One of the interesting things about what’s happening in American politics is how the chattering skulls are struggling to understand it. In fact, they are not really trying to understand it. Their efforts are much closer to denial than genuine interest. They feel threatened, so they try to jam the bad news into a box they have labeled “bad think” hoping that will make it go away. At least it fits into their comfortable worldview, even if it is still stinking up the place.
The Trump story is the most obvious example. The crooks and hustlers of the Conservative Industrial Complex see him as a dire threat to their cozy lifestyles so they have been churning out copy “explaining” why Trump is evil and his voters are stupid. The hope being that people don’t want to be thought of as stupid so they will go along with the assertion that Trump is Hitler.
I don’t think guys like Matt Walsh are sitting around thinking it through. He’s not that bright. It’s a visceral reaction to dis-confirmation. Red Team leaders were supposed to wave their banners and the Red Team supporters were supposed to respond with the team cheers. Suddenly those people are at another rally, singing different cheers for different people and different banners.
There are two possible explanations for this unexpected event. One is the people running Red Team have failed in some way. They either have a bad product or they failed to know important things about their customers and supporters. The people are walking off because they don’t like what Red Team is offering.
The other answer is that the people are stupid or gullible and the guy leading them astray is evil. In this case, Trump is casting a spell on stupid people like the Pied Piper. Human nature being what it is, it’s no surprise that the response from Red Team has been to blame magic. The evil spirit called Trump has put the whammy on them.
Reality is something different. The problem both American parties face and what mainstream parties face all over the West is the dilemma of the turd sandwich. One side of the political class offers the voters a turd sandwich on rye. The other side offers a turd sandwich on whole wheat. Both sides lecture us nonstop that voting is our moral and civic duty. Therefore, we must eat our turd sandwich.
Of course, there would be riots in the streets if it is said candidly so both sides of the political class ignore the filling and focus on the bread. We are repeatedly told by Team Whole Wheat that rye is poison and only lunatics eat rye. Team Rye tells us that wheat eaters are bigots and want to put rye eaters in chains. Their hyperbole aside, there is a very real difference between rye and whole wheat. No would deny it.
In a mass media culture, you can keep a lot of people busy shouting back and forth over trivia, like rye versus whole wheat, to keep the analogy going. What’s going on right now is a big chunk of voters has decided to look at the filling. They don’t like their turd sandwich and they have no interest in debating which type of bread is better. The trouble is the menu at the political deli only has turd sandwiches.
That’s what the boys and girls of the commentariat cannot fathom. They ticked all the right boxes on their way into the club. They memorized all the arguments and they know how to tell you rye is better than wheat or wheat is better than rye. They are filling in all the right circles so everyone is supposed to fall in line. They just can’t understand that it’s not the sales pitch, it’s the product. The public is just not interested in their turd sandwich.
That’s why the pathological Trump bashing has had so little impact. In fact, it has probably helped him more than hurt. He represents a rejection of the party and its pitchmen in the media. The fact that they hate him is his best asset. Voting for Trump, for most people, has become a vehicle to express their disgust for what the party has been feeding them for 25 years.
If you are on the party payroll or you work in conservative media, you really can’t face that reality. You have to keep believing that it will once again be a debate about the merits of whole wheat versus rye. That’s why they keep trotting out new arguments for why Donald Trump is a fraud, evil or about to implode. That’s why they have gone all-in on a guy like Marco Rubio.
Otherwise, these self-proclaimed intellectuals and opinion makers have to face a terrible reality. That’s the fact they are not, in fact, intellectuals or opinion makers. They are just hired staff in paper hats selling turd sandwiches for the people signing their checks. That’s a lot to ask of people who think a lot of themselves but lack the sort of introspection required to admit error.