The Nine Lives of Donald Trump
From Victor Davis Hanson:
Seasoned Republican political handlers serially attack Donald Trump and his campaign as amateurish, incompetent, and incoherent. The media somehow outdid their propaganda work for Barack Obama and have signed on as unapologetic auxiliaries to the Hillary Clinton campaign — and openly brag that, in Trump’s case, the duty of a journalist is to be biased.
We have devolved to the point that a Harvard Law professor teases about unethically releasing his old confidential notes of his lawyer/client relationship with Trump.
Conservative columnists and analysts are so turned off by Trump that they resort to sophisticated metaphors to express their distaste — like “abortion,” “ape,” “bastard,” “bitch,” “cancer,” “caudillo,” “dog crap,” “filth,” “idiot,” “ignoramus,” and “moron.” Some of them variously talk of putting a bullet through his head given that he resembles, or is worse than, Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin.
Derangement Syndrome is a more apt clinical diagnosis for the Right’s hatred of Trump than it was for the Left’s loathing of Bush. Had such venom been directed at leftists or minorities, the commentators likely would have lost their venues.
Trump’s political obituary over the last 14 months has been rewritten about every three weeks. During the primaries, each time he won a state we were told that that victory was his last. Now, in the general-election campaign, his crude ego is supposedly driving the Republican ticket into oblivion.
The media have discovered that what gets Trump’s goat is not denouncing his coarseness, but lampooning his lack of cash and poor polling: broke and being a loser is supposedly far worse for Trump’s ego than being obnoxious and cruel. So far, he is behind in most of the polls most of the time.
But not so fast!
Mysteriously, each time he hits rock bottom, Trump — even before his recent “pivot” — begins a two-week chrysalis cycle of inching back in the polls to within 2 or 3 points of Clinton. Apparently Trump represents something well beyond Trump per se.
He appears to be a vessel of, rather than a catalyst for, popular furor at “elites” — not so much the rich, but the media/political/academic/celebrity global establishment that derides the ethos of the middle class as backward and regressive, mostly as a means for enjoying their own apartheid status and sense of exalted moral self, without guilt over their generational influence and privilege.
Given the surprise of Brexit and Trump’s unexpected dominance of the primaries, pollsters seem to fear that his populist support is underreported by 2 or 3 percentage points. Some voters who do not openly profess that they plan to vote for Trump might do just that in the privacy of the polling booth — even as they might later deny that fact to others.
His latest pivot may be too late, but it certainly hit the right notes by presenting his populist themes — unwise trade deals, defense cuts, inner-city violence, attacks against police, illegal immigration, the war on coal, big-government regulations, and boutique environmentalism — as symptomatic of elite neglect not just of the white working class but of minorities as well, upon whom liberal policy falls most heavily.
By curbing his personal invective and focusing on Obama’s incompetence and Clinton’s corruption, Trump may succeed in allowing 4 or 5 percent of the missing Republicans and independents to return and vote for him without incurring social disdain. The news cycle favors any outsider — certainly including Trump.
About every three weeks, terrorists butcher innocents in one or another Western country, usually screaming “Allahu Akbar” during their victims’ death throes. These terrorists have often been watched but otherwise left alone by intelligence agencies. Liberal pieties follow, along with warnings to the public about their prejudices, rather than admonitions to radical Islamists to stop their killing.
The ensuing public backlash does not mesh with the Obama–Clinton narrative that the killings were mere workplace violence, a generic form of “violent extremism,” or had “nothing to do with Islam.”
Like Jimmy Carter, with his infamous inability to frame the Iranian hostage crisis, so too the latest manifestation of Hillary Clinton is simply unable to identify the origin, nature, and extent of the terrorist threat — much less offer a solution.
When the president upgrades the ISIS threat from a jayvee classification to something analogous to a fall in the bathroom, the public is not reassured that his former secretary of state understands radical Islamic terrorism.
In the same vein, with 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S., almost daily we hear a news report of yet another illegal-alien felony, or a new sanctuary city, or an effort by the “undocumented” to get the vote out — none of which enhances open-borders Hillary.