Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Get Over It–The Rise Of Donald Trump And The Left’s Bewilderment
Liberals have never gotten Donald Trump. For months they have ignored his popularity, dismissed the millions of Americans who have voted for him, and cast him as a huckster, vaudevillian, and master of manipulation. They have branded him a racist, misogynist xenophobe. Yet, despite their attempts to derail Trump’s rise to political power; despite the GOP’s panic; and despite the warnings of the coming Armageddon, he has finally secured the nomination for President of the United States.
Progressives today (7.19.16) are bewildered. Donald Trump is actually and indeed the Republican nominee and, if the polls and betting markets are any indication, he has an excellent chance of winning the White House.
They never saw it coming. They were sure that the circus would leave town, that a more reasonable candidate would emerge from the crowded Republican pack, and that the status quo would return. Not only did Trump’s Barnum & Bailey show continue to set up its tents, but they were filled with supporters. His campaign events were part revivalism, part Las Vegas and part Hollywood; but most of all they were signifiers of the candidate’s increasingly enthusiastic appeal.
American politics had always been more spectacle than substance, progressives admitted; but this was different, dangerous, and ominous. Previous campaigns had plenty of hoopla, but beneath the banners and balloons there was substance – a platform, a set of principles, a policy playbook – but this time around there was only hoopla, bravado, and show.
Progressives not only went after Trump but after his supporters. They were backward and ignorant, white trash ignoramuses who believed in Creationism, were armed to the teeth, and wouldn’t know an idea even if it were written in kindergarten capitals.
Yet more and more Americans came out to Trump rallies, cheered his outrageous defiance of liberal cant and self-righteousness and his political incorrectness, and deconstructed his hyperbole better than any Marxist academic. While the Left parsed every line of his speeches about immigration, outraged that he could condemn all Muslims, all Mexicans, and incensed that he could laugh; his supporters took his exaggerations for exactly what they were – indicators of principle.
Trump supporters have been angry at illegal immigration which depresses wages, increases public expenditure, and erodes the polity of America. Hispanics especially have applauded his no-nonsense stance on borders because they have the most to lose. They, like their Anglo counterparts dismiss his charges about Mexican rapists and criminals and the impossibility of building a new Great Wall of China. They know only that Trump means business and they are for him.
Likewise, only the liberal Left has taken seriously his intention to deport all Muslims. His conservative supporters know how to read between the lines, to separate words from image, intended policy from posturing. They know only that he, unlike the opposition of the Left, takes radical Muslim terrorism seriously. While President Obama shilly-shallies, makes nice with Iran, wavers in its support of Israel, and worries about multiculturalism, Donald Trump says the words defiantly.
Tens of millions of Americans are disaffected, frustrated, angered, and resentful by the juggernaut of progressive policies and programs which threaten what they see is the integrity and unanimity of America. The universal liberal support of Black Lives Matter and its absolute hostility towards the police is but the latest assault. Coming on the heels of gay marriage, usurpation by fiat and court order of the democratic process in matters of religious freedom and reproductive behavior, this distortion of American democracy is bilious and maddening.
When Donald Trump is politically incorrect, he is not merely targeting campus absurdity but shouting ‘basta!’ to all multicultural occupations of American institutions.
When he calls the Supreme Court rigged, he is not claiming that it is seditiously so, but politically biased. The almost perfect alignment of liberal and conservative Justices on cases before the Court is testimony to the fact; and the arrogation of power in the hands of nine men and women, jurists who make final decisions on matters that should be left to the electorate, is untenable.
This morning, the day after Trump’s formal investiture, progressives are not only bewildered but flummoxed. They have to finally admit that they didn’t see this coming. Trump’s ascendancy is not only the rise of political opponent but a revelation that America is not what they thought. The country is not a logical place. Reason – i.e. carefully studied opinions and measured responses based on data and analysis – does not always prevail. Secularism is not widespread. Diversity is not universally embraced.
In other words Trump’s success is troubling for the Left because it exposes the intellectual insularity and righteousness of the Left and the Eastern Establishment of both parties. “How could this have happened?”, they say, when Trump populism has been there for inspection for months. It was the Left’s refusal to believe that anyone like Donald Trump could possibly have any chance at victory was its undoing. They forgot to look at our evangelical roots – Amy Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday, Oral Roberts, and Pat Robertson. They ignored our profound social conservatism and dismissed movements of state legislatures to restore order and religiously conservative values. They mistook fundamentalism for ignorance.
Now what? The political lines have been drawn more markedly than ever before; but the Left has never faced an opponent like Donald Trump. His manipulation of the media and poking his critics in the eye with his canny Michelle Obama-Melania Trump convention speech fol-de-rol has put the Left on notice. The presidential campaign will be no different from the primaries. His opponents are unprepared and overmatched; and the longer they shake their heads in bewilderment, the farther back they will fall.
It is wake-up time for America’s Left and moderate Establishment Right. Donald Trump is here to stay. Even if he does not win the election, his populist coup has been successful. Even if it is repulsed, the disaffected rebels will still be there, even more consolidated and determined in defeat.