The Trump Effect

When Donald Trump started making noises about running for president, I remember thinking, well, nothing. I have never been a Trump fan. I’ve had no reason to not like him, but I’m not a consumer of popular culture. Therefore, I never had need to come down one way or the other on Trump.

My sense was that he was like every other successful pitchman I’ve known. A harmless phony that is good at making people feel good about giving them money. In the case of Trump, he is a pitchman for himself and his brand, which helps sell real estate.  Nothing wrong with it, but nothing for me to care much about one way or the other.

When Trump started talking about immigration, I cringed a little. Trump has never struck me as a deep thinker so having him lead the charge on an issue of this magnitude struck me as a bad idea. I know a lot about it so I have a certain bias toward people who share my level of knowledge on the subject.

The reaction from elites, however, changed my mind. The pearl-clutching and fainting on all sides of the ruling elite has been stunning and enlightening. I’m not alone in this. My sense is much of Trump’s support is the result of this, a result of the Trump Effect.

The most obvious example of this, one I have written about a few times, is Kevin Williamson at National Review On-Line. He has been driven to madness over Trump, writing a dozen columns calling Trump everything from an ape to a Nazi. National Review finally put an end to it, apparently, as he is back to writing about unicorns and flying carpets.

I used to enjoy his articles, but his bizarre Trump columns, and to a lesser extent the strange Sanders columns, had me wondering about his sanity. Williamson was not alone; he was just the guy leading the parade. All of the allegedly conservative cognoscenti were making unhinged ad hominem attacks on Trump in what looked like a coordinated assault.

People notice things and a lot of people noticed that the Professional Right was treating Trump like a black guy at a Newport yacht club. Trump was Rodney Dangerfield and the members of the Professional Right were taking turns being Judge Smails. It was country club snobbery, not thoughtful and respectful criticism.

The other thing people noticed was that the hooting and bellowing sounded just like what they heard last decade from the Left with regards to George Bush. Kevin Williamson called Trump a “witless ape” and that sounded a lot like when the fever swamp types called Bush a chimp.

Seeing the blonde harpy from Fox prattle on about the “war on women” did more for Trump’s candidacy than anything else, I suspect, because of the images it conjured of bygone battles with the Left. She sounded like a cast member from MSNBC, ranting about Dick Cheney and the Haliburton Hurricane Machine destroying New Orleans.

The galling aspect of the Cult’s dismissal of Bush was the condescension. It was the beautiful people versus the normals. It was not George Bush they were dismissing, but his voters and their issues.The Left regularly made sport of the rubes and hicks they blamed for George Bush.

We’re seeing the same thing here with the Professional Right and Trump. The sneering dismissals don’t even bother to discuss immigration, the plight of the middle-class or the war on traditional culture. Our betters will not stoop to that level. It’s just sneering condescension.

There’s an aspect of the Trump Effect that makes it different from the reactionary support of George Bush by many middle Americans last decade. It is who is doing the hooting and to whom they are hooting it.

Normal middle Americans who watch Fox News, for example, are horrified to learn that the genteel types on their television think they are stupid prols that better know their place – or else. Jonah Goldberg thinks the listeners of Rush Limbaugh are not worth his time as they are insignificant bugs.

The biggest criticism — in terms of quantity, not quality — is that I am a RINO squish faker fraud no-goodnik lib sucking at the teat of the establishment blah blah and blah. These usually take the form of angry tweets and e-mails. So I’ll fold my response to this silliness into my responses to the longer-form stuff. One of the most popular rejoinders comes from the Conservative Treehouse, a site I’ve liked in the past. But if it weren’t for the fact that Rush Limbaugh enthusiastically plugged it on air, I’m not sure it would merit much of a response.

A 2,000-word “Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg,” written by someone named “Sundance,” it devotes barely a sentence to responding to anything I actually wrote. Nor does the author really defend Donald Trump — or his supporters — from my criticisms. Instead it is a long and somewhat splenetic indictment of the “establishment.” Sundance writes: “The challenging aspect to your expressed opinion, and perhaps why there is a chasm between us, is you appear to stand in defense of a Washington DC conservatism that no longer exists.” He then proceeds to conflate the GOP’s record with “Washington conservatism” as if they are synonymous.

This strikes me as projection and deflection and nothing more. The whole thing is a non sequitur masquerading as a rejoinder. He lays down a tediously long list of questions

The sneering is impossible to miss. Jonah’s view of himself is as a man of the sophisticated class. His critic is a man of the servant class. The snotty reply is not intended to correct or even educate the critic. It is a dismissal.

Goldberg’s audience in that piece is not the critic or the critic’s readers. The audience is his coevals in the chattering classes, who have locked arms in defense of their class against the Trumpian onslaught.

That’s the Trump Effect.

What offends the tender sensibilities of Jonah Goldberg is not the issues Trump has championed. To Jonah, those are not to be taken seriously. What offends Jonah is that Trump is a low-class prol rallying the field hands in a revolt against the master and his house boys. If you look carefully at Fox, you can see George Will and Charles Krauthammer clutching at their pearls, muttering “how dare he!” whenever Trump is the topic.

I don’t think the people supporting Trump think of him as their champion. My guess is most would rather vote for someone less caustic and improvisational.But, it’s not really about Trump and I think they know it. Trump is a means to an end, they hope.

Middle Americans are looking through the windows of the farmhouse and seeing Progressives and Conservatives sitting together eating and drinking together as one. They cannot tell the Conservatives from the Liberals because their faces seem to be the same and they are saying the same things.

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover’s old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

22 thoughts on “The Trump Effect

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  3. Trump is kind of inconsequential to something larger stirring. Not to besmirch the guy.
    I think I would like to have a beer and a greasy cheeseburger with him. He is probably an interesting guy who is decent hearted kind of regular Joe under it all.
    Regardless, it really doesn’t matter. Either he is the real deal, and the sonofabitches give him a dirt nap before he becomes too large to stop, or somebody is absolutely brilliant a social engineer, and Trump is a false flag designed to mollify the restlessness of the productive slaves. After all, you would have to live under a rock on Pluto not to know its not a few who have had just about enough of the fuckers running things.

    Trump represents something visceral, almost palpable, something truly grass roots, what is coalescing around trump represents a great Fuckyou.

  4. Trump will be gone by January when he announces the next season of celebrity apprentice coming to Fox in April!

  5. Trump is a guy who will openly consider you a great person if you publicly agree with him, and try to call you out as an idiot if you don’t.

    The Washington people of both parties will condescendingly agree to hear you out and tell you that you are a nice person, and thank you for letting them know what you think, but then call you an idiot behind your back, because you did not follow the conversation up with a big political cash contribution.

    So which side would you rather deal with?

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  7. Trump’s greatest heresy is that his is a member of the master class who has pulled aside the curtain. One of the guys who writes the checks is spilling the beans.

    Pundits like Jonah Goldberg, Williamson, Will, and Krauthammer, and politicians like Jeb!, Walker, Perry, Clinton, and the rest of that sorry lot like to think of themselves as Platonic Guardians, when in fact they are highly paid servants. The only difference between Jonah Goldberg and a Starbuck barista is the paycheck, and I’ll bet the difference is not as great as one would think, which adds to the insecurity.

    Instead of sitting in the back room, filling the coffers, and issuing orders, Trump is prowling the hallways and insulting the help. It’s a mass public castration, and the castrati are wailing.

    This sort of thing is not supposed to happen on the Right. As they used to say in the old WASP enclaves, it’s simply “not done”. The glue that held the coalition together was always the idea of “aping one’s betters”. That only works if the a modicum of social and economic mobility is the norm, as it was for much of American history. Now that the ruling class has decided to openly defecate from the trees onto those below, the deal’s off.

    Kevin Williamson goes to the opera and thinks he’s Bunny Mellon. My guess is his apartment is smaller than my garage. Jonah Goldberg writes a column on the perfidy of banking reform and thinks he’s a Rothschild, but probably gets most of his lunches from Chipotle. George Will pens a column advocating the invasion of Syria and thinks he’s a lost scion of the Hapsburgs, but needs a $8.00 hour Honduran to clip his hedges. Jeb! is a bag man for Carlos Sim; Walker’s wife is a coupon clipper; Rubio lives in big house with no furniture, like the rest of the people in his McNeighborhood. These people don’t really do or say anything consequential, except to further screw things up, and need the illusion of worth and control to stay sane. Trump is robbing them of their fundamental identity, and they having a breakdown.

    • “The only difference between Jonah Goldberg and a Starbuck barista is the paycheck, and I’ll bet the difference is not as great as one would think, which adds to the insecurity.”

      It’s worse than you think! At least a Stabucks barista can afford to buy pants!

  8. NR is just another part of the NYC elite media, their function is to control and guide the opinion of the masses to be friendly to their elite interests.

  9. As Cernovich pointed out, people don’t like Trump that much, they love the fact he has pointed out what a bunch of cowardly cucks the GOP and its media flunkies have become.

    The NR insults its readers and fires those who should have been supported. That’s why they are being deserted.

  10. Yeah, I think it’s pretty much the condescension of Those Who Think They Know Better. Excuse us great unwashed as we support Trump, who is willing to put his personal opinions/thoughts out there without first making sure they’ve been through the Acceptable Thought washing machine. I understand that he probably is not a warrior for Liberty, based on the many documented things he has opined upon over the years. But I get the sense that he genuinely loves this country, and does not look down on the people who get up every day and go to work, or look for work, hoping for a better life for themselves and their children. He is unafraid to say the things that need to be said, and willing to ruffle feathers without apology. Maybe his brash style will embolden others.

  11. I read the Sundance article rebutting Jonah Goldberg and thought it was insightful. Goldberg’s response was pedantic and knee-jerk without addressing the valid points made in the Sundance article. The establishment rhinos are stewing in their own juices as it looks like that “silent majority” may be rearing it’s “ugly” head and not getting in line behind Yeb as they were told to. Uh oh, the folks may be starting to wake up and the establishment types are scared to death.

  12. Your description of Trump support is exactly what I have witnessed many times, and from thoughtful, aware people. Some have already made the leap that we cannot vote our way out of this, some have not. Either way it’s sand in your eye.

    Trump is not my friend, and he is no friend of liberty. But if I am to judge him not by his friends but by his enemies, he’s the man to awaken the silent minority and break windows in Georgetown.

  13. I came across this interview a while back with the guy Trump hired to run his Iowa ground game. (

    It has a quote that really sums up why Trump is getting all the various depth of support that he is:

    “I think the reason they are supportive of the Trump effort — and I say supportive because I think they are — is because the enemy of my enemy is also my friend,” Laudner said. “I tell people, even if you don’t line up with him on everything ideologically, Trump is going to kick the door open so that the rest of us can come running through. He’s the only candidate who can really do that. I think they have to root for that because if that doesn’t happen, their agenda goes nowhere.”

    I think this is a lot of the reason why attacks against Trump directly don’t seem to really be fazing his supporters. They’re not supporting Trump the man, they’re supporting Trump the Movement.

    • I agree. It’s a movement of people who don’t do movements because they want to be left alone to live their lives according to their own values, but who see the media, Hollywood and academia relentlessly trashing those values. It may be our last hope.

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