WHY is it that almost every conservative defence of Donald Trump begins by disowning him personally like a distasteful object held at arm’s length?
Sure, they say, Trump gave the economy and the job market an electro-shock that Obama said wasn’t possible and didn’t even try, but . . .
Sure, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement designed by liberal greenery to throttle Western economies and living standards and also out of the mad deal that freed Iran to go nuclear by the mid-2020s, but . . .
Sure, Trump rolled back Obama’s kangaroo courts on campuses, stemmed the immigration free-for-all, took on China’s communist bullies, read the facts of life to free-riding European partners in Nato, started a historic normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab states, but . . .
Sure, Trump nominated Supreme Court justices dedicated to the strange idea that the constitution meant what it said rather than what liberal judges would prefer it to say, but . . .
But, but, but – all from the Right. Who even needs the Left to oppose Trump when you have a Right that winces at itself in government? It’s as if these people were masochists who would have preferred Hillary’s very different and anti-conservative administration.
Call it the cringe of classical liberalism to the agenda of unfettered progressivism in the media, the universities, corporate boardrooms, Silicon Valley, the deep reaches of the permanent government and the intelligence services.
Progressives have built their own wall, virtual but none the less effective, between themselves and the rest of America, including many moderate Democrats; too many cowardly, so-called conservatives are frightened to be publicly on the wrong side of it.
So they pocket the good things from Trumpism that Hillary would never have given them, but . . .
What are these buts and how substantive are they? Bow-tie Washington conservatives (with apologies to Roger Kimball) are perturbed by the tweets; the willingness to attack the opposition with a ferocity that equals theirs; the hair; the New York real estate wealth; in a word, the vulgarity.
Trump is not and never could be ‘one of us’ and his ultra-scrupulous conservative critics want you to know this even when they are forced weakly to defend him (since they are Republicans after all, at least in name). Of course, they’re not really Republicans. They are centrist Democrats wearing Republican paraphernalia.
To listen to the ‘never Trumpers’, you’d think they were guardians of a secular bible of conservativism whose first commandment is never to get your hands dirty in the pursuit of politics.
How effete, pathetic and ineffectual they seem, closeted in their little magazines and think-tanks, imitating Marxist groupuscules that are forever sub-dividing over abstruse points of puerile doctrine.
It’s true, Trump is vulgar. Lots of refined people would rather starve in the street than have him round to dinner. He’s not the first showy American politician and now that he’s definitely pulled down barricades of what is considered ‘just so’, there’ll be more like him. Some will be Democrats, who aren’t short of vulgarians themselves. What would anyone call the Clintons? Or Harvey Weinstein?
What Trump is not is stupid, which Democrats never seem to have grasped. Even by the standards of American politics, he has been treated brutally by the Democratic Party and the partisan MSM and more than held his ground.
Two-thirds of America’s counties have no newspaper of their own. Most Americans get their news cues from New York Times and Washington Post-led newspapers and local television stations that follow CNN, all of which see themselves as part of the opposition. This is a serious democratic deficit.
The Russian collusion scam, the faux Ukraine scandal, the constant claims that he has committed treason – ‘with him, all roads lead to Putin’, Nancy Pelosi said – impeachment and finally the politicisation of Covid regardless of the consequences for the nation’s health. They even want to blame the Left’s own violence on Trump. That’s been the drumbeat which began before he set foot in the White House
Yet when Trump, unlike either of the Bushes, fights back, they accuse him of dividing the country instead of unifying it; by which they mean make Democrats happy and stop pulling Obama’s legacy apart, even if it was awful by any objective reckoning.
None of this would be possible if liberals did not have a stranglehold on the media, which has enabled the Democrats to bash Trump day in, day out, usually contradicted only by him. This is why Trump has used Twitter in the way he has. It gives him an outlet to appeal to Americans over the heads of the media and the Democrats.
The increasingly woke Democrat media – who are getting younger in terms of both the average age of journalists and the number of new outlets entering the market via the internet – haven’t worked out that Trump’s exploitation of Twitter has been rather clever.
He uses it to taunt them in ways that take them unawares and to start fights that they usually lose, to the joy of Trump true-believers. They reinforce the latter’s contempt for the media.
Whereas the media think Trump uses Twitter like a scattergun, every fight he starts on social media has a purpose to discredit the chosen target. He’s used social media to outsmart its own young users, who thought they had an unbeatable weapon against him. Now that it’s dawned on them, they want to ban him, but they can’t and it’s too late.
The behaviour of the Democratic Party over the last four years has been scandalously dishonest. The election of Biden would be a reward for what by rights deserves punishment.
Never-Trumpers are a lost cause to conservatism. They’d rather cut their own feet off than give up their fantasies of a Galahad in the White House who knows how to use a knife and fork in the way prescribed by the Washington Post etiquette editor.
For conservatives who care about keeping socialist and neo-Marxist fingers off the levers of power, it’s time to take a backbone pill and stop apologising for Trump like maiden aunts with lace glove scruples. He is what he is, he’s a winner who has overall been a successful president and he’s their only hope at this election.