose Reagan’s Big Tent
Among those Goldberg describes as the “Trumpean Proletariat” (for some reason the anti-Trump crowd love Marxist references) there are plenty of high-profile Trump supporters attacking the other GOP candidates. But no one in this group — and this is important — has gone so far as to attack and marginalize the everyday voters who oppose Trump.
What’s so striking is that the exact opposite is true for the anti-Trumpers among the bourgeois GOP (I’m happy to play along). Ever since the rise of Trump, many among the GOP’s Elite Commentariat, Thought Leaders, Establishment, and the Consultant Class have been on a rampage against — not just Trump, who is fair game — but our very own voters. I’ve been watching politics for decades and until now have never seen pundits within either Party attack their own voting base. This is a very disturbing precedent.
Apparently, when the Republican Elite think of Reagan’s Big Tent, some are more welcome than others. Illegal immigrants are welcome. Trump supporters can go pound sand.
To his credit, Goldberg doesn’t hurl names at Trump’s supporters but his sneering (and surprisingly clueless) incredulity does boil them down to unthinking, knee-jerk cretins:
Every principle used to defend Trump is subjective, graded on a curve. Trump is like a cat trained to piss in a human toilet. …
Karl Marx coined the term lumpenproletariat to describe working-class people who could never relinquish their class consciousness and embrace the idea of a classless socialist society. Hence, they were useless to the revolutionary cause. I’m no Marxist, so I don’t buy the idea that anybody — never mind a whole class of people — are beyond persuasion. But I am tempted to believe that Donald Trump’s biggest fans are not to be relied upon in the conservative cause.
Let’s begin by helping our friends among the GOP bourgeoisie with The Obvious:
Why Trump Is Winning
Goldberg writes, “Trump has the charisma, I’ll grant him that. But there is no evidence he’s thought deeply about the job beyond how much classier it will be once he has it.”
Does that mean Trump’s supporters should go with the same Jeb Bush who still can’t answer a no-brainer question about Iraq? Scott Walker, who can’t seem to answer any question? How about John “Jesus told me to expand the destructive Welfare State” Kasich? Or maybe Mike “libido” Huckabee?
Here’s what Trump’s supporters do know about their guy, and for now at least, that’s good enough:
- Trump will build the border wall.
After saying he would build the border wall, for two long months our corrupt media, in a desperate bid to disqualify this policy, dropped Trump in The Barrel. He was called every “ist” in the book, boycotted by numerous business partners, and more times than I can count, called “road kill” by all The Smart People.
This media storm (aided by some weak-kneed Republicans) only served to boost Trump because unlike so many in the Republican Party, when confronted by a media attack, Trump not only refused to back down, he effectively fought back.
Those in favor of The Wall are neither racist nor nativist nor rubes. In fact they are smarter than many of the so-called GOP intellectuals hurling those insults because The Rubes “get it” — they understand that our open border is an existential threat to conservatism, and by extension America. It’s this simple: We either fix this problem or left-wing Democrats win a permanent majority and the Obama-era never ends.
Maybe the bourgeois GOP are too “smart” to grasp such a simple concept. Nevertheless, it is perfectly conservative to be a one issue voter on this one issue.
- Trump will kill terrorists.
Again, maybe the proles aren’t smart enough to grasp why bombing the oil fields funding ISIS is a bad idea. Regardless, Trump is persuasively aggressive on another existential threat to our way of life: Islamic terrorism.
- Trump promises to simplify the tax code and lower middle class taxes.
Goldberg is correct that Trump has leapt from the flat tax to the fair tax to taxing the wealthy. But one area where he’s been entirely consistent is simplifying a corrupt tax code.
4. Billionaire Trump says he can’t be bought by special interests.
It’s hard for some to grasp just what a big deal this is. It also connects directly to simplifying a tax code corrupted beyond human comprehension by the crony capitalism that has created an indefensible tax policy. Sure, other Republican candidates claim they will do the same but Trump supporters have heard this promise many times before, and always from Republican candidates beholden to the same crony contributors who benefit from unlimited corporate welfare.
- Trump is a legitimate outsider.
The media hate him. The GOP establishment hates him. The grifters in the Consultant Class hate him. Newflash: A large and growing part of The Base now hate a Republican Party they see as having repeatedly sold them out on conservative issues like immigration, taxes, controlling the size of government, and kowtowing to special interests like the Chamber of Commerce.
This Establishment hate is for Trump the gift that keeps on giving.
- Trump is expanding The Base.
For decades, as their way of life was buried with only a rusted-out factory for a tombstone, the working class among the Rustbelt have been summarily ignored by both political parties. Trump has been speaking to them for decades (China. Japan. Mexico. Trade.)
While the bourgeois GOP push to expand the Party by pandering to millions who came here illegally, Trump hasn’t forgotten the millions who got royally screwed and then forgotten and ignored after doing nothing more than playing by the rules.
- Trump fights … and wins.
Goldberg writes, “And now, in a moment of passion, many of my comrades-in-arms are throwing it all away in a fit of pique. Because ‘Trump fights!’”
That’s is a good line, a line used by many in the Establishment to mock Trump’s supporters. It’s also a dishonest line.
Trump doesn’t just fight. Trump wins. The man’s been declared doornail dead by the media and the Establishment more often than all the successors to Leonid Brezhnev (I’m getting good at this) combined. And yet, The Donald always manages to come back stronger and in better shape than he did before.
He’s beating the media. He’s beating the GOP Establishment. He’s beating Fox News. He’s beating the hundred-million dollar man Jeb.
In summation: the so-called smart people in the GOP are gobsmacked because a large portion of the Republican base is attracted to a legitimate outsider promising to protect the border, lower our taxes, simplify the tax code, and kill terrorists. He also isn’t afraid to take on the media, and he can’t stop winning.
Before I move on, are there anymore questions about Trump’s appeal?
Why the Establishment’s Anti-Trump Attacks Aren’t Working
Let’s take Goldberg’s criticisms one by one, which by and large mirror the criticisms from the overall GOP Establishment.
Yes, I know Trump has declared himself pro-life. Good for him[.] … But I’m at a total loss to understand why serious pro-lifers take him at his word.
This complaint is coming from the same crowd that backed Mitt Romney in 2012 — you know, the same Mitt Romney who was pro-choice most of his adult life — until right around the time he ran for president.
Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.
First off, this is misleading. Trump is no longer in favor of single-payer. He has promised to repeal ObamaCare, allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines (a splendid idea), and use government to take care of the poor. Secondly, once again this complaint sounds absurd coming from the same crowd that backed Mr. Establishment in 2012: Mitt “RomneyCare” Romney.
Rick Perry in 2012 saw his candidacy implode when he couldn’t remember the third item on his checklist of agencies he’d close down. Well, even in that “oops” moment, Rick Perry comes off as Lincolnesque compared with Donald Trump.
Impotent rage isn’t an argument. And talk about missing the point. Whose fault is it that Perry hasn’t been able to effectively use four whole years to overcome a 20 second brain fart? Is it Trump’s fault? Is it the fault of Trump’s supporters’? Is it the fault of a gnome living in a Mason jar under Roger Stone’s hot tub (you know he’s got one — a hot tub I mean). No, the fault lies totally and completely with Rick Perry.
Perry was one of America’s great governors. Unfortunately, governors don’t win elections — candidates do. The reason Donald Trump has been able to triumph over his many gaffes and the rest of the Republican field is because he is a very good politician and by extension a very good presidential candidate. And guess who wins elections?
In his embarrassing interview with Hugh Hewitt Thursday night, Trump revealed he knows less than most halfway-decent D.C. interns about foreign policy.
The Hewitt interview was not Trump’s finest moment but Goldberg is way overplaying his hand. While running for president both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush flubbed the exact same kind of quiz. In fact, Bush didn’t completely recover from his until after he had won the nomination and debated Al Gore.
Like those who backed Bush and Reagan through similar flubs, Trump’s supporters know it’s early, know Trump isn’t dumb, and are mainly concerned with Big Picture issues. If he’s going to go all the way, Trump will eventually have to show a firmer grasp of the details. But the petty bourgeois GOP pointing and laughing this early in the game says more about their desperation than anything about Trump.
So let’s return to the issue of character. …
If a journalist praises [Trump], that journalist is “terrific.” If the journalist is critical of Trump he is a “loser” (or, in my case, a loser who can’t buy pants). Not surprisingly, Hugh Hewitt is now “third rate” because he made Trump look bad. I’m no fan of Arianna Huffington or Gail Collins, but calling them “dogs” because they criticized you is not a serious ideological or intellectual retort. (It’s not even clever.) I think Trump did insinuate that Megyn Kelly was menstruating during the debate.
I don’t like Trump’s name calling. In the long-term it will undermine his candidacy and is therefore bad strategy, it is also unbecoming. Regardless, Trump is still classier than some of his Republican opponents and many among the Establishment GOP.
To his credit, Trump attacks The Powerful; people like Megyn Kelly, Gail Collins, Jonah Goldberg, Fox News, and Rosie O’Donnell — people with the platform and power to hit back.
Compare that to all those in the GOP Establishment currently attacking everyday VOTERS as thick, nativist, racist, and crazy.
Compare that to Establishment Darling Chris Christie yelling at school teachers.
Compare that to Mitt Romney writing off 47% of the American population as lost and hopeless.
Compare that to Rick Perry telling those demanding the law be enforced that they have no heart.
Compare that to Jeb Bush attacking those same people for not recognizing that this lawlessness is an “act of love.”
At least Trump picks on people his own size.
Chew on this piece of Science: Trump can be rude but he still hasn’t gone as far as the Obama campaign in accusing his opponent of murdering someone. He hasn’t gone as far as the media in burning down two black working class neighborhoods to further an agenda. He hasn’t gone as far as the bourgeois GOP in attacking and insulting and marginalizing 30% of our own base.
The Bourgeois GOP Is Mad For One Reason: They Are Losing
Trump is far from the perfect candidate or the perfect conservative. But he is winning, and that’s why the Establishment is so furious they are now launching feckless and oftentimes hypocritical attacks against him, and in some cases, going so far as to launch suicide attacks against their own voters
This much is true: Trump does fight like a Leftist — he fights to win, and I’m sorry if some of those tactics offend the same fuddy-duddies whose approach to politics and candidates have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.
If Trump is nothing more than a cat trained to piss in a toilet, what does it say about his detractors that they can’t do even that?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC