Now that Donald Trump is about to clinch the Republicans nomination, the professional pundits, who got everything about this election wrong, are now busy trying to explain what it all means. The increasingly deranged Left is trying to jam all of it into their bizarre world view that says they are noble heroes fighting the dragon of oppression. On the Buckley Right, they are feverishly searching about for villains so they can avoid facing the reality of their position.
The one thing both sides agree upon is that Trump is being carried to the nomination by a wave of heroin addicts from the hill country. These snaggletoothed losers are angry at having been out-competed by the dusky fellows in foreign lands. Left out of the global nirvana, where well-scrubbed boys and girls take up positions in the media and think tanks, these hapless losers are lashing out by supporting Trump. It’s the revolt of the hillbillies.
There’s another thing both sides agree upon. Modern Progressives and Buckley Conservatives both hate the people to their Right. As Progressives have relentlessly dragged the Overton Window to the Left, The Buckleyites have sprinted after them, fearful of being lumped in with the rabble to their Right. The window has been dragged so far to the Left that the number of people “on the right” is looking like a swelling majority. To the people peering out from their think tanks and limousines, however, we’re on the verge of mob rule.
All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump disguises the fact that the American Left is collapsing. One place you see it is with their candidates. Hillary Clinton is a world class screw up planning to run as an old hen clucking about the men, with a mild whiff of lesbianism to spice it up. No wonder the 2000 year old man is giving her a run for her stolen money. The Left has nothing to offer so it coughed up these geriatric hairballs from the 1970’s.
In theory this should be good news for the Buckleyites, but that’s not been the result. Decades of trading away everything to the Left for a chance to guide foreign policy has left the Buckleyites incapable of winning fights over cultural and economic issues. They have been surrendering for so long, it is now their default response. Worse yet, they have been trained to scold the rest of us about the need for compromise whenever the Left assaults a part of the culture.
There’s another piece to this. Over the last quarter century, politics for both sides have become incredibly lucrative and largely unimportant. They risk nothing as money flows into Washington no matter which side is ascendant. When 90% of incumbents win reelection, there’s never really much at stake for them. For the metastasizing pundit and think tank class, politics has been reduced to theater, like the battles at those medieval themed restaurants. Winning is not important. Putting on a good show for each other is what matters to them.
Outside the government class, it’s a different story. Normal Americans are the ones paying the price for gesture politics. John McCain can be generous on immigration because he never experiences it. He lives in one of his wife’s 23 mansions, rides in government limousines and works in fortified government facilities. Men like John McCain live as strangers in this country. What they see of it is from a safe distance.
Similarly, the chattering skulls on television pull down six figure salaries and live in bunkered, whites-only communities. It is not an accident that they are crowded into the richest counties on earth, all of them around Washington DC. They are the petty royalty of the ruling class. To these people, normal Americans are aliens, indistinguishable from the people sneaking over the border.
The reality of the last quarter century for normal Americans is vastly different from the reality of the political class and the financial elites. Across the land has been a great stagnation, covered over by easy credit and financial legerdemain. For the average American, treading water has been a struggle, with many falling behind and losing faith in a system that no longer seems equitable. Mass media magnifies the yawning gap between the “winners” and the vast majority.
No one, on the Left or the Right, speaks to this. Instead it is a repetition of the old platitudes from yesteryear. One side promotes minoritism at the expense of the middle and the other side champions globalist capitalism dressed up with libertarian moralizing. The tone and substance of the rhetoric suggests both sides see the common American citizen as the threat. It is as if we have been colonized. The rulers need us, but they detest us for it and can never trust us, because down deep, they are not one of us.
Almost a quarter century ago Pat Buchanan gave his infamous Culture War speech at the Republican convention. In it he said, “This election is about more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe, and what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.”
It’s taken decades, but the American people may be prepared to join the fight finally.