Monday, November 07, 2016


Why did Donald Trump happen? Ben Shapiro is a right-winger who turned against Trump very early. Mediaite reports that Shapiro said this on the subject in late October, in a podcast interview:
The conservatives’ sin, and I’m part of this, and a lot of us in the conservative movement are part of this by acting as though every hill that was worthy of fighting on was also worthy of dying on, meaning it wasn’t just that everything is bad, it’s that everything is at the ultimate crisis point, and if we don’t stop it right now, the world ends. That leads to this kind of panic, OK, who’s the guy who is the most famous, has the biggest name recognition, is the angriest, will fight the hardest. That was a mistake. It’s possible to be urgent without being alarmist, and I think that we have to be careful about that in the future.
Yes, Shapiro is actually saying that Trump's rise is the fault of the voters who chose him and the political environment they dwell in. A radical idea, I know.

Well, it does seem radical, because so many people seem to believe that Trump is liberals' fault. As Republican operative Karol Markowicz wrote last summer, we liberals described past GOP nominees in such alarmist terms that GOP voters were simply desensitized in this election season:
Mitt Romney ... George W. Bush, John McCain, and any Republican who has the audacity to challenge a Democrat for the presidency are treated to ever more alarmist rhetoric. Every gaffe, every uncorroborated story is blown up by a media seemingly unaware of its extreme bias....

So in 2016 when there is a Republican candidate who might be, actually, dangerous, it’s unsurprising that many mainstream Republicans don’t care. It’s too late for the media to say “no, no, we really mean it this time.” Republican Never Trumpers, like myself, find that when we call Donald Trump scary or unfit, voters have heard it so often before -- and about people like mild-mannered, decent, knowledgeable Mitt Romney -- that it doesn’t resonate at all.
Markowicz's theory gained such wide currency that even Bill Maher seemed to be invoking it this past weekend on his TV show:
Maher admitted to being too harsh in criticizing Republican candidates before Trump, acknowledging that they wouldn't have been the "end of the world."

"I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy [George W.] Bush like he was the end of the world, and he wasn’t," he said. "And Mitt Romney we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars because I was so afraid of Mitt Romney."

Maher said neither Romney nor Sen. John McCain would have "changed my life that much" if they'd defeated President Obama.

"They were honorable men who we disagreed with and we should have kept it that way," he said. "So we cried wolf and that was wrong. But this is real. This is going to be way different."
But conservatives never believed any of our critiques of Romney, McCain, Bush, or any other past Republican. So why would our words have such an impact on the GOP's candidate choice this year? Does that make any sense?

Shapiro's theory is much more plausible. Conservatives listen to other conservatives. And what those other conservatives have been saying for years is that every moment is a crisis point, with the fate of civilization at stake, all because of Democrats who are so evil they need to be exterminated en masse. Say that often enough and, yes, maybe the only solution seems to be voting in the larger-the-life rageoholic extremist.

I don't agree with Ben Shapiro on much, but he's right: Conservatives work one another up to greater and greater levels of outrage, and come to believe that only radical remedies will save them. So this year they went for Trump. It was their own hyperbole that led them to that choice. It wasn't any hyperbole on our part.


Anonymous said...

Another thought: The silly conservative idea is that the left was too hard on perfectly decent standard Republicans, so that forced Republicans to nominate an ignorant clown far outside the mainstream.

Well, the right has been calling Obama an America-hating Muslim atheist socialist weakling fascist strongman terrorist for eight straight years, which led to Democrats nominating... about the most mainstream, obvious, standard, middle-of-the-road option you could imagine.

Not sure that tracks.

Parallax said...

I've lost respect for Bill Maher since he came out with bigoted views regarding Islam. He's quick and even incisive but there's no depth to his intelligence. His comments about Bush, McCain and Romney were ridiculously lame. W was a disaster. How many people died needlessly because of his blood lust. How many must live the rest of their lives in varying degrees of disability. I'm an attorney. I had a client some years back, a wonderful young man who had lost both legs and an arm. Why is opposing him crying wolf? Same for McCain and Romney. Both would have been disasters. It's not our fault Republicans have become ever more insane.

rclz said...


Tom said...

The observable facts seems to fully support "Conservatives work one another up to greater and greater levels of outrage, and come to believe that only radical remedies will save them."

That begs the question what what is the next step in their "intellectual" progress.

rclz said...

That begs the question what what is the next step in their "intellectual" progress.

Let's hope it's not a bell tower or a book depository

Philo Vaihinger said...

OK, Trump is a Buchananite blowhard channeling Mussolini and not a standard issue, Wall Street Republican.

And he is the most dangerous demagogue in America since George Wallace.

Sure, he is much more dangerous than standard issue Republicans, but that's mostly by being nuts in ways not characteristic of the standard issue.

But today's standard issue Republican is nuts, anyway, and wants to abolish everything done by political, economic, and social progressivism since the time of McKinley.

And just as progressives didn't force the GOP into ideological fealty to Grover Norquist, Jerry Falwell, and Wayne La Pierre, we didn't force Pat Buchanan and those who share his white sheet views to be, well, Pat Buchanan and those who share his white sheet views.

OK, the primary explanation for the takeover of the GOP by Trump and the Buchananites is Obama Derangement Syndrome.

But to say Obama and we who supported him are at fault for provoking the white nationalist uprising is to blame the target of racism for the hate directed at him.

Nope. Not buying it.

Jimbo said...

The "Party of Ideas" has, with very few exceptions promoted ideas that rely overwhelmingly on getting capitalism to provide public goods and services cheaper than the government can. This is a purely ideologically based and irrational platform. And it has been shown over many years to not work because capitalism is about profit maximization. Period. So, if you want capitalism to provide public goods and services, it's going to cost far more than government run systems if you maintain high standards or these businesses will be run as openly fraudulent, grifting schemes if not held to any standard or they will end up excluding all but the most affluent customers. So, since the GOP policies have manifestly not worked, they are left resorting to the politics of personal destruction, race-baiting and other divide and conquer schemes to stay in power. That's why Trump is their logical outcome. As for what next? There isn't a what next since America already has a Centrist Party at the national level (Democrats). Their only future is as a regional white supremacist party.

Feud Turgidson said...

What Parallax said, every single word.