Trump and Supporters Insult Our Intelligence

by C. Edmund Wright5/4/16

I am not #NeverTrump, but I’m getting close… thanks to Donald Trump and his supporters.

The fact is, Trump often makes profoundly stupid and manifestly false statements. These are the kind of statements that always offend the intellect of anyone who thinks analytically and is interested in the actual truth, regardless of who is saying them. If you are not offended by such, then by definition you simply have jettisoned any concern for truth and intelligence. That Trump runs afoul of both concepts is beyond debate.

Written words are the least emotional medium possible, so let’s remove the feeling of the mob rally or the sycophantic television interview and dispense with a few Trump pronouncements in the cold harsh reality of the written word.

No doubt some of Trump’s supporters will quickly retort that Trump is a billionaire, so there’s no way he could possibly say anything stupid about any topic. Or that it’s impossible that Trump would lie. Yet Trump can, and does, routinely lie. In the words of Victor David Hanson, for Trump “truth is simply a narrative whose veracity is established by the degree of power and persuasion behind it.”

Let me translate:  Trump repeats nonsense loudly and often. Moreover, he daily adds insults to anyone who opposes him, which is an odd strategy for someone wanting to “unite the party.” He’s doing everything now to make that impossible for anyone to do anytime soon. His apparent cliching of the nomination simply lends more urgancy to the matter.

But I digress. To the cold hard words, in perfect context, starting this week in Indiana.

“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up? They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it. I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.”

What is this, coming from a man who wants to be the most powerful in the world? Does Trump consider the National Enquirer to be the gazette of truth? Was Ted Cruz’s father at Area 51 too? It’s not even clear that Trump has any idea whose death he’s even rambling about. Serious people would be bothered by a candidate who is capable of saying this.WTF

How about the Mike Tyson endorsement: “So Cruz is now saying, ‘Oh, he (Mike Tyson) was a rapist. This guy is a real liar, that’s why we call him Lyin’ Ted Cruz. I mean, the greatest liar that ever lived except he gets caught every time.”

Trump may have no responsibility over embarrassing endorsers. But Tyson was in fact convicted of rape and served hard time for it.

On the Mike Pence endorsement of Cruz:

“(Pence) gave me more of an endorsement than he gave Cruz. He started off with ‘Donald Trump and what a great job he’s done.’ I mean look, his donors and special interests obviously made him give an endorsement.”

You see, because Pence was deferential and respectful of Trump, he was really endorsing Trump. You might say Pence was trying to “unite the party”.

Apparently, in these sad days AD (after Donald), only full-throated insults and childish taunts can be trusted. Pence — who has conservative credibility going back decades and not merely 20 minutes — is only saying nice things about Lyin’ Ted because of his donors. This is ridiculous on its face and rivals Trump’s comments in Iowa about anyone who opposes ethanol being “in the pocket of big oil.” Both comments are a window into the shallow soul of Trump and the shallow minds of anyone who accepts either premise.

Speaking of shallow, here is Trump with fellow New York liberal Chris Cuomo:

“The bosses are trying to run it. It’s a rigged party. The bosses want to pick whoever they want to pick. The voters wouldn’t stand for it.”

This was a continuation of Trump’s talking points over the last six weeks. Everything without exception is “rigged”. This contention, geared to the mentally uncurious and emotionally supercharged, simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but of course this only affects those who are capable of scrutiny.

For one thing, Trump has benefitted from the perpetual rigging of the system for whoever the frontrunner is. Trump’s percentage of the delegates remains much higher than his percentage of the raw vote, making this whole argument moot and nuking his “voters” argument. He won 100% of South Carolina’s delegates while winning less than one in three voters. So Donnie, what is it the voters won’t stand for? (In truth, we can assume we’ve heard the last of this after Indiana.)

Moreover, the system is exactly what’s it’s been for a long time. You would think someone who always picks a great team and surrounds himself with the best people might have read the rules.

But the most offensive concept is that of “party bosses”.

John Boehner, Trump’s tweeting and golfing buddy, is a “party boss”. Mitch McConnell, whom Trump supported in his most recent primary against a conservative outsider is the consummate “party boss”. Lobbyist and Trump convention manager Paul Manafort is an insider party boss. Trump buddy Chuck Schumer is a party boss, albeit from the other party Trump often belongs to. Ditto Hillary Clinton. It’s Donald’s rolodex (smart phone contacts) that are filled with party bosses.

The same party bosses who loathe Ted Cruz.

Farmers and teachers and tea party activists from rural Wyoming or Colorado who go to a caucus and become delegates are not party bosses. Even local elected officials are not party bosses. No, the real party bosses are quite often Donald’s buddies and beneficiaries. He has to know this, but he has been counting on one thing: that his supporters are not smart enough to figure it out.

Which is the story of his campaign. Words mean things, according to a long-time famous radio host. Trump’s words belie the idea that he’s a wise choice for nominee. The buyers’ remorse that is coming will not be owned by those of us who sounded the warning bells.

CEdmundWrightC. Edmund Wright is contributor to StubbornThings, American Thinker, Breitbart, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. • (904 views)

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25 Responses to Trump and Supporters Insult Our Intelligence

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    What good can come from having an indecent, dishonest person as president? That goes for Hillary as well. What’s a conservative to do?

    Well, I won’t be voting for Trump. The Trumbots are a deranged lot. They remind me of Leftist activists or those who lounge at Occupy Wall Street rallies and mix their body odor with their insane chants. Read the comments to C. Edmund’s article at American Thinker. This is a ghastly lot, and I certainly can’t throw in with them.

    So now that Senator Elmer Gantry has turned tail and ran, is Wright suggesting we support Kasich, Shrillary or Bernie? I presume that Cruz wants to save his campaign money to try to salvage what’s left of his Senate career. Expect much bitterness from his supporters in the coming days.

    The above comment had, at this writing, 86 up-votes.

    Maybe our own Mr. Lancaster can inform us about the benefits of whoever is running as the Libertarian candidate. At this point, that candidate can’t be any screwier than Trump.

    Something hasn’t been unleashed by Trump’s candidacy. But it has been revealed. And it’s not just anger over the Establishment Republicans. Such anger does not justify the deranged Cruzifying of Trump’s opposition. There’s every reason to believe that Donald Trump is not mentally fit for the highest office in the land. Hillary probably is, unfortunately she is arguably (and it may be a tough argument to make these days) a bigger liar than Trump.

    What we are seeing is an immature American people, at least those who openly support Trump online. I think in this case you can judge a person by those who support him. And the Trumpbots are as scary and deranged as anything I’ve seen from Code Pink.

    So vote as you will. But it’s hard to make a pro-Trump argument. We see the moral and intellectual seeds of conservatism blowing off in the wind as people try to make peace with this derangement (including Thomas Lifson). Could a serious man write this?

    Trump is the chosen vehicle of the rebellion against a system that has failed us. If he is as smart as I think he is (and look at all the really smart people he has outsmarted), he will rise to the incredible challenges ahead for a reform presidency and a reformed GOP.

    This is willful blindness at its utmost. “Smartness” is now defined as successfully lying and demagoguing your way to the top. And such a person is somehow magically supposed to fix the problem with the RINOs who have been doing much the same over the years. Good luck with that.

    A more honest answer to Trump was given by a commenter at the bilge-bottom of David French’s article

    None of us care if Trump even does A SINGLE GODDAMN THING that he promises. This is about vengeance and hatred. We will laugh as we watch you die.

    And I can’t wait. Watching the Neocon Establishment, with it’s pointless wars, disgusting consumerism, and constant refusal to actually fight the left wither and fade away will be the ultimate justice.

    This is what you have aligned yourselves with, Trump supporters. Have fun practicing your rationalizations. You’re going to need to.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      That last comment to French’s article is representative of many many online Trumpkins. It demonstrates what I mean when I say they have a Kamikaze and somewhat nihilistic mentality. They don’t want to build anything, they simply wish to destroy.

      Like putting a pistol to one’s temple in order to shoot the guy sitting next to you.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Hey, I’m for blowing up (figuratively) the GOP as well. But then it comes down to what we replace it with. Well, the deranged Trump supporters have decided that nihilism itself is the replacement. Just blow it up. But no conservative throws darts at the dartboard with the only standard being that he hits something (the wall, Aunt Martha sitting in an armchair, whatever).

        I was just listening to part of Trump’s victory speech and as Dennis Prager also noted, it was all about him. This man is sickening to listen to. To me the downside of Trump is so obvious that the only explanation for people voting for him is their own emotional fragility or neediness.

        Have we really turned into a silly country where it’s all about me, me, me 24/7? I guess so.


          I understand how you feel, Brad, and I’m certainly rather pessimistic about the future generally. But when I view what’s happened this year, disappointed as I am for many reasons that Ted Cruz will not be the Republican nominee, I am not without hope because

          1) Trump was actually the second-best man in the field once Jindal and Walker were out. In a sense, all that’s happened is that the first and second-best men have been interchanged. I actually would have been far more discouraged had Jeb! or John Kasich gotten the nod. The fact that Trump is viewed, rightly or wrongly, as an outsider, is also good news for it indicates that the Establishment’s grip on the Party is slipping and that we may well succeed in nominating a true Conservative in 2020.

          2) The Republican Party was never going to be unified this year no matter who was nominated, so the odds were always against us winning in November.

          3) Trump will not remake the GOP into his own image. In the end, either Conservatives or the Establishment are going to wind up in control of it.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            1) Seriously, after all the goofball things Trump has said, I’d place him a fair distance behind Jeb Bush. The man is a bit self-absorbed, clueless about America, and Progressive/Big Government all the way. He’s Jeb Bush without the mental stability

            2) Parties look for unity. American ought to be looking for a principled, intelligent, conservative leader. It is then part of his or her job to unify us….and under good principles.

            3) No one really knows what this means for America, let alone the GOP, to come down to a choice between Hillary and Trump. But it resembles someone sticking their lips around an exhaust pipe.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, it worked for Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles — in a scene that would have to be reworked today.

        Incidentally, when Trump’s speech came up last night as I was watching the coverage, I switched over to Fox Sports Ohio to watch a portion of the Reds game.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Believe it or not, I have never seen “Blazing Saddles”, although I do recall having seen some outtakes somewhere.

          A Red’s game is certainly better than watching a Trump speech. But that is damning the Reds with faint praise as watching the test pattern of a TV station, which has signed off for the night, is better than watching Trump.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            In the scene in question, Little (having been appointed sheriff of a town whose white citizens definitely don’t want him) puts a pistol to his head and calls out, “One more move and the nigger gets it.” Then he affects a black woman’s terrified voice. It works (which causes him to note –privately — how dumb they are to fall for such a trick), and he ends up saving the town as sheriff.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    VDH has a good observation about the Trump phenomenon:

    Tomorrow Trump could declare there to be 57 states, or address vets as Corpse-men or tell his legions to bring a gun to a knife fight — and none of his supporters would find him clueless, half-educated, or incendiary. If Trump brought one of his wheeler-dealer Manhattan real-estate cronies to a rally and the man’s court-ordered ankle bracelet went off, no one would bat an eye. In other words, Trump is a postmodern creation, for whom traditional and time-tested rules do not apply. He is neither brilliant nor unhinged, neither ecumenical nor just a polarizer, not a wrecker and not a savior of the Republican party, but something else altogether. He does not defy conventional wisdom. There simply is no convention and no wisdom applicable to Donald J. Trump. For years postmodernists have lectured us that there is no truth, no absolutes, no timeless protocols worthy of reverence; Trump is their Nemesis, who reifies their theories that truth is simply a narrative whose veracity is established by the degree of power and persuasion behind it.

    This is also related to what Dennis Prager says about “feelings” having taken over instead of standards. That no-sense (nonsense) follows Trump wherever he goes shows us that reason and rationality are not for sale in this election. It’s a matter of “feelings.” And those feelings are resentment, anger, revenge, and a whole host of negative things.

    In essence (and we see this thoroughly in Trump’s supporters), Trump is playing to the darker sides of our nature, despite the gloss of “Make America Great Again.” That is just a nice way to disguise the real motivations.

    And, yes, there are things to be angry about. But, again, to get into this kind of discussion is not what Trump is about. It’s about the self-satisfying pleasure of being angry at something. And Trump, like some kind of Santa Claus of emotion, will verify and sanctify your own emotional indulgence.

    Where VDH may be two clever by half is when he writes:

    A reality-TV star, Trump appeals to those who despise reality-TV celebs like the Kardashians. A billionaire, he is the hero of those who hate billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett. A vain narcissist, he earns the loyalty of those who are repelled by the vain narcissism of Barack Obama. A man who dyes and does his hair, tans his skin, and stretches his face, he appeals to those who have neither the money nor the desire to do the same.

    Perhaps he is being too polite. The problem is a generation or two of “conservatives” who have been raised on this bilge. They have been dumbed-down like the rest of the culture. The un-reality of “reality” TV has infected the masses. And it’s strange that VDH misses this for he is the one who pointed out the postmodernist, “everyone has their own reality or narrative that is just as legitimate” aspect of modern American culture.

    Oh well. We do analysis here for free. It’s a hobby. Here’s an interesting paragraph by VDH that explains a lot:

    If the rules of politics do not apply to Trump, how then can Trump break them? For Donald Trump, there is only one third rail: conventionality. If he, as advised, were to stop calling his rivals liars and crooks; if he, as urged, were to read sober and judicious speeches off teleprompters; if he, as counseled, were to talk in politically correct platitudes, Trump would turn doctrinaire and conformist — and be undone by reviving the very orthodox rules he once strangled, but that otherwise strangle outsider-insiders like himself. If Trump were to listen to a politico and lose 30 pounds, shorten his tie, cut off his comb-over, and wear earth-tone clothes, he would be finished.

    In essence, Republican voters have become ideological anarchists. They have become like the Left. Don’t bother telling me who you’re fighting against. Just assure me that you’re fighting.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I read the Hanson article last night, and it was certainly very interesting. I can see what you mean by there being no pro-Trump argument. There’s the anti-Hillary argument, which may be enough depending on the alternatives. (And even that is affected by the fact that Kentucky is unlikely to be a swing state, so my vote will hardly matter anyway.)

      I took a test of my views vs. the candidates yesterday, and it found a 93% congruence with Cruz (big surprise). Trump was at 85%, which assumes he means what he says. Kasich was in the upper 70s, and the various Libertarians ranged from the mid-70s (I think Gary Johnson was actually the lowest) to 88%. Clinton and Sanders were down around 30%, just above Jill Stein (Green).

      Cruz apparently responded to the smear of his father by doing some photo-shopped pictures placing his father (e.g.) in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square. Last night’s results were very regrettable. In the end, the nomination was decided in the northeastern states — Trump’s great sweep there (though not that matter better than expected) probably finally created a bandwagon for him that enabled him to sweep Indiana almost as well. (But it should be noted that he was ahead in most polls there for months.) Even the Tyson business may have helped him — Tyson no doubt has fans who were encouraged to vote for The (Mafia) Don, whereas few probably voted against him because of it.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Dennis Prager give a rundown on the degeneration of American culture in Dark Time in America.

    The arts are as fraudulent as academia. Artistic standards have been destroyed. In music, art, and architecture, nonsense and ugliness have replaced the pursuit of meaning, edification, and beauty. The scatological has replaced the noble.

    And now there’s Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Nothing more clearly exemplifies the dark time in which we are living than this political version of a tragic Sophie’s choice. I will not end on a happy note, because there isn’t one.

    But neither do I despair. One doesn’t fight only when one is optimistic. One fights because it is the right thing to do and because America remains, as Lincoln said, “the last best hope of earth.”

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      The arts are as fraudulent as academia. Artistic standards have been destroyed. In music, art, and architecture, nonsense and ugliness have replaced the pursuit of meaning, edification, and beauty. The scatological has replaced the noble.

      Again, we no longer pursue excellence. Do not doubt that this is part of the Left’s satanic plan. Without excellence, there are no standards. Without standards there are no universal goals. Without excellence, no-talent boors can pretend that what they have to say about anything is as valuable and important as what a true artist who has technical as well as spiritual talent produces.

      This rot has permeated our society. We are the Guitar Hero generation.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    An interesting thought from culture-warrior caver Jonah Goldberg:

    But let’s go back to the claim that Trump will win in the general election by flipping blue states in a populist tsunami. If that analysis is even remotely plausible, why should #NeverTrumpers matter? Indeed, if you take Trumpian rhetoric from his talk-radio and other cheerleaders seriously, the anti-Trump forces are a negligible bunch of eggheads, pinheads, and finger-sniffing shut-ins completely disconnected from the authentic and volcanically powerful volksgemeinschaft. If Trump has any chance of flipping New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, we shouldn’t matter at all. And yet, according to the increasingly shrill and whining bleats from his supporters, we will be to blame if he doesn’t win. Well which is it? Is this a revolutionary populist movement that will sweep aside ink knights like me or not?

    I think several things are going on here. I think some pro-Trump forces actually realize that their guy will lose no matter what. Rather than face the fact that blame for Trump’s likely inevitable loss will rest entirely with Trump and his followers, they want to preserve the claim that Trump was “stabbed in the back.” Tactically, this isn’t dumb. The consolation prize for the Trump movement is to complete the hostile takeover of the GOP the way conservatives did after Goldwater’s loss in 1964. Psychologically, it also makes sense. No one ever wants to look squarely into the abyss of their own failure. But empirically, this argument is inane. If or when Trump loses it will be because of Trump’s own myriad and manifest shortcomings. Blaming us for honestly pointing out that those shortcomings are as short as the digits of Trump’s puppy-fur gloves may be cathartic, but it won’t be honest or accurate.

    And look at the sheer derangement of much of the “conservative” media. I’ve always been a bit standoffish regarding Breitbart. And I think I’m justified considering this info from Ian Tuttle’s article:

    But on Wednesday morning, Trump fans had pitchforks poised. Early in the day, Breitbart editor John Nolte, the Walter Duranty of pro-Trump propagandists, tweeted: “If Trump loses to Hillary . . . I will forever blame #NeverTrump,” referring to the movement of conservatives who have said they will not vote for Donald Trump in a general election under any circumstances.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s an interesting thought from Ross Douthat:

    Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all, and that the less frequently evangelicals go to church, the more likely they are to vote for a philandering sybarite instead of a pastor’s son. Cruz would probably be on his way to the Republican nomination if he had simply carried the Deep South. But unless voters were in church every Sunday, Trump’s identity politics had more appeal than Cruz’s theological-political correctness.

    Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control. That goes for the prominent politicians who refused to endorse Cruz, the prominent donors who sat on their hands once the field narrowed and all the moderate-Republican voters in blue states who turned out to be #NeverCruz first and #NeverTrump less so or even not at all.

    Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part. From Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour to talk radio to the ranks of lesser pundits, a long list of people who should have been all-in for Cruz on ideological grounds either flirted with Trump, affected neutrality or threw down their cloaks for the Donald to stomp over to the nomination. Cruz thought he would have a movement behind him, but part of that movement was actually a racket, and Trumpistas were simply better marks.

    I quite agree. I’ve seen the ideological threadbare core of conservatism for some time. That’s why I never forget (like an angry ex-wife) that Jonah Goldberg caved on the homosexual marriage issue. The rot is deep. What did we expect? People have typically put what intellectual energy they have left into deceiving themselves and others. I can’t exactly explain why they’ve supported so many RINOs over the years and told anyone (such as myself) that I was a “purist” for demanding a conservative candidate. But now these legions of voters have moved to the next RINO: Trump.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a good article by Paul Kengor:

    Americans in 2016 resolved their next president not on November 8, the official date-to-come of the election, but on May 3 in the state of Indiana. It is Hillary Rodham Clinton. With Donald Trump winning Indiana, and Ted Cruz thereby suspending his campaign, the seal has been broken.

    For conservatives, Armageddon is fully upon us: a Hillary Clinton presidency, once seemingly impossible when a half-dozen to a dozen attractive Republicans could have defeated her, is a fait accompli courtesy of Trump and his supporters. An unwaveringly devoted sect of followers have pushed a crass, vulgar, uninformed, unstable TV celebrity/casino-mogul/cult-of-personality figure through the Republican primary process, a man unequivocally unsuited in temperament, character, grace, and knowledge for the presidency of the United States.

    Marco Rubio put it best when he described Donald Trump as a charlatan and con man who must not be allowed to hijack the conservative movement and the party of Lincoln and Reagan. Well, fear not a permanent hijacking, because Trump’s leadership of the GOP will last only until November, after which he will slink back to New York, and Hillary Clinton will slide into the White House. He can’t win because the vast majority of Americans (outside the tight sect of Trumpists) are repulsed by the man.

    A friend of mine emailed me yesterday. He is a lifelong Democrat who, like many Democrats I know, was planning on voting Republican in this election because he despises Hillary Clinton. He liked Cruz and Rubio. He would’ve supported almost any of the original 17 Republican candidates, except Trump. Now, he is so appalled at Republicans that he can hardly contain his anger. His email contains some very strong language. At the risk of offending some of you, I include it only because it’s symptomatic of what I’m hearing from Democrats: “I am stunned that supposedly educated people fool themselves into thinking this guy has any intention of implementing any of the bulls–t that he spews out. Trump has no ideology other than himself……I mean Je–s Chr–t Paul……what the f*** is happening!!!????”

    This friend is highly educated — graduate studies in military history from a great European university (University of Leeds). He was excited about voting Republican in 2016. Now, he thinks Republicans are at minimum stupid and at worst borderline fascists. He wants no part of a political party that would nominate Donald Trump for president.

    This is the perception/brand damage that Trump is creating for the GOP and conservative movement. It will hurt the GOP for a long time. As for the conservative movement, the damage is less so because Trump is so obviously not a conservative, and thus cannot lead an ideological movement he does not understand.

    Here’s another good part:

    And yet, Trump has said one thing — yes, one — that has been spot-on. He boasts of having attracted entirely new voters to the GOP. He has indeed. Only a tiny sliver of Republican voters who I have met and known and seen at conferences have told me they like or intend to vote for Trump. Where are his supporters coming from? Many are indeed entirely new — and not traditional conservatives.

    I know this because I have been hearing from them daily for months. One of them responded to an article I wrote against Trump at American Thinker. Her response: “OMG, who is this guy Kengor! What an establishment RINO! What has happened to American Thinker! It has become a liberal rag!” This protest came because I criticized Donald Trump’s outrageously un-conservative statement about his marriage to Melania, which he sat flatly would soon end. As is typical of a Trump supporter, the woman refused to even countenance the criticism of Trump, instead blasting me as a phony conservative.

    In response, one of the readers informed the woman that I had written for American Thinker for nearly 10 years, probably close to 100 times, and was a known and well-established conservative who had written (among other things) a book on Obama’s communist mentor. Her response? “I’ve never heard of him!”
    Of course she hadn’t. She is a Trump voter who considers herself a (new) “conservative.”

    I’ll leave it to the braintrust here to precisely and dispassionately analyze what the Trump movement actually is. But I’d argue that it more resembles a bleed-over from Occupy Wall Street than it does a principled conservative insurgence.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      A large percentage of them appear to be low information voters who were too stupid or lazy to get involved with the political system until it is just about too late.

      They are like idiots who drove by a leaking dike daily, but chose not to do anything about it until the leak became a torrent which has now flooded their basements.

      I have no sympathy for them and they deserve everything coming to them. Unfortunately, I don’t.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        That’s the problem of the celebrity presidency. It leads to people who win because they’re famous, never mind why or what their qualifications (if any) are. Part of the problem is also the sheer number of open primaries, usually in states (such as Indiana) that have no partisan registration.

        Voters like that remind me of Steve Shadegg’s argument that most independent voters are actually Indifferents. They’re the least knowledgeable and least engaged, and unsure they’ll even bother to vote (and it would be better if they didn’t). Obama swept them in 2012 (this is why Time made him Man of the Year), and Trump carried them this year.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That’s the problem of the celebrity presidency. It leads to people who win because they’re famous, never mind why or what their qualifications (if any) are.

          I think the bleeding over of celebrity culture into politics (a nice way of saying “vulgar, shallow, low-information voters who lack seriousness”) is part of the explanation for Trump, as is the decades-long duplicity of the Republican Establishment.

          But I think the real lesson of Trump is that of the ubiquity of Big Government and the mindset that propels it. Trump supporters don’t want Big Government torn down. They may want Hillary torn down, the GOP (and/or GOP Establishment) torn down, conservatives torn down, or anyone who doesn’t support Trump torn down. But they do not want one brick of Big Government dismantled.

          What they want is Big Government in their hands and steered by their laundry list of grievances. These are not principled conservatives who believe in limited government, checks-and-balances, etc. Conservatism is in direct opposition to Trumpism. And that so many “conservatives” have self-deluded themselves otherwise is neither here nor there, but it does help explain how we got the Boehners and McConnells in the first place. Big Government is only wrong when the other guys have it (or when the GOP has it and does nothing with it).

          Trump voters are emotionally and intellectually of the Left-oriented “activist” mindset wherein they’re not too particular about what is done just so that something is done to soothe their sense of grievance and dissatisfaction.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        A large percentage of them appear to be low information voters who were too stupid or lazy to get involved with the political system until it is just about too late.

        I agree with Barbie that “Math is hard.” So is politics. So is political theory. So is trying to discriminate between the oily politician and the only partially-oily one.

        Again, my personal revelation about Trump is that his ascendency is about payback, not concrete results. If you really are appalled over the costs of Obamacare then vote for someone who has actually tried to do something about it (Cruz) instead of supporting someone who supports the idea of socialized medicine (Trump).

        Again, several months ago I was with some of you. I was angry too. And that meant that, for the moment, all bets were off. I’d take a serious look at Trump. But the more I saw, the less of a solution he appeared to be and the more he looked like just another RINO. Does anyone remember what that acronym means? Republican In Name Only.

        That’s Donald Trump. And if you think a big-government-style liberal can fix what big-government-style liberals have messed up then you are not being rational. You are just being like a child: tempestuous.

        Yes, I am a concerned as anyone with the rigged game in Washington DC…include the charlatans such as Trump who declare in loud rhetoric for all to hear about the “rigged game” but who are just a part of that game. Goodness gracious, people, didn’t Paul Ryan, little Johnny Boehner, or any of these other RINOs teach you anything?

        So on the one hand, I do agree to some extent that we need to throw a monkey wrench into the works. But that monkey wrench is conservatism. The wolfsbane to Progressivism isn’t another big-government liberal. It’s a constitutional conservatism. And the ignorant and petulant GOP voters have rejected the constitutional conservative and gone with the big-government liberal.

        So I’m left to conclude that it’s not government that they think needs repairing. It’s their own damaged sensibilities that they think need attention. They are aggrieved (and to some extent, rightfully so). But they have proved themselves spoiled children when they care not where their grievance takes them or what it attaches to.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This article is as good as any regarding the blank-slate, Obama-like vessel that naive people are using Trump for:

    Namely, that 2016 is a contest to see who can most effectively undo the 16 years of misrule following 2000 and replicate the politics that produced the perceived golden age of the 1990s.

    Indeed, given the presence of Hillary Clinton atop the Democratic ticket, one of the tasks of Trump’s GOP will be to successfully waft the stench of scandal and criminality that surrounds Hillary into the faces of a new generation.

    But that will not be enough: Trump will also have to dismantle the image of the ostensibly fiscally conservative and socially moderate Bill Clinton as the Democrats’ most unimpeachable standard bearer. What’s more, he will need to do this while also reassuring the country that this is not the GOP that gave it the least popular Republican President since Nixon, George W. Bush. And to complicate this already difficult task further, Trump will have to find a way to disown Bush that also prevents conservatives from recoiling.

    Tall order? You bet. Or at least, it would be, if Trump didn’t have the option of picking a Vice President who could accomplish all these goals just by lending his name to the ticket. I speak of the man who almost singlehandedly wrestled Bill Clinton into governing like a Reaganite, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    And it’s not that I’m against Newt as VP. It’s this bizarre idea by Holt that a liberal establishment figure like Trump is going to “undo 16 years of misrule.”

    I think I generally understand the impulse here and why conservatism is demonized and marginalized by Trump supporters (and why RINOs and the Establishment will easily align with Trump…and have in the past). It’s because this “payback” election isn’t about changing the direction of the country. It’s about taking the massive reins of Big Government and supposedly now using it against “them other guys.” It’s those “other guys” turn to feel the stick.

    Unfortunately, that also includes decent and principled conservatives who think this stick should generally be made smaller if not taken out of the hands of government altogether.

    Idiot Trump voters have no idea who and what they are supporting. And if they do, shame on them. Call yourselves a “New Progressive” or whatever. But don’t pretend to be Republican and certainly don’t pretend to be conservative.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Well, Ann Coulter was at work today cheering the Trump victory, and arguing that he probably does mean what he says, at least on immigration. She admitted that she’s been lied to so often that she really trusts no one; she simply thinks Trump is likelier to do what he says than the alternatives. I can understand that, but it doesn’t explain why she turned so viciously negative on Cruz (whom she had praised previously) and in the end brushed out Trump’s many vile smears of Cruz’s family as well as his casual attitude toward political violence.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There’s a leadership and party thing going on here. Hell, even Bobby Jindal (somewhat grudgingly, I guess) endorsed Trump. If Adolph Hitler gained the GOP nomination, most party hacks (and the chattering commentariat) would get behind him. After all, at the end of the day, it is “my team” — or at least a team you want to have positive access to first and then see how it goes.

        No doubt we’ll see a gushing speech from Cruz about how we all need to put aside our differences (and the Constitution, and our good sense) and support Trump. That’s just how it works. At the end of the day, very few people from the chattering class — whether in office or on the periphery — will bleed for a principle. These guys are politicians. And every profession has its rules and we forget them at our own peril. If you think that your prostitute really loves you, then go ahead and enjoy the illusion inside your head, but don’t take it to the point where you run up a hard test against reality. She doesn’t. And as swell of a guy as Ted Cruz appears to be, his profession is politics. Don’t be surprised by anything.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    “I have to preach to the choir because the choir has forgotten the melody. Conservatives have forgotten the melody” — Dennis Prager

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all, and that the less frequently evangelicals go to church, the more likely they are to vote for a philandering sybarite instead of a pastor’s son. Cruz would probably be on his way to the Republican nomination if he had simply carried the Deep South. But unless voters were in church every Sunday, Trump’s identity politics had more appeal than Cruz’s theological-political correctness.

    That’s such a great statement from Ross Douthat that I had to post it again. Anyone who has ever been thumped over the head with the Bible (and who is not merely a pants-wetting angry atheist) ought to gain some comfort from this fact. The idea of God is difficult. Do not feel bad for doubting or even demanding more coherence and evidence than just the regular thumping.

    And if you’re a bible-believer you now understand why “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way.” Adherence to the belief in a benevolent, lawful Creator is not about sanctifying one’s every little gripe, grievance, and petty squabble. Narcissism wrapped up as “God” is still narcissism. Self-love with a lot of “Hallelujah, Jesus” is still self-love. A therapeutic, materialistic outlook on life (with the centrality of “feel-goodism”) is still a therapeutic, materialistic outlook on life even if you’ve memorized a thousand Bible verses.

    Real conservatives understand that ideas predate words and that the disingenuous and manipulative will often use words to bamboozle others when they have no intention of holding to the same meaning. This ruse is very easily overcome if we just get back to the central ideas. This then makes words but a convention. As long as we understand the underlying idea, a rose indeed smells as sweat by any other name.

    But without this familiarity with the underlying idea, we are carried hither and thither by mere words. And these words are often being dishonestly used by others to manipulate us and/or we travel merely at the level of words (uncaring or unwilling about getting to the ideas underneath) and are thus lost in this fuzzy and murky area where things are only as real as the unexamined names that we give them.

    “Jesus” or “God” can become mere words, as can “conservative.” And they have. I agree completely with Douthat who said (in so many words) that the true religiosity of the Southern bible belt is now all but an illusion. And for some time now I’ve noticed that “conservative” is but a mere affectation for most people, if only because they’ve heard that “liberal” is a bad thing and don’t want to be associated with those guys.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Michael Medved was saying nice things about Gary Johnson for President. He even went so far as backing away from his usual “loosertarian” label. He didn’t endorse him. But with Trump and Hillary as the choices, reasonable people have to look at their options.

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