The revolt of the public and the rise of Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The Political Apparition

Like the phantom at the feast, Donald Trump materialized at the head of the Republican presidential race without anyone quite knowing how he got there.  Once we overcame our embarrassment over his unexpected arrival, however, we haven’t been able to stop talking about the man.  He needs to be explained.  A veritable army of professional Trump explainers has thus been mustered into action.  He needs to be criticized.  A raging mob of Trump debunkers now howls by torchlight under the castle walls – comparing him, quite literally, to Frankenstein’s monster, but also, of course, to Hitler.

The extraordinary obsession with the higher meaning of Trump is as bewildering in its own way as his success.

It so happens that a number of people whose opinions I respect have brought up The Revolt of the Public in connection with the Trump phenomenon.  Virginia Postrel, Arnold Kling, and Tyler Cowen, among others, have suggested that Trump’s abrupt appearance on the threshold of power becomes less perplexing in the context of the sociopolitical conflict I described in the book.  Unhappily, I’m inclined to agree:  and that entails the responsibility to draw out the implications.

If, as I suspect, Trump is a blunt objet trouvé, an accidental instrument wielded by the public against the political institutions of the industrial age, then two additional propositions are likely to be true.  First, the public’s temper has moved much closer to nihilism than anyone not wholly deranged by conspiracy theories could have imagined.  Second, the disintegration of the institutions of American democracy has proceeded much faster than I, at least, would have thought possible.

The trouble with such assertions, of course, is that we’re dealing with a fast-evolving, vastly complex set of human relations, caught in the fever heat of political conflict, amid the muddle of events.  Analysis is hardly likely to be conclusive.  What follows, then, is not finished analysis, and is only indirectly another attempt to classify Trump as if he were an exotic new species of insect blown in from the rain forest.

My subject is the sickness of democracy in our country, which appears to have taken a dangerous turn for the worse since I wrote the last pages of The Revolt of the Public.

The Empty Vessel

A meticulous study of Donald Trump’s biography, statements, and policy “positions” will reveal no hint of political direction.  It’s not that Trump is contradictory or incoherent.  He’s ideologically formless.  His claim to business competence is nullified by inherited wealth and several bankruptcies.  His supposed nationalism consists of complaining about countries in which he has invested his own money (“I love China, but…”).  He’s going to make America great again – yet that’s a wish, not a program.  A run at the US presidency has been concocted out of a disorganized bundle of will and desire.

A candidate deprived of direction can only drift on the stream of public opinion.  Or to flip that around:  the dizzying rise of Trump can best be understood as the political assertion of a newly energized public.  Trump has been chosen by this public, for reasons I’ll have cause to examine, and he is the visible effect, not the cause, of this public’s surly and mutinous mood.  To make him into an American Hitler or a world-historical figure of any sort, let me suggest, would be to distort reality as on a funhouse mirror.

The right level of analysis on Trump isn’t Trump, but the public that endows him with a radical direction and temper, and the decadent institutions that have been too weak to stand in his way.

The American public, like the public everywhere, is engaged in a long migration away from the structures of representative democracy to more sectarian arrangements.  In Henri Rosanvallon’s term, the democratic nation has devolved into a “society of distrust.”  The reasons, Rosanvallon argues, are deep and structural, but we also have available a simple functional explanation:  the perception, not always unjustified, that democratic government has failed to deliver on its promises.

The public, I mean to say, cares a lot about outcomes and not so much about the legitimacy of the ballot box or the authority of elected officials.  And if the outcomes demanded are a tangle of contradictions that divide the public, the sense of being betrayed and abandoned by “protected classes” is shared across large majorities of mutually hostile persuasions.  The landscape in a society of distrust tilts steeply toward repudiation:  everyone, at all times, wants to stand against.

For this descent into reflexive negation, President Obama bears a measure of responsibility.  To the president, the democratic process is legitimate if, and only if, it promotes the advancement of progressive ideals.  Otherwise democracy is really manipulation.  In the heat of partisan battle, with the outcome in doubt, he has felt free to lash out at the system for being corrupt, racist, sexist, socially and economically unjust, and unworthy of his support.

By shrinking democracy to partisan dimensions, the president has extended an invitation to mayhem that far more radical characters than Barack Obama could hardly refuse.

Among them are the social justice warriors who have sought to budge the president leftward and now incline to Bernie Sanders.  The logic of the moment, however, more fiercely agitates Tea Partiers, evangelists, “alt conservatives,” and others on the right who find the status quo intolerable.  These groups tap into energy flowing away from the preferences and even the personality of the sitting president.  Repudiation, in their case, takes a special form that benefits Trump:  the search for the anti-Obama.

As for the specific issues under debate in the primaries – immigration, the economy, terrorism – their importance to the public is uncertain.  Exit polls have jumped all over the place.  Take Trump’s apparent signature wedge issue:  immigration.  There’s little evidence that it is an abiding obsession for Trump voters, and some evidence that it falls somewhat down the list of their concerns.  The same holds true for economic problems and terror.  These topics can hold the public’s attention, but don’t seem decisive to its voting choices.

My guess is that they are tokens of distance – of that sense of betrayal and abandonment by the institutions of government.  Ordinary people, for example, are not allowed to maintain that immigration might be connected to crime, or job loss, or terrorism.  Such opinions are condemned as racist and placed beyond the pale of political discussion.  If you happen to hold them, you are effectively silenced.  A majority of Trump supporters agree with the following statement:  “people like me don’t have any say in what the government does.”

Distance is decisive.  The transcendent aim of the revolt of the public, everywhere around the globe, has been to smash the elites and the institutions down from the protected heights, by whatever means necessary, regardless of the consequences.  So far, the US presidential elections of 2016 appear to be no exception.

The Lord of Attention

The attitudes just described are pervasive.  They cut across ideological and demographic boundaries.  Their relevance to the rise of Trump should be placed in perspective, however:  he has received slightly more than a third of the 20 million votes cast in Republican primaries so far.  He hasn’t yet been anointed maximum leader of the revolution.

But he is, politically, a stranger in a strange land, a man from nowhere who may soon become standard-bearer for the party of true world-historical figures like Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower – who may, conceivably, become president of the United States and so the most powerful person in the world.  Such fantastic improbabilities lead us to the obvious question.  Granted the zeitgeist of negation and repudiation, the failure of the institutions and the bad mood of the public:  why Donald Trump?

I’m not a fan of cosmic, single-cause explanations.  Let me offer instead a hypothesis about what I believe to be the most significant factor in the public’s reconstruction of Trump into a phantom of revolt.  The hypothesis comes in two parts:  one an indisputable fact, the other a lot more speculative.

The fact is this:  since June 2015, when he announced his candidacy, Trump has received massive, probably unprecedented, levels of media attention.  Though he has spent less on media ads than his Republican opponents, he has benefited from coverage so vastly more intense that the other candidates, by comparison, have suffocated from lack of exposure.  When it comes to television coverage, for example, the primary election season at times has felt like a contest between Trump and silence.

trump media chart 2The same disproportion held true in digital media.

trump web chart edited

So the question we should pose is what the effects might be of such immoderate levels of attention.  Academic scholars, as it happens, have studied that question for decades.

According to media agenda-setting research, volume of discussion about a topic must climb above a specific awareness threshold before it can enter the consciousness of the public.  Below that level the topic simply doesn’t exist.  The charts show Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump’s chief opponents, drowning deep below the awareness threshold.  They and their messages were largely nonexistent to the public.

To the degree that volume of discussion rises above the awareness threshold, the topic discussed becomes increasingly important to the public.  A Palestinian victim of violence, for example, will appear more important than a Congolese victim, because media coverage will favor one and ignore the other.  If this principle is valid, and I believe it is, then in 2015 Donald Trump exploded into the consciousness of the American public as an event of cosmic significance:  a media Big Bang.  The political consequences were equally explosive and are not in doubt.

trump media chart 1

The media fixated on Trump for a pretty straightforward reason:  he represented high ratings and clickbait.  The news business is desperate for an audience and willing to trade whatever remains of its authority for that mess of potage.  The web is an eternal shouting match between sectarian war-bands hungry for attention:  the outrageous Trump, as object of digital frenzy, lifted their game to a whole new level.

Media people pumped the helium that elevated Donald Trump’s balloon, and they did so from naked self-interest.  This has been widely noted – by now, it’s the favorite Theory of Trump among the commentariat.  Although true so far as it goes, it begs a whole series of questions:  for example, just how did Trump become such a magnet for high ratings and clickbait?  Why the fascination?  What separates him so sharply from the other candidates, in the eyes of both the public and the media?

Here we come to the more speculative bit of my hypothesis.

In American politics, Trump is a peacock among dull buzzards.  That should be apparent to anyone with eyes to see.  The one discernible theme of his life has been the will to stand out:  to attract all eyes in the room by being the loudest, most colorful, most aggressively intrusive person there.  He has clearly succeeded.  The data above speaks to a world-class talent for self-promotion.  The media noticed, and just kept the cameras aimed at the extravagant performance – allowing Trump to represent himself to the public, a rare commodity for a politician.  And the public, in its mood of negation, its hostility to the established order, also noticed.  Trump lacked a political past.  He was glamorous and a winner – he looked different and acted different.

He also sounded different from other politicians.  The most significant factor separating Trump from the pack, I believe, is rhetorical.  Trump is a master of the nihilist style of the web.  His competitors speak in political jargon and soaring generalities.  He speaks in rant.  He attacks, insults, condemns, doubles down on misstatements, never takes a step back, never apologizes.  Everyone he dislikes is a liar, “a bimbo,” “bought and paid for.”  Without batting an eyelash, he will compare an opponent to a child molester.  Such rhetorical aggression is shocking in mainstream American politics but an everyday occurrence on the political web, where death threats and rape threats against a writer are a measure of the potency of the message.

The “angry voter” Trump supposedly has connected with is really an avatar of the mutinous public:  and this is its language.  It too speaks in rant, inchoate expression of a desire to remake the world by smashing at it, common parlance of the political war-bands that populate Tumblr, Gawker, reddit, and so many other online platforms.  By embracing Trump in significant numbers, the public has signaled that it is willing to impose the untrammeled relations of social media on the US electoral process.

I’m amazed by the rapidity with which this moment has arrived:  that we have come to it, however, will surprise no one who has been paying attention.

The Conquistador of Ruins

Trump has warned of “riots” if he is denied the nomination, but this seems unlikely.  The public that picked him up and now wields him like a sledgehammer against the status quo has never been deeply involved in his campaign.  There have been few spontaneous Trump events, websites, or online riffs – nothing equivalent to “Obama girl,” for example, or the social media activism that inspired protests in Spain, Israel, Venezuela, and elsewhere.  A Trump “occupation” sounds like a contradiction in terms.  Beyond the demographics of his supporters, Trump himself is the occupier:  he’s taken over all the available political space.  The news media aims its cameras at him, personally, because he’s the one who delivers the audience.  In social media, Trump has utilized his Twitter account, which had millions of followers before he became a candidate, to dominate digital buzz by the sheer outrageousness of his personal style.

The Trump uprising is less an eruption from below than an improvised performance, a demonstration of what is now possible for the public to accomplish.  Italy’s Five Star Movement, which became the second-largest political party behind a popular entertainer and blogger, Beppe Grillo, may serve as a reasonable parallel.

Put differently, the Trump candidacy is a test of democracy in America in 2016.  The public is agitated and willing to vote for this strange and formless man.  It is not directly engaged.  The structures of democracy, on the flip side, appear to be near collapse.  What should have been a brutal collision against unyielding institutions has turned into a strut over a landscape darkened by colossal ruins.  The news business is dying and desperate.  The primary elections are a crazy quilt of contradictory rules.  The Republican Party, by all appearances, is more of a historical memory than a living organization.

Donald Trump, anti-establishment wrecker, has been fortunate in his moment.  In 1960, 1980, even 2000, there would have been an establishment to oppose him.  In 2015, the putative establishment champion was Jeb Bush.  He had been away from elected office for nine years, “a longer downtime than any president elected since 1852 (and any candidate since 1924).”  The Republican worthies who endorsed and promoted him had been out of office for an average of 11 years.  If this once was the party’s establishment, it’s now a claque of political corpses.  The Bush candidacy, in brief, was a dance of the dead, and the Republican Party, at the national level at least, stands revealed as a ruinous graveyard over which nearly anyone, fitting any description, can lay claim.

The Revolt of the Public has been accused, with uncertain justice, of advancing a bleak vision of our political reality.  In that spirit, I want to conclude with a dismal observation.  At present, the leading candidates for the presidency are Trump and Hillary Clinton.  One is a reckless smasher of institutions.  The other is a fossilized specimen of the remote and protected elites.  Both are creatures of the society of distrust, divisive to an extreme degree.

So my observation is this:  regardless of who wins, the 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be just another episode in the grinding social conflict and disintegration of industrial forms that have defined our age.  Nothing much, I fear, will be decided.

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62 Responses to The revolt of the public and the rise of Donald Trump

  1. Pingback: Martin Gurri on Donald Trump | askblog

  2. Lee Kelly says:

    Imagine a candidate expressing Trump-like sentiments, but more politely and without the prior fame. The political and media classes would have shouted him down and shut him out. It had to be Trump, or someone very much like him. Trump was entertaining, the clickbait candidate–fun to keep shouting down. But he was also dismissed as a joke, a clown, who had no real chance of winning–no need to shut him up. I would also suggest that the media, without its left-wing bias, reveled in showing the Republican party in such a bad light.

    The public picked up on this arrogance, and also noticed that Trump, however rude and inchoate, was being dismissed and ridiculed for expressing views and sentiments that are widely held, or at least should still be within the realm of legitimate discourse in a supposed democracy. Trump became the vehicle through which the public could express their disaffection, because, yes, shameless media pursuit of eyes and clicks, but also because a large chunk of the public, were at least as appalled by the media’s reaction to Trump as they were Trump himself.

    I suspect that a significant chunk of Trump’s support is actually a feint–people who, when push comes to shove, will hold their nose and vote for the other guy, or better yet just not vote at all. A lot of people who have sympathies for Trump, or at least for the revolt against the establishment he represents, are now starting to feel that things have went too far. Both Trump and Clinton might be horrid presidential candidates, but at least Clinton is bad in a predictable and familiar way.

    If anything good is to come of this whole Trump fiasco, it will to be shift the Overton window a little so the public can feel like it has a voice again. But I’m not getting my hopes up.

    • pithom says:

      “The political and media classes would have shouted him down and shut him out.”

      -No, it wouldn’t have. Look at Cruz. He’s the closest of the candidates to having “Trump-like sentiments” and loser Jeb! endorsed him.

      “I suspect that a significant chunk of Trump’s support is actually a feint–people who, when push comes to shove, will hold their nose and vote for the other guy, or better yet just not vote at all.”

      -Since when was rally attendance inversely correlated with voting participation? 1896?

      Trump’s victories restored my faith in the election process. Every time a vote was seen as being cast for Romney, a part of me died.

      • richard40 says:

        Cruz had more than trump like sentiments, he had plans to solve trumps issues better than trump, was right on those issues far longer than trump, far more consistently than Trump, and without all the trump paranoia, nehilism, nativism, sleazy personal attacks, policy ineptness, of Trump, while wanting to reform the repub party, not destroy it. As for some establishment repubs now endorsing Cruz, they definitely never wanted him. Cruz was their very last choice, when they belatedly realized that the only alternative to destroying the repub party, with Trump, was to have principled intelligent Tea Party reform, through Cruz.
        I will give Trump credit for one thing. His victories have now finally shocked the repub leadership into being ready for the only intelligent alternative to Trump, that will reform the repub party, that will return the party to principled constitutional Reaganism, rather than being an appendage to the Trump mindless authritarian personality cult.

      • pithom says:

        You have not mentioned one concrete difference between the two. I like Trump more than Cruz because he is:
        1. Far better in his foreign policy instincts, especially on Russia, Cuba, and Iran
        2. Bolder
        3. More appealing to independents
        4. Not reliant on donors.
        5. Less of a sanctimonious godbot.
        6. Not one to give gift baskets to illegals at the border
        7. More likeable to people who know him.

    • Ward Dorrity says:

      Consider that the rise of the Obamunists is much akin to the events in France in 1789. “Progressives” seized power and terror and slaughter ensued. When that became too much to bear, they got their Bonaparte. Trump, for better or worse is our Napoleon.

  3. Plucky says:

    Not to distract you from the main point of the post, but the “Obama Girl” was not a spontaneous, ordinary-person creation but an intentional piece of marketing, created by professional marketers ( ). The Obama Girl herself didn’t even manage to vote in the primary ( ). The whole point of the marketing style is of course that it appear spontaneous and “authentic,” but that does not mean that it is either of those. It is never straightforward to distinguish grass from astroturf in the origins of anything viral on the internet. Professional marketers can be very, very clever. On Trump, there is quite a lot of internet spontaneity surrounding him, it just mainly takes the form of aggressive and vicious trolling of anyone who says anything negative about him. He has been able to turn the internet fervor into large crowds at his rallies and also large numbers of votes (especially given his campaign’s almost total lack of traditional GOTV efforts).

  4. Pingback: The revolt of the public and the rise of Donald Trump | the fifth wave | Truth and Traditions

  5. “The Republican Party, by all appearances, is more of a historical memory than a living organization.”

    The first image that sprang to mind reading this sentence — and I’m amazed no political cartoonist on the Web seems to have rendered this image — is of the Republican Party, looking down in surprise in horror at its chest, out of which a bloody, screeching, naked Donald Trump has burst. Perhaps Samantha Bee’s recent comparison of Ted Cruz to the “chest-burster” from Alien makes this metaphor seem too derivative, but I feel like my version is more poignant (although Cruz really does look like the little guy, physically).

    For years pundits have been warning of the inevitable schism in the Republican Party: it has for decades been a crazy-quilt coalition of socially liberal supply-siders, neocons, isolationists, anti-government extremists, white supremacists, religious fanatics, and so on. The Tea Party was the GOP’s “facehugger” moment — things looked grim for the Republican status quo in DC! But then the little guy weakened its grip and fell off the Party’s face, and the patient woke up, and everything looked like it was going to be business as usual.

    It was only when everyone sat down for a nice 2016 primary season that the sleeping monster made its presence known.

    • Lawrence Larson says:

      Not much disagreement here, except to note that both political parties have for decades been crazy-quilts, and both have been ideologically bankrupt and bereft of any cohesive bond other than the will to power and the concomitant spoils. The main difference is that the Democrats play Power Poker to win while the GOP is content merely to remain sitting at the table. That only a small segment of Team D has reaped any benefits has been slow to dawn on the other stiffs who are expected to continue to support the cause. Perhaps the GOP crackup can be explained by the fact that losers have less to lose by turning the table over?

    • Are all religious people fanatics? If so, then you’re just showing your hostility; if not, please specify the difference between a religious person and a religious fanatic.

    • shuzensoxon says:

      Interesting. I wrote a blog post using exactly this analogy a while ago:

    • richard40 says:

      They ignored principled orderly Tea Party reform with Cruz. Now after staring into the mindless abyss of Trump, they may finally be ready for that principled orderly reform. The real alien here is Trump, not Cruz, Cruz and the Tea Party was Sigourney Weaver, constantly warning the company what would happen if they did not wake up, and being ignored and marginalized.

    • Tucci78 says:

      Lucas Picador had written:

      The Tea Party [in 2010, largely an enraged response to the blatantly partisan passage of the economy-savaging horror of Obamacare] was the GOP’s “facehugger” moment — things looked grim for the Republican status quo in DC! But then the little guy weakened its grip and fell off the Party’s face, and the patient woke up, and everything looked like it was going to be business as usual.

      It was only when everyone sat down for a nice 2016 primary season that the sleeping monster made its presence known.

      There really can’t be an loss of focus on the “Affordable” Care Act, which is (to continue the analogy) the hideous wrecked spaceship full of alien eggs into which the crew of the Nostromo had been ordered by a malevolent corporate “establishment.”

      The old chestnut about conservatism versus liberalism asks if we are a people with a government, or a government with a people. But to Barack Obama, America is an almighty White House with a vestigial legislature, hot-wired to a few big cities, isolated in a dark sea of ignorant flyover-country child-citizens who must occasionally be told fanciful things to keep them under control.
      Like all socialists,
      [Obama is] very fond of appropriating the language of capitalism to push his ideas. In this case, he compared the disastrous ObamaCare launch to a few glitches that a company like Apple might encounter when rolling out a new iPod. But to complete that analogy, your new iPod would have required a second mortgage on your house to purchase, and it would electrocute you while you were doing the dishes.

      Most importantly, the purchase of an iPod is not mandated by law. You don’t have to pay a special tax/penalty if you refuse to buy one. And if iPods were mandatory, designed by the same geniuses who inflicted ObamaCare on us, just imagine how expensive they would be, and how poorly they would perform. This is not at all an analogy defenders of the Affordable Care Act, or any other socialist disaster, should make. It reflects worse on their schemes, the more you think about it. If ObamaCare was a private sector product, released by a company of which Barack Obama was the CEO, he’d be facing massive lawsuits for fraud, if not jail time.The legitimacy of our government rests upon the rule of law. The President doesn’t get to ignore laws he doesn’t like, not even when they’re named after him. If the government is not bound by law, we aren’t a representative republic any more, or even a constitutional democracy. We’re a dictatorship, in which the dictator occasionally holds ludicrous press conferences to keep his poll numbers from tanking. Why should any citizen of the United States obey a law the President will not obey?

      — John Hayward, “Obama’s ‘Consultation With Business Leaders’ Amendment to the Constitution” (10 August 2013)

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  7. UncleFred says:

    The establishment orchestrated their game plan. Jeb! with $130 million would outspend and drown out the rest of the field, which they’d seeded with enough “grassroots favorites” to split the opposition vote to many ways to matter. It was a classic and perfect plan, until Trump entered and sucked all the air time out of the campaign.

    Trump called out the field on the issues that the mainstream party insistently refused to address and did not wish to allow into the discussion. Illegal immigration and legal immigration abuse, the scandal at the VA and the governments utter refusal to hold it accountable, the disaster that is ObamaCare, and the massive loss of middle class jobs. Had any Republican, clearly addressed these issues without hedging or lecturing the rank and file, Trump would have evaporated. The more the mainstream Republicans equivocated the angrier and more frustrated the rank and file became.

    In essence, whether knowingly or unknowingly, Trump gathered the benefit of the strategy put in place by Jeb! and his cronies, and Jeb found himself unable to get traction or spend enough to drown out Trump. And so, here we are.

    We still elect representatives not masters. They political class has forgotten this in the past and suffered distraction. They’ve forgotten it again, and all the computer targeted communication and issues advocacy is unlikely to save them. It’s not rocket science, they work for us and have failed to do a reasonable job for years. The rank and file are slow to take action. Indeed, they are slow to notice. But when they do notice they tend to get very annoyed and act by swinging a sledge not using a filet knife.

    • richard40 says:

      You can leave off the paranoid establishment is out to get you paranoid conspiricy bit now. They obviously lost, you are running against Cruz and the Tea Party now. We are not establishment, we are the ones that were fighting them while the pretend anti establishment insult comic, who beliives in nothing other than his own magnificence, Trump, was still doing reality shows and bribing dems for corrupt crony capitalist big gov favors.

  8. drdog09 says:

    “Put differently, the Trump candidacy is a test of democracy in America in 2016. The public is agitated and willing to vote for this strange and formless man. ”

    The Trump candidacy is not a test of democracy. This is simple calculus. The public KNOWS the current crop of ‘leaders’ are bought and paid for. So it does not take a leap for the public to look elsewhere.

    • richard40 says:

      So instead the idiots look for the equally corrupt paranoid vacuous celebrity insult comic who was doing all the corrupt buying, yeah, that was real smart. of course they all ognored the real reformers, who never were bought, the Tea Party and Cruz, who were fighting both Obama and the repub leadership, while Trump was still buying dems for corrupt favors, and doing reality shows.

  9. Cloudbuster says:

    He had been away from elected office for nine years, “a longer downtime than any president elected since 1852 (and any candidate since 1924).”

    Dwight Eisenhower never held any elected office at all prior to the Presidency.

  10. Pam says:

    This analysis is simply vapid. Democracy has not failed us. We are not a democracy. We are a representative Republic and we are failing it. Perhaps I can end your confusion and angst. Start with researching the creation and destruction of the 17th Amendment followed or preceded by a read of The 5000 Year Leap and Born Fighting, The History of the Scots-Irish in America. This “analysis” you have conceived sounds as if written by a loyalist in 1770 but using less colorful and interesting language. The rough and tumble of those of us out here actually living with the new world order must really appear or be made to appear pedestrian and coarse to those of you virtue signaling to each other how cosmopolitan you are. You must analyze the situation to support your view of superiority to those of us who actually believe in the innate sovereignty of the individual, local government, state government and our country in which our founders believed and which over the past 200 years we have alternatively denuded and dissipated.

  11. Ashman says:

    The 65% “OtherThanTrump” primary vote on the GOP side encourages me. The fact that it looks to be coalescing around an imperfect vessel, Cruz, who advocates a returned reliance on the Constitution and is hated in D.C. encourages me.

    The fact that it looks like this may be turning into a “Anybody but Trump or Hillary” election encourages me. Cruz v Sanders would be “a choice, not an echo” election…and that prospect encourages me.

    The fact that Trump hasn’t lapped the field given the $2B in free media advantage he has been gifted encourages me. My belief that we have patriots at the FBI encourages me. I see that antibodies still exist in the body politic. I’m obviously easily encouraged.

    Politics is downstream from culture, and that discourages me.

    • Haxo Angmark says:

      then be discouraged. About half of the Republiscam base has woken up to the fact that ‘Murka has been a one-party State since the Judeo-globalist neo-conz took over the GOP during the 1980’s – 90’s…the Demoncrats having been a Zionist property since 1947. As for Ted Cruz – that’s Harvard Law/married to GoldmanSachs-CFR/clerk for Gang of 9/”K Street” law firm Ted Cruz – he’s no more “anti-establishment” than Bernie: an unemployed bum for the first 40 years of his life and a Vermont/DC political hack for the next 30. As to Mrs. Clinton – completely corrupt, totally incompetent, and murderously disposed toward the “vast Right-wing conspiracy” – I can’t think of a better person to have at the tiller of Leviathan when it hits the debtberg. Then: Spain, 1936…or something like it

    • richard40 says:

      You are absolutely right, despite the sleazy trumpie following you, Cruz vs Sanders would offer a real choice, based on ideas, Tea Party vs socialism, not the vacuous sleaze and lies of Obama/Trump/Hillary.. Note to sleazy trumpie, Goldman Sachs is a large oganization, with plenty of legit activities and plenty of good people who work with and for them, Not everybody who ever associates with them is corrupt, in fact sleazy hypocrite Trump has numerous connections with them as well, is your hero also corrupt? How come Trump can associate with Goldman Sachs, and even with Soros (something Cruz did NOT do), and he is the paragon of honestly, while anybody else who does must be corrupt, despite zero proof of any corrupt activity on their part/. If the Trumpies did not have hypocritical double standards, they would have no standards at all.

  12. timothy says:

    Your take is similar to Nassim Taleb’s who John Robb quotes here:

    Note that Taleb does not limit the phenomena to America.

    Your ideas are also similar to Codevilla’s and reading the blurb on your book, include ideas on power relationships inherent in the open-source revolution in software.

    The same phenomena, being observed from different perspectives gives me hope. The ‘political class’ will not survive this revolt, the people will rule themselves.

  13. bean spout says:

    Read the Trump tax position. By far the best of all the candidates. Trump support is quite real, not manufactured. Even Diamond and Silk are for real. Turning political Washington into a profession has been the problem. And democracy is the solution for it.

    • richard40 says:

      Trumps support is totally manufactured. Did you ever look at the idiotic lies, paranoia, and propaganda on his favorite web propaganda site, conservative treehouse, which is about as conservative and honest as Lyndon Larouche used to be. The trumpies think that trash is a real conservative website site, and the national enquirer is a real newspaper. Fake conservative Trumps trade position is identical to Bernie the Socialist. If enough people still think there is anything real or conservative about Trump, God help us.

  14. anonymousse says:

    “The most significant factor separating Trump from the pack, I believe, is rhetorical. Trump is a master of the nihilist style of the web. His competitors speak in political jargon and soaring generalities. He speaks in rant. He attacks, insults, condemns, doubles down on misstatements, never takes a step back, never apologizes. Everyone he dislikes is a liar, “a bimbo,” “bought and paid for.” Without batting an eyelash, he will compare an opponent to a child molester.”

    I’m not convinced of this. If Trump used the language described above to maintain a conventional political philosophy (say, he parroted Jeb’s views), I don’t think he would be popular.
    I think his rhetoric grabs the attention, but his views made him a viable (and thus far, winning) candidate. Further, it is his views that cause him to be such a threat to the status quo (the Republican Party in particular).

    A few thought experiments. 1) If Trump had the same rhetoric, but the political views of Jeb: would the Republican establishment be fighting him so vociferously? Would it be changing convention rules in order to deny him the nomination if at all possible? I suggest not. He may be a rhetorical bull in a China shop, but his views are causing the Republican Party to panic-not his language.

    2) If Trump had the same rhetoric, but no unconventional views:would the public embrace him? Again, I think not. Shouting and blustering may get airtime, and it may get attention, but I don’t think it would get votes. ‘Build the wall’ gets votes. ‘Get out of NATO’, and ‘Common Core? Gone.’ (for me, anyway) gets votes. Loud and aggressive blustering that he wants to increase immigration, agrees with BLM, and wants more women and homosexuals in the military wouldn’t get him votes. A commenter’s note: “If anything good is to come of this whole Trump fiasco, it will to be shift the Overton window a little.” hits it. Note the commenter isn’t saying that its good that Trump has shifted the rhetorical tone of politics. He says that Trump has shifted the Overton window-the range of acceptable political discourse-or in other words, the legitimate political views.

    Without the political views, Trump is just a loud braggart. The political views themselves are what brings in votes.

    Commenters (of Left and Right), I think, are unwilling to accept the obvious: the political views that Trump is expressing are legitimately popular (maybe not with a majority, but with a substantial minority at least). People don’t want immigration. People don’t want the government to have as much power as it has. People don’t want political correctness to define the range of acceptable political discourse. Trump mocks and belittles opponents, and commenters seem to think the public merely likes mockery and belittlement. They are unwilling, or afraid, or unable, to see that mockery and belittlement for unpopular views doesn’t work-the underlying message itself is genuinely popular.


    • richard40 says:

      Actually the repub establishment was about ready to give up and join Trump, iuntil they reallized he would destroy the party with division and lost to Hillary, due to his incredoblyh sleazy campaign, which you also conceded (but you did not also mention his toal cluslessness on talking abut policy). The ones who really fought him were the Tea Party adn crzu. We have had a long history of spotting phonies, and Trump is the phoniest.

  15. jdm says:

    It seems to me that the reason Trump received so much “free” publicity has much less to do with clickbait as such, but rather with the MSM’s stupidity.

    Every modern presidential election involves the systematic destruction of each Republican candidate by “exposes” and “scandals”. One, or two maybe, are usually enough to deflate any particular candidates hopes; however, in the case of Trump, the old methods didn’t work. In fact, as we’ve seen, Trump didn’t react as expected and neither did his candidacy. The stupidity aspect plays into this because the MSM continued, continues to use the same methods that worked so well in the past. To little or no negative effect; indeed, to the apparent opposite.

    PS and I think UncleFred’s comments are pretty much dead on.

    • richard40 says:

      Actually they are working on Trump pretty good now, they just had to realize that instead of just generally criticising Trump, they just had to expose trumps real weakness, his total vacuousness on policy, and his tendency to just blurt out whatever pops into his head. That was recently made obvious when Chris Mathews played him like a bonehead Todd Akin ventriliquists dummy on abortion, and when anybody asks the moron a national detailed national security question. Trump is the only rebub losing to Hillary now, by 11+, and the only one with higher negatives than her (I did not think anybody could get higher negatives than Hillary, but Trump has managed it). Trump now has 76% disapproval among women. If we nominate this sleazy moron we will get totally buried.

  16. Pingback: The Revolt Of The Public And The Rise Of Donald Trump | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  17. TBlakely says:

    When the political elite in both parties are contemptuous of most of the citizenry and seek to supplant them with immigrants legal or otherwise…. are you surprised that the citizens run amok? The thing I find surprising is how little violence there is, something I’m sure will change since our ‘betters’ remain clueless…. or maybe not clueless. Government bureaus that have nothing to do with law enforcement have been acquiring security forces and buying up ammo at dizzying rates. Perhaps they don’t trust the military to keep the peace if an open revolt happens?

    And it’s not just here, elites in western type democracies across the world are busy supplanting their citizens with immigrants…. this won’t end well for a number of reasons.

    • richard40 says:

      They were stupid enough not to listen to the orderly intelligent reform voices of the Tea Party and Cruz, now they are stuck with the trumpies, and God help us all. Although there is still some time left to stop Trump, go with Cruz, and return from the brink of destruction, into sanity…

  18. maidrya says:

    I believe I’m generally on board with your analysis. I don’t doubt the decay either of our political elites or of us run of the mill citizenry.

    But, I have one question regarding your statement that the “The Bush candidacy, in brief, was a dance of the dead, and the Republican Party, at the national level at least, stands revealed as a ruinous graveyard over which nearly anyone, fitting any description, can lay claim.”

    The thing is, the Republican party at state and local level has never been stronger. And, it controls both houses of Congress (albeit to the dissatisfaction of some Tea Partiers, so maybe they lose the Senate in 2016.) Given the number and quality of the GOP triple-A league, why is the major league performing so very, very poorly?

    I don’t want labels here. Fellow commenters, spare me your ‘smug elites’ and whatever insults you’ve got, okay? I already know about that. We all feel that way, we’re all dissatisfied, we’re all repudiating, as the fifth wave author has it. Labels and insults may be how you vent, but they don’t explain. The Republican party has quite a bit of talent and decent, competent office-holders, especially compared to, who, Hillary? Bernie? Those two dinosaurs? In any other election season, the Democratic party would stand utterly exposed for the bareness of their bench, the re-tread mediocrities that are running.

    Why isn’t the GOP more successful at exploiting their talent, promoting the talent to positions where it can be successful? Why isn’t the talent taking hold, in short?

    • Pilgrim's Pride says:

      “Why isn’t the GOP more successful at exploiting their talent, promoting the talent to positions where it can be successful? Why isn’t the talent taking hold, in short?”

      Why? Because the GOP is revealed to be a second-rate party that throws its own under the bus at the first sign of trouble. That holds is purported base in contempt. And because every single decent man that gets elected as a Republican loses his soul in the bargain.

      I’ve been involved in local GOP politics and DC “Conservative Inc” for ages. I’ve seen the literal backroom deals with (insert stereotypically Jewish name here) that determine candidacy or the political execution of the failed. I’ve seen the cynicism of elected politicians and their smug, arrogant courtiers of the think tanks. I’ve been one of the Beltway Bandits who get politically connected contracts for useless projects that line the pockets of “the donor class.”

      Is it any surprise decent man want nothing to do with this offensive spawn of Satan?

      Further, the political commentariat is so contempibly smug, so oozing with social climbing pretension — such as our author here — as to leave no doubt they are tending to deep psychological problems unrelated to the millions of American citizens carrying their water, doing their duty, suffering in silent nobility only to be insulted and belittled by hacks working for peanuts and reflected glory of the DC kleptocracy.

      I am eager to see Trump smash DC to a flattened rubble and press the bloated orbiters into pulp like so many grapes. Would it offend our noble author to know I am Ivy League educated myself, with a wall of advanced degrees and a work pedigree at least equal to any of the puppets the GOP tries to pass of on us? I despise the status quo in America, the land my ancestors sacrificed, bled and killed to bequeath me. I feel dirty just reading the headlines on Drudge or frankly looking at the pathetic samples of “our best and brightest” on any street in any city in the land. Pathetic. Sickening. Unrecognizable. And to you it’s incomprehensible because you’re part of it, the very fabric.

      Trump understands this. His appeal is that he is a man, an American man, with the same sensitivities and urges as any other American man. He is not an effeminate poser writing for obscure journals, trying to impress someone, anyone, in the king’s court.

      The difference is that Trump is so damned rich he doesn’t need any of you and there is almost nothing, short of assassination, you can do to stop him from avenging us.

      Get it through your head. Spare us the regurgitated grad school theorizing. Trump is Death. He is the Destroyer. And he’s come for what’s his.


      • richard40 says:

        Trump is a destroyer, i will grant you that much. He the vacuous sleazeball has pretty much destroyed the repub party, and his own chances to win along with it. In a year when repubs should have won easily, and with a Great Tea Party constitutionalist reform candidate with Cruz, Trumps paranoia and sleaze has so badly infected us that if the dems had intentionally hatched a plot to destroy the party with division from within, they could not have done better than to inflict the curse of Trump on us.

    • Haxo Angmark says:

      there is no such “talent”. An overlapping kaballah of Zionist/globalist billionaires – the Wall St. gang, the Laws Vegas mob, and the Hollywood crowd – owns “both” parties, making of it essentially a one-party State. About half of the Republiscam base – the Trumpaholics – have grok’d this, and are sliding toward White Nationalism. Since the chasm between the Judeo-globalist/open borders wing of the GOP and the implicit WN wing is – literally – existential, the Republiscam will schism and die at the ClevCon. Good riddance. Then, when Leviathan hits the debtberg, we will go to politics by…other means

      • Pilgrim's Pride says:

        Haxo I don’t know if it’s “White Nationalism” since much of our current woe is attributable to nominally White European peasants who came here, uninvited through Ellis Island, looking for streets paved with gold and have been bubbling with gratitude ever since.

        But it certainly is “American Nationalism” if American means the mainly Englishmen here on 4th July 1776, who put their money — and lives — where their mouths were. I am sick to death of the true hatred lobbed my way, unanswered and even enjoined by the Ellis Island contingent of the GOP. Notably, Kasich, Cruz, Christie, Rubio, ¡Yeb!, Ryan, Böhner, and a multitude of others have, more or less, highjacked the GOP into an imperial power that suits their instincts, bred to subservience as they are.

        In short, the situation is intolerable and threatens the lives of *my* kids. The blood of my fathers cries out for justice, their broken and mangled bodies mocked over “free trade” and police state paranoia where a republic once stood. We did not suffer the unimaginable losses of the War for Independence, entire branches of our family line destroyed in toto, so Paul Ryan can live out his “Irish king” fantasy.

        This ends, now, God willing.

      • richard40 says:

        No, if they Groked it they would be backing the Tea party and Cruz, instead of another crony capitalist dem bribing vacuous image over substance billionaire, who until this year was a prime part of the problem, not the solution

    • richard40 says:

      Good point, other than the prez, the repub party is actually very strong, far stronger than the dems. And even for prez we now have a great principled constitutionalist reformer with Cruz, or a very qualified moderate governor with Kasich. Our only problem is we went off into paranoia and idiocy with Trump, and may only now be puling back from that abyss. The really stupid part is despite constantly being billed as the only one who can unite the aprty and win, Trump has in fact divided the party as never before, and is the only repub with such dismal polls and huge dislikes that he can actually lose.

    • richard40 says:

      Some of it did, Cruz is still rising, even though for far too long repub leadership refused to listen to his tea party reform message.

  19. John Dallas says:

    It’s the economy, Stupid. Our government has created fictional unemployment numbers based on dropping people out who cannot find a job, fictional inflation numbers by rejiggering the basket of comparatives, and fictional health insurance coverage numbers with high deductible policies that pay little for the basic cost of healthcare. American workers compete for work with slave labor in communist countries, and those government owned companies are buy up ours. There is an old saying, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Trump is not a braggart. He is a confident, logical, intelligent, thoughtful, native New Yorker who tells the truth as best he knows it. Most American identify with him and find him a refreshing change from the conniving two faced Cruz and Clinton, and not a communist like Bernie. He will put the best people in positions of power, and fire them if they don’t perform.

    • richard40 says:

      So trump tells the truth as best he knows it, of course that truth changes 3 times every week, and is 180 off from 3 yrs ago, but then trump is fleixible, I guess his truth can be as well. But God help anybody else who ever changes a position on any issue, only Trump can do that. If Trump did not ahve double standards he would have noe at all. And his vaunted business record will not translate to gov, since it never has in the past, otherwise we would have Prez Forbes, Prez Bloomberg, or Prez Gates, all of whom had much better business records than Trump. Even Trumps supposed business success looks to be more marketing illusion than substance.

  20. I can’t speak for those on the left side of the aisle, why they’re so disgruntled at getting everything they’ve ever demanded, and more.

    But I feel I can speak to my personal experience here. Let me state that, from the beginning, my first choice was and is Senator Cruz, and he’s the fellow I voted for in the recent primary in my state.

    But that said, Trump was and is my second choice.

    And that’s because behind door number 3 is the GOP establishment. Whatever name he or she goes by, that’s the alternative, as of this second, to Cruz or Trump.

    Trump has not really earned the honor the voters are bestowing on him, but the GOP establishment has more than earned the middle finger the voters are bestowing on them.

    What else are we to do? If insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result, then voting for a GOP establishment candidate is insane. There are many analogies to our situation, but perhaps the most descriptive would be that the Democrats are Thelma and the Republicans are Louise. Both are in favor of driving our country over the cliff, particularly with runaway spending. The Democrats want to floor it and maybe the Republicans would like to approach the cliff at only half-throttle, but the Republican rank-and-file voters keep telling the GOP establishment, “We do NOT want to drive off the cliff!” The Republicans keep promising to do something about it, vowing to defund this and vote down that, but it couldn’t be clearer that they made promises they had no desire to keep.

    In fact, any discussion of Trump and the public’s anger that is not prefaced with a litany of the serial betrayals committed cynically by the Republican establishment is misleading — special pleading, if you will, on behalf of the GOP establishment. The voters are angry, but they have every right to be angry. The GOP claims to be the party of Lincoln, but the voters and I seem to agree that Benedict Arnold is the more appropriate figurehead. Trump would have never happened if the GOP had earned the trust of the people who put them in office. Since Reagan, I had often grumbled that, when we elect a Democrat we get liberal policy, and when we elect a Republican we get liberal policy, so who or what do we have to elect to get conservative policy?

    I’m sure George Washington was angrier at Benedict Arnold than he was at Lord Cornwallis — being betrayed is more painful that fighting a foe. Democrats are dangerous enemies, but having your own party cutting deals with them and leaving your most cherished principles in snips and scraps on the floor is more than many conservatives can handle. I, for one, know exactly how that feels.

    In previous election years, I wanted the GOP to realize that their job was to defend conservative principles like the ones they preach when they’re asking for my money and my vote, but again and again, they refused, and in fact began lecturing *us* on our lack of Christian charity.

    It’s too late now for reconciliation; now it’s time for a reckoning. The GOP establishment needs to go down, doobie doo down down. What follows may not be ideal. Perhaps it won’t be good at all. I don’t know. We’ll deal with that after we’ve dealt with the current crop of treacherous scumbags.

  21. A.B. Prosper says:

    The Republicans had Bush from 2001-2009 and still have a Republican House and Senate.

    They have essentially done nothing their constituencies wanted in around a decade or more and have basically conceded the entirety of the Left’s playbook save gun control at the Federal level where they have done a good job.

    Trump for all his flaws actually address the issues many average Republicans want dealt with and as such, he is in no way shape for form, a radical. He is a populist in the best sense of the word, the guy who remembers who he works for, the people.

    He is also the only candidate who if his polices were implemented could slow the inevitable US becoming Yugoslavia or Brazil our elite have implemented,

    I can’t see Cruz for example stopping any immigration or working to take action that could possibly increase US wages or doing really anything useful.

    And yes Trump could fail or betray.He probably will .That is still a win condition. The word our host uses nihilist isn’t the one I would but conceptually its close enough. A Trump betrayal or loss would simply prove to a measurable part of the electorate that there is no democratic solution.

    That isn’t a weak place to be but a powerful one since it shifts the Overton window faster to “they all have to go no matter what the cost.” as as the author above noted is becoming the default. Its a good thing in many ways as the elite are at best failing to provide at worse,actually hate the regular people. A lot of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s out there and while you can get away with that for a long time in a low tech mono racial monarchy, you have a much more narrow window in a modern Republic or Democracy with many divergent groups. And yes happily its been peaceful thus far but the US public isn’t buying AR-15’s and getting training and ammo to plink cans.

    Trump (or Sanders in some ways) gives us a peaceful redress, fail to allow them, Cruz maybe though I think he is a creature of Goldman Sachs , in any case if they or maybe if Cruz fails to carry that torch than basically the natural order of things will commence,

    To paraphrase Woody Allen “I’m Not afraid of a revolution or collapse I just don’t wan’t to be there when it happens.”

    • richard40 says:

      “I can’t see Cruz for example stopping any immigration or working to take action that could possibly increase US wages or doing really anything useful.”
      Why not. Cruz killed the gang of 8 while Trump was supporting it and bribing the gang of 8. Cruz killed Obamas gun grab, and earlier had wont the vital Heller Case, while Trump still supported the assault weapons ban, and doing reality shows. And Cruz was acomplishing all this while his own party leadership opposed him most of the time. Think how much better Cruz could do if he WAS the party leadership, as prez.

  22. Tucci78 says:

    “First, the public’s temper has moved much closer to nihilism than anyone not wholly deranged by conspiracy theories could have imagined.”

    Not to distract, but consider someone so self-deluded as to assume that people of malign intent and common purposes in such malignities do not cohere in their plans and actions to violate the individual, civil, and essential human rights of innocent others, up to and including connivance at assassination and the destruction of evidence after the fact.

    Yeah, them “conspiracy theories.” Ri-i-i-ght….

  23. If you begin to try to explain Trump by assuming that he’s (to use the author’s own words) “embarrassing,” an “objet trouvé” rather than a leader in his own right, an expression of “nihilism” and “conspiracy theories,” and the result of the “disintegration of the institutions of American democracy” it’s but a short step to stop thinking and began bleating.

    Is Trump really “ideologically formless?” His fans don’t seem to think so. His “supposed nationalism” is considered fake because he’s made money in China. Is nationalism now equated with the total rejection of foreign trade? He’s criticized for saying he’s “going to make America great again” calling it “… a wish, not a program.” The author appears not to associate his actual programs – better trade pacts, border control, re-building military strength, returning jobs to America, reducing foreign military commitments – with a program that his supporters associate with making America great again.

    And let us never, ever forget that the current American president won two terms on the overt slogan “Hope and change” and the covert implication that voting against him made you a racist. That, and “fundamentally changing America” is what the Left thinks is a political program.
    So having assumed that Trump is an illegitimate candidate for the presidency, we have to assume that his popularity the fault of the American people which “is engaged in a long migration away from the structures of representative democracy.”

    The author attributes part of the blame to the media which has focused on Trump, presumably to the exclusion of everyone else. It’s a nice theory, which the media, which is overwhelmingly Left of center, is happy to endorse. The only problem with this analysis is that most of the media coverage of Trump is negative. The media have characterized each of Trump’s policy pronouncements as the product of a deranged, boorish, stupid, racist, sexist, ranting totalitarian monster. His rallies have been covered as if he were the leader of the Brown Shirts busting heads in beer halls. University students have demanded that people who chalked his name on sidewalks be brought to justice. His supporters on campus have gone underground.

    If media exposure is the key to electoral success, Kim Kardashian would be the next president should she choose to run.

    Try this on for a theory. The bipartisan political class has failed the American people. Trump is saying the things the people want to hear. In a fit of republican re-emergence, American people are attempting to reassert their right to vote for their public officials rather than have them chosen for them by a group of insiders who believe they are the political and cultural elite. The insiders are so unhappy they are blaming the people for being uppity. This will not end well for the “elite” no matter who wins this year’s election.

    • richard40 says:

      Trumps fans think conservative treehouse is a real conservative web site, instead of the kind of paranoid fake conservative stuff Lyndon Larouche used to put out back in the 80’s. They think the national enquirer is a real paper, that printed a true stories. they think a trade ;policy that is identical to that of Bernie the Socialist is conservative.

  24. David Landro says:

    What I find interesting is that no one considers that none of this is real… Just a dancing puppet to keep the masses in check. Give ’em a taste of hope, that’ll placate them. Keep them from revolting if they think they are revolting… To truly revolt is to realize that the system, the organization of society today is no different than it was 800 years ago. Princes rule, Peasants scramble for crumbs. The dream that was ours; a Republic, was but that… just a whimsy, fantasy of control. Nothing will change because the same system that is sick and broken is still in place. One man, regardless of pedigree or gumption would be swallowed whole. Until the world rises up and throws off it’s masters, we are slaves, pawns to be played.

  25. Owen says:

    There is no “public.” There are multiple publics. Large portions of this country have no sense of fraternity with the other parts, and it’s very much a mutual sentiment. Increasingly, there is not even a common cultural backdrop such as spoken language to provide a tenuous thread of union. In 21st Century America, the only thing this population has in common is the dirt under its feet.

    It’s going to disintegrate just like so many artificial unions of the past, though probably not before it goes through a phase of increasingly desperate and forceful measures intended to prolong its existence. Those measures are likewise doomed to fail.

    High level prognostication: America’s population of European extraction will be far smaller than it once was, but it will also be far more explicit in its self-recognition, having been forced by circumstance to adopt the ethnic and racial awareness currently seen in other tribes inhabiting this expanse of dirt called America. Regression to the mean, and a continent to be conquered once again.

  26. richard40 says:

    The author diagnosed most of the basis of the trump phenomon very well, the trump celebrity, loud and nihilistic and conspiritorial, with anybody but trump being part of some horrible compiracy, but with TRump totally lacking in actual beliefs or solutions solutions of substance. He was also right in the total haplessness of Bush, then Rubio, as the party leaderships anointed to stop Trump.

    The only part the author totally missed was the role of the Tea Party and Cruz. The Tea Party were never the thoughtless nihlists the author put them down as along with the rest of those he listed. We were a thoughtful mix of the best of conservatism, libertarianism, constitutinalism, and a desire to reform corruption, orderly and intelligent. We did not join Trump in opposing immigration because we hated foreigners, but because we hated Obamas lawlessness, and the partisan dem desire to import new dem voters. We did not oppose Obama on ISIS and Muslim refugees, and watching mosques because we hated mulsims, but because we saw them as a legit security threat. We did not do riots, we did rallies where we always got our permit, and left things cleaner than when we arrived. We never wanted to destroy the repub party, we wanted to reform it. And what was our reward, the repub leadership constantly tried every means, fair and foul, to marginalize and defeat our candidates, everybody called us racist, sexist, Islamophobic, etc, while Obama sicced the IRS on us, and our speakers were suppressed at colleges long before they did the same to Trump. If we ever looked paranoid, it was because we had some real enemies, not the phantom ones Trump is constantly conjuring up. The lesson for DC here is they had a chance at orderly principled constitutional reform with the Tea Party, and did everything they could to destroy it, so should they be surprised if they now get stuck with the nihlistic nativist mindless drive for trump.

    Even now, while you were discussing the hapless GOP leadership attempts to resist Trump, and how there is no presence on the nets to resist him, you ignore the constant Tea Party presence on the nets now resisting Trump. The Tea Party (other than a very small 15% minority) never fell under Trumps spell, we backed Cruz, have constantly resisted Trump, and often defeated him, in many primaries. We also knew that Trumps establishment conspiricy business was total nonsense with us, because as I stated above the GOP leadership never supported us anyway. If Trump does not get a delegate majority, it will be mainly because of us. Even now, the only reason major repub leadership figures are finally backing Cruz vs Trump, is not because they want us, but because they have now realized the only way to stop trumps nihisism incompetance, sleaziness, and destruction, is with a positive, principled Tea Party reform message, through Cruz.

  27. Pingback: The revolt of the public and the rise of Donald Trump | The Wentworth Report

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  29. Bloke in Edinburgh says:

    I’d recommend the perceptive, (necessarily?) selective, funny and predictive Scott Adam’s on Trump as the “Master Persuader”

    Also, appropros of not quite nothing…. the fifth wave reminds me of a story I read over 30 years ago… “flash crowd” (Larry Niven, 1973, wherein teleport technology had all sorts of unfortunate effects, the physical version of a twitter storm I guess

  30. ramesusan says:

    My country – and its Constitution that was so precious to us for so long – died last night. America will never be great again. An uneducated, bigoted, prejudicial American people have shown their ignorance, their immorality, their dark heart to the world now – and it will, it has already – damned us forever. I could not imagine being more ashamed, more embarrassed, more disgusted with my country and her people than I am on this day. As a people we allowed ourselves to be taken down by evil in the form of a man – one man. As a people we allowed ourselves to take one moment in time to give way to that which is the most base and vile side of the human soul, and we set it free to express itself. The hatred and the rage of the “common” man had its 15 minutes last night, and now we had better be prepared to pay for it, and pay dearly for a very long time. God help us all for what we have done. We stood behind a man whose only specific intentions of what he intends to do “for us”; the only actual plan he has “for us”, is to round up the people of a specific religion – to be specific he told us who they are, and they are “all the Muslims”, and deport them, escort them out of “our” country; is to take every undocumented, dispossessed immigrant and deliver them back to Mexico while he is having a massive, actual, physical wall rapidly put up, for the first time in the history of our country and which has only ever been done before by a communist country – Berlin; is to refuse to dissociate with David Duke; is to degrade and openly put forward his disregard and lack of respect for women; is to manage and be in control of the media – specifically he will decide who gets hired, and who gets fired; is to be the single control over our military – remember his statements: “I know more about how to defend our country and what is going on with foreign powers than all of MY generals”; is to make fun openly and without restraint of the handicapped, the disabled, the seriously ill among us – because that is the very definition of a “bully”; is to invite the enemy in for coffee and doughnuts in the oval office – he is enamored with Putin – and today Putin has sent the invitation to Trump already – he can hardly wait. And now that we have actually stood up and voted in favor of that to govern us, how do we intend to maintain our Constitution as Trump continually stomps all over it; how do we, and who among us has the ability to be in control of reigning Trump in, to manage him while he tears us apart from the inside out, from the top to the bottom? How do they manage to do that now? We have the power, what may be our only power in the end – to impeach – any president who rules America has the obligation to hold the rights and the ways and means dictated by our Constitution and the mandate to defend her from ALL enemies, be they foreign or home-grown. But just exactly how do we set that into motion in a country governed by the very things Trump seeks to eliminate? Who among us has the ability to confront Trump, to meet the challenges of our country and to be governed by the rule of law – for each and every one of us Once again I pray – God, help us all now. America – wake the hell up and begin to act responsibly, Now more than ever before the American people have the obligation to hold Trumps feet to the fire and demand that first and foremost he honor and respect – and must swear to uphold the tenets and intents of our Constitution.

    But boy, didn’t Hillary Clinton make the most supporting speech of America. Clear, concise, with the dignity of someone who has come so far with what is best for America held tight in her heart. She deserves – and we should demand – the respect for which she is due. Clinton showed us all, and showed Trump something he cannot even understand – CLASS – TRUE, UNADULTERATED CLASS! And for that we should all say, “thank you Hillary”!

    • John Dallas says:

      So Hillary respects the Rule of Law with her Pay to Play bribery scheme and “my privacy trumps national security” email servers? Trump is the law and order candidate, with no lawless sanctuary cities, and violent criminal being deported. Supreme Court candidates who will respect individual’s rights embodied in the Second Amendment, and respect for the sanctity of life. Respect for domestic security by securing our borders and letting law enforcement do their jobs. If your country died last night, then move to another. My Country was reborn anew.

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