Unlike the Journal of American Greatness (JAG) we pay some attention to the “horserace” here because politics is about principles, and practical things. What is said in a campaign reflects on the person and is undergirded by some principle. Strauss wrote that change implies change to something better, and the change to something better implies a knowledge of the Good.
There are two characteristics of the American political system worthy of note: there is the electoral coalition, and the governing coalition. In many respects, these are two different things. So, we begin this post with a note on the the electoral race, and then in part 2 we will speak to a few objections (and some expansions of argument) we have with JAG on tyranny, Caesar, and Rome.
Morning Joe made a pivot Monday to backing Clinton in an effort to tear down Trump to give him “advice” that if he does not repudiate all of his positions taken in the primary, he will lose to Clinton in November. Joe Scarborough went so far as to say he only has a small window to do this before it’s “over.” In one particular exchange, Morning Joe reported that Trump’s attack on Clinton’s Women’s Card was a mistake. Mika then argued that Trump was losing the debate because “Clinton took the high ground.” That’s contrary to the entire election on the Democrat side where Sanders look the high road, Clinton took the low road (as she always does), and Sanders lost. Clinton refusing to comment on Trump’s latest campaign swing through the Pacific Northwest–we recommend Trump’s Eugene and Spokane speeches–where he laid her “enabling” abuses of women at her feet, means Trump scored politically. She has no idea how to answer him. That’s the sign of a weak candidate and weak campaign. It’s not like Clinton didn’t know he wasn’t going to “go there.” In light of these events, Clinton’s campaign logo is actually a road sign directing her to the hospital.
Tuesday’s (May 10) Morning Joe spent several segments with people like Mike Barnacle tearing their hair out trying to figure out why the issue of Hillary’s destruction of the character of several women Bill cheated on her with was important. He does not understand why anyone cares about something that happened “20 years ago.” Several on cast wondered the same, and they all said Trump would be toast if he keeps this up. “As long as Hillary is Hillary” she’s going to trounce Trump, Mika chimed in. The problem is that Trump is revealing before our eyes that Hillary has no idea who Hillary is. The chattering classes also have no clue that what Trump is doing is reintroducing the Clintons to an electorate who was too young to notice the Clinton scandals. Millennials in particular will be horrified by Hillary for what she has done. It will eat into Hillary’s base, and she will find her lock on women (mostly single women) will erode and that undermines her entire campaign. Trump is outsmarting the media and other elites, by calling into question Hillary’s character.
All of this is a long workup to contend that Trump is no tyrant, or would be tyrant at least rhetorically, because he drags us back to the Declaration. How so? Consider the cacophony of voices aping hysterics about what Trump is doing to Hillary viz. the women’s card. Hillary is the candidate of groups. She represents the classic definition of Demagogue—divide and conquer. Trump is the anti-Demagogue. While Hillary speaks about winning in groups, Trump appeals to equality. His message in the “enabling” allegation against Hillary is that she does not believe in equal persons—she is a respecter of persons. Trump, on the other hand, affirms that everyone is equal. He wants to affirm the idea of America by restoring the political Foundation of the country. He does it quite adroitly by saying, essentially, Clinton is a phony, or “crooked.” This is not a mere political stunt, like we saw with Cruz, who lied about Trump’s positions frequently. Trump’s argument has the added force of being true.
Tyrants don’t appeal to natural equality.
Trump then got into a Twitter smackdown with Elizabeth Warren and Joe, of course, thinks he’s making another mistake. They failed to realize that Warren got owned by Trump. Warren started the war, and Trump finished it because he understands how to argue and make witty criticisms in New Media, while Warren is stuck in the Cafe 80s with Biff and their banal insults, if not incorrectly constructed idioms. Trump is after the entire left wing of politics in this country. His is not just a campaign to win an election, it’s a movement. Nobody seems to realize this yet, except those “stupid” Trump voters and a small band of merry intellectuals.
Joe then went on to say that Trump needs to genuflect to the media and change his strategy in order to win. He also needs to cozy up to the party to win, and then Joe regulars from With All Due Respect offered the astonishing comment that, [paraphrasing in quotes] “Republicans start in the minority and Democrats have more voters. If Trump wants to win, he needs to do something different to get those votes.” That’s sheer bias on display and devoid of reality. Republicans are up in votes and voters, and Democrats down. Further, Democrats are at a historic low in ID. Trump is bringing in new voters. Democrats are down. Republicans are up. Hillary is uninspiring and the Democrat party is poised for meltdown. Republicans are ahead of the curve and past meltdown, into a new coalition building phase (yes this is happening already).
Even the editorial board at the WSJ offered the revealing headline in an op-ed, “Could Donald Trump Implode?” Why do you care? Why not ask “Will Hillary Clinton Implode?” Hint: she already is; she has no idea how to handle the Trump attack related to the 1990s disgrace and character assassination of many women by Clinton herself. It’s her baggage that no Republican elite has ever hurled at her. Those days are over. This is what we call a “come to Jesus moment.”
So as it pertains to the intellectual chattering classes we ask: why are these “intellectuals” taken seriously? They are wrong so often. The same naysayers–those “nattering nabobs of negativism”–are making the same mistake in the general they did in the primaries. Trump is playing this exactly correct. The media can’t keep up, nor do they have the wherewithal to understand what is happening before their eyes. Not even National Review or the Weekly Standard understands what is happening. But Then again, National Review is heading toward a Clinton endorsement. So is Joe Scarborough, though he tries to be cute about it, by talking about Trump’s briefcase.
All adolescent commentary aside, Trump is ahead of the game because he is speaking about foundational things in his campaign stops. Meet Cute commentary about interactions with the public, or the protestors, or about Paul Ryan are all interesting, we guess, but they aren’t important when it comes to what this country stands for as a whole.
Trump’s use of media makes Morning Joe (and the WSJ editorial page) irrelevant. His attacks on Clinton about her enabling the abuse of women is pitch perfect. And it is exactly what people talk about around the dinner table. No, this is a winning strategy of flipping the frame directed AT WOMEN to call into question Clinton’s gender campaign by calling her a false savior. It’s working. It’s working because the media elites are howling about it.
Turning to his electoral position explicitly: Trump has a lot of momentum on his side. Married women will be breaking for him. While he may lose votes in other demographic categories, he won’t lose 100%. And he will definitely not lose the caucasian vote, which is turning out, and turning over a new party leaf just to vote for him. Hillary has a white, and white male issue, and yet, no one talks about it really. Coming to an Hillary campaign near you, her problem with women.
Tyrants do NOT reveal themselves so clearly as Trump does in his open and seemingly astonishing rhetoric. Yet, Trump is deliberating with us, saying, “the emperor has no clothes.” Trump is pointing out we have been failed by elites cashing in on an inside job (Elizabeth Warren that’s how you got owned this week when that was revealed you cashed in on your position). Trump is honest about his “riches” and cornering himself into certain positions he will have to negotiate within should he become President. However, Trump’s rhetoric is not about offering bread and circuses like the Caesars, it is about saving the Republic by pulling back the curtain exposing those who do not care to for it.
The electoral skirmish is just starting. Numbers move and change as the candidates spar with each other. Right now, Clinton has no idea how to handle Trump or his deeply political rhetoric.