Estates of the Realm

For a long time now the pattern of American presidential elections has been that the primaries wrap up in late spring and early summer. The two candidates begin to take shots at one another leading up to their conventions in July. The Republican usually lacks the money to run an air war, so that leaves the Democrat free to pound away in key states with TV ads. The media, of course, swings in on behalf of the Democrat with a relentless drumbeat of attack ads telling us that the Republican is Hitler again.

Then we have the conventions and both parties begin running their ads and doing big campaign events. The media is still in the satchel for the Democrats, but the quantity of noise from both sides diminishes the impact of the media. They are left to cover speeches and interview people from both camps, usually swooning over the Democrat and playing gotcha with the Republican. Then we get the debates and the sprint to the finish as both sides focus on the toss-up states.

This time we are seeing something weird and different. The media is doing their part, but it is mostly the so-called conservative media leading the charge against the Republican. The Democrats have been running ads in the swing states, but they are mostly nonsense videos of Hillary from twenty years ago. They can’t show her today because she looks like death and sounds like she is about to turn someone into a toad. That and she appears to be struggling with serious health issues.

Trump is running his campaign away from the media and not running any ads. Instead he is doing these big events where thousands line up to hear him make his pitch. Trump is running the sort of campaign presidents ran in the 1940’s. The only thing missing is the train, but his private jet makes it a lot like the old whistle stop tour. He lands, does a speech and is off to the next town. On a weekly basis, Trump jousts with the media over their latest attack, but otherwise he has not done a lot of it.

We are seeing something strange this time. It is as if we have three elections going on at the same time. The Democrats are keeping Clinton hidden away for fear people will notice she is seriously unwell. Someone struggling with a cognitive disorder is better off in small rooms with a few people and that’s what we keep seeing. Her events are lightly attended, but there does seem to be an effort to keep her from standing in front of a large crowd. They probably worry that she could topple over like Bob Dole in ’96.

The other election campaign is the Trump barnstorming tour where he does these stadium shows for thousands. They are not running ads to promote these things. Instead, they are relying on word of mouth via social media. They also get local media coverage. Trump is deliberately banning the big foot media from his events and he is not paying for a plane to ferry around the press like we have seen in prior campaigns. Trump is running the first high-tech, grassroots presidential campaign in history.

Finally, we have the mass media election. This is where members of the media debate one another over the latest events. They used to count on the Democrats to supply the copy and some flaks to help sell this to the public, but this time is a bit different. Hillary’s poor health and long criminal history are preventing her campaign from putting her or her close allies in the media for fear someone may accidentally ask a question.

There is a medieval vibe to all of this as the estates of the realm are now fully insulated from one another. There’s also the obvious divisions within the estates, as there were in 18th century France. The media, serving as the First Estate, has a credentialed and high-born top with a rough and tumble, low-born bottom. The nasally twats writing at the NYTimes or appearing on the chat shows all popped out of elite colleges and come from upper class families. The bloggers and twitter monsters are uncredentialed rubes from the country.

You could argue that the forces behind Trump within the political class represent the noblesse de robe while the people backing Clinton are noblesse d’épée. The third estate, just as in 18th century France, is not entirely on the side of the former, but is not all that happy with the latter. The bourgeoisie, in our case, are academics, the vast array of business interests that feed from the public trough and those who profit from global capitalism. You are, in all probability, a free peasant.

It is not a perfect analogy and it is not intended to compare modern America to 18th century France. Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over. It does help clarify the current crisis. The people chatting on TV don’t know you and they have no idea what you read or why you read it. The things discussed on blogs like this are as alien to them as proper dining etiquette is to you. Modern American society is now highly compartmentalized and fragmented and we see that in the campaigns.

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Severian
Guest

A related weird disconnect: Back in school, we were taught that presidential campaigns are supposed to be aspirational. The candidate lays out a vision of exactly how life is going to be that much greater when we elect him and builds his campaign around that. (e.g. “vote Obama and no one will ever call you a racist again”). If there’s a message from the Hillary ads I’ve seen (and what genius decided to make half the photos black-and-white?), it’s “vote for me, and the chocolate ration will be increased from 40 grams to 35 grams.” **And the talking heads are… Read more »

A.T. Tapman (Merica)
Member
A.T. Tapman (Merica)

The NY Times is now printed with vermillion ink.

CaptDMO
Guest
CaptDMO

HEY! I know which one is the fish knife.
OK, I MAY get a bit fuzzy with the charger, and the actual dinner plate.
And escargot tongs are WORTHLESS to me.

thor47
Guest
thor47

Really. Even down here in the South most of us don’t eat peas with a knife anymore.

CaptD, the charger is the horse. Generally much bigger than the dinner plate.

Dr. Mabuse
Guest

Isn’t the charger the thing that holds John the Baptist’s head? Since we’re talking about guillotines and all.

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

Then I suggest a more appropriate example would be Marie Antoinette, since we are talking also about France.

Notsothoreau
Guest
Notsothoreau

When we start rounding up the Press for the guillotine, can I help bring in Scott Pelley? He is the most despicable piece of work I’ve ever seen.

I keep thinking about the Theodore White Making of the President books. I wonder what the story of this election would be like?

pink lady
Guest

The weird thing is DJT DOES know “proper dining etiquette” , and he is still with US. I attribute that to a sincere love of this country, hope I’m right.

Uncola
Guest
Uncola

For me, this is a profound paradox I am only beginning to understand. Even after studying it since the time my mother told me she thought Bill Clinton must have stolen Ken Star’s girlfriend in college and that’s why he (Ken) is so bitter. It is like opium drifting out among the masses where they inhale deeply and dream of strawberry fields and Lucy in the Cloud with diamonds. Z-man’s Trifection Election piece above addresses it in part. In the West we have become peoples with separate worldviews and living within the confines of a sick ménage à trois. The… Read more »

Notsothoreau
Guest
Notsothoreau

Yes, our wonderful athletes. My husband couldn’t understand why the guy made up the robbery story. I told him that the guy is a jock. Jocks are used to people looking up to them and think they can get away with anything (remember Lance Armstrong?)

The other article is beneath contempt. You might want to read Congressman Greg Waldens speech on how unfairly those ranchers were treated.

Member

I’d shift the categories a bit. I look at academia and all NGO’s, foundations and nonprofits including hospitals and large health care systems as the new monastic estates, and the professors and credentialed class as the new First Estate. Anyone in a position protected by the government with a license helping them to participate in a monopoly, either occupational or in a business, anyone who is eligible for a government pension or one guaranteed by govt either via civil service, teaching, firefighting, police work, and so on, is in the Second Estate (noblesse del la robe, noblesse d’epee) keeping in… Read more »

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

I think we need one in every city center. And one on every street corner in Ozlandia.

Member

No, I’m no free peasant. By your reckoning I’m a bourgeois. I know all about which fork to use and can be snobbish about such things. And yet all my political sensibilities are with the peasants. I should be a card-carrying member of the hard left, and yet… everything they believe is based on such complete misconceptions of how the world actually works, their idea(l)s are disastrous in practice, and maintaining that world view necessitates such gross lies and distortions that only someone completely brainwashed could conceivably stand uttering them. It just ain’t so. To go on with your analogy, I… Read more »

Gerard Van der Leun
Member

“Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over. It does help clarify the current crisis. ”

Speak for yourself, ZMan. I’ve been keeping up my knitting on my DeFargian shawl and all their names are in the pattern already. I’ll unravel them in my Lubiyankaesque basement one by one….

Just stand up against that small window there.

Right.

Fine.

Hold still.

Next.

james wilson
Guest

You are cheering me up, Vanderleun.

Milton Stanley
Guest
Milton Stanley

It looks like you may have reversed which candidates the noblesse de robe noblesse d’épée tend to back.

Milton Stanley
Guest
Milton Stanley

It looks like you may have reversed which candidates the noblesse de robe and noblesse d’épée tend to back.

edwhy
Guest
edwhy

I’m trying to figure out how mainstream science will attempt to put Trump and Zita together, perhaps through Putin and his evil USSR scientists. This time around, nothing is out of bounds.

Member

There’s also the decadence parallel. I don’t know who Marie Antoinette is, Hilary or Michele, but look at the lives these people lead. I hope to never hear the words Martha’s Vineyard again for the rest of my life.

meema
Guest

My husband and I are old and set in our ways. Utter plebeians. We eat dinner early (5:30-6:00) off of one plate, using a fork, sometimes a knife, as we watch the news, usually Fox Five. We make snide remarks toward the token liberal du jour in between chewing and swallowing. By 6:30 I have the kitchen cleaned up and we’re ready to finish getting our daily dose of the blue pill news. Then we watch an hour of recorded TV because the only shows we are interested in come on too late. Plus we can fast forward through the… Read more »

Ganderson
Guest
Ganderson

Art would be a good VP

meema
Member

Art for VP would be a good strategy because then he could move to first spot after eight good years of kicking a$$ and taking names. Since we are only into the first part of the second season I can’t predict how Boyd will unfold but even with his history he might be a good Top Cop – he knows how the criminal mind works. Takes one to know one. Just an observation from an old wordsmith – I know fictional representation is always exaggerated and it’s common to make Appalachian southerners talk with an obnoxious drawl (I live in… Read more »

Ganderson
Guest
Ganderson

One of the things I like about Justified is there doesn’t seem to be an assumption that all Southerners are, to paraphrase the great Mark Steyn “stump-toothed losers whose idea of fun on a Saturday night is a bottle of ‘shine and a bunk up with his sister.” I’ve lived in the North my whole life- Upper Midwest, New York metro and for the last 25 years New England. I hear people say things about the South and Southerners that they would never say about any other group, with the possible exception of Irish Catholics.

PJ123
Guest
PJ123

Southerners are the government-approved scapegoats, still paying the price for their ancestors’ desire to bug out 150 years ago. They will keep paying until we get a 50-state secession. Dump D.C.!

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

I would settle for Top Cop, Attorney General!

Dee White Fellow
Guest
Dee White Fellow

Our country should have many more bridges, buildings, streets, and schools named for the immortal Elmore Leonard.

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

What I see is Trump running a campaign of strategy and using Sun Tzu at his word. Chief among these being: 1. “The worst strategy of all is to besiege walled cities.” 2. “Make your way by unexpected routes and attack unguarded spots.” 3. “If it is to your advantage, make a forward move. If not, stay where you are.” In addition, what has impressed me the most has simply been his willingness to speak the truth about people, things and situations. He knew he couldn’t take on the MSM directly so he is going around them while calling them… Read more »

Shelby
Guest
Shelby

One of my favorites is, If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

I always wondered about that one. Does that mean that somewhere upstream someone is taking out your enemy for you?

Shelby
Guest
Shelby

I’m not sure, maybe Zman will weigh in. I always think of the patience involved in waiting.

Member

If this campaign and current events have shown anything; it’s that A.) There isn’t anything wrong with the Second Amendment, but B.) It’s the First Amendment that’s seriously broken. The Second Amendment should be coming into it’s full flower as the last, best guarantee of the rights of the people in the near future. The First Amendment, having become totally distorted from the imaginings of the Founders, has shown itself to be completely corrupted and at odds with the intentions of those who wrote the Constitution. Newspapers are bad enough. Going from a plenitude of different voices in every city… Read more »

Member

Great article. So true. Especially the part about no heads being lopped. Sad!

Nels Wight
Guest
Nels Wight

Great article, Lew, as nearly always!

Member

Sadly, we will not get to lop off the heads of the first estate when this is all over.

We’re getting close to the head rolling phase, and that isn’t in question. What is in question is who’s head is going to roll, ours or theirs.