Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trump's Big Advantage

Here we are down to three candidates in the Republican presidential race. And the leader is the guy that has broken all the rules.

How could this be? How could the political novice Donald Trump break all the rules and win? How could the practiced and polished politicians like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio be outgunned by a novice like Donald Trump?

The answer lies in the Breitbart dictum: politics is downstream from culture. Liberals have dominated the culture and they have remade the culture so that conservatives cannot win in politics. Conservatives are racist, sexist homophobes. But racism is defined as opposing race-conscious diversity and affirmative action. Sexism is defined as not hiring and promoting enough women. Homophobia is defined as not affirming the gay agenda with sufficient enthusiasm. In other words, liberals are racist, sexist, genderists, that accuse the other side of racism, sexism, and genderism.

It's brilliant. Liberals have confined conservatives in a cage without a door.

But Donald Trump has succeeded in breaking out of the cage cunningly designed half a century ago by Herbert Marcuse, the inventor of intolerant tolerance (or was it the other way around?). How he has done it is still a mystery to me. And I am sure it is a mystery to Cruz and Rubio and their campaigns. After all, if they knew how to do it, they would have done it first. Hey, they are in the game to win.

The key to controlling politics is to control what people are allowed to say and not allowed to say. That is what the whole universe of political correctness is about. And that is what Trump has blown apart.

But notice that the only guy that has broken out of the cage, to this very moment, is Trump. The others are still sitting around wondering what has happened to them. They are still wondering how to play the game by the new rules. If the game has changed, and if the rules have really been broken.

Yes, but, you may say. Trump is in the enviable position of being able to throw caution to the wind. He is 69 and wealthy and can afford to play a high-risk game. If he wins, he gets all the marbles. If he fails, he is still rich and powerful and married to a beautiful woman. Cruz and Rubio have their political careers to think about.

The fact is that Trump should not have been able to happen. It was supposed to be death to insult a woman journalist, as Trump has insulted Megyn Kelly. It was supposed to be death to get into an argument with the pope, but Trump has done it and survived.

OK, but Trump has connected with the white working class that has been abandoned by the Democrats for the last half century. He has said things that they have been longing to hear. Exactly, but haven't Republicans been longing to discover the magic bullet to penetrate the hearts of the Reagan Democrats since forever? How come that Trump is the first politician to do that?

How come a political novice was the first to figure it out?

Let's think ahead and wonder if Trump can win the general election. Over at Mark Steyn there is a piece on the shriveling of the map for Republicans since George Bush senior. Look at the map, he says.
In the south-west he won California. In the north-east he won four New England states. He won the home state of a young community organizer called Barack Obama.
And he won Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Since then things have gone straight downhill so that the idea of a GOP win in 2016 looks pretty improbable.

But with Donald Trump you have to say that the map has been scrambled. The ideological divide of the past three decades has been shattered. How or why is for the historians to decide. Trump has found a way to scramble ideology, break the rules of political correctness and simply appropriate the voters' general unfocused anger into support for him personally. It does no good to point to Trump as a classic confidence trickster, or to complain about his complete lack of worked-out issues. The fact is that politics is about charisma and bombast, about grand denunciations and accusations; it is not about a serious and well-argued discussion of the issues, the careful calibration of messages, and appeals to various constituencies.

Nobody knows what will happen from here on out. All we know is that Donald Trump has blown up the liberal grand strategy in which America would become defined by liberal identity, as liberal identities expanded and included more and more of the electorate, and the rest of America would cower in the shadows, afraid of the mortal accusation of racism, sexism, or homophobia.

When you blow up the world, you don't know how the pieces will fall. By the fall the liberal cultural hegemony may be back in control and everybody will be minding what they say, afraid of the political commissars as of old.

But for now, Donald Trump has broken all the rules, and lived to tell the tale. And that is all that matters.

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