I was shocked when I read this:
Kevin Williamson’s Case Against Trump’s Stupid, Lazy Voters
He tells the story of the rise and fall of that 19th-century town, emptied by the decline of the gypsum industry. Only a sentimentalist, he says, would wish for its preservation. “Yes, young men of Garbutt — get off your asses and go find a job: You’re a four-hour bus ride away from the gas fields of Pennsylvania.”
Get a job, Bubba. And, for good measure: “Stonehenge didn’t work out, either: Good luck.”
National Review Doubles Down: ‘Important to Say’ White Working Class Communities ‘Deserve to Die’
These are strong words, but they are fundamentally true and important to say. My childhood was different from Kevin’s, but I grew up in Kentucky, live in a rural county in Tennessee, and have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin. Obama isn’t walking them into the lawyer’s office to force them to file a bogus disability claim…
Wow. Why is it okay to say things about the white working class that could never be said about the black working class, irrespective of the evidence in either case? Imagine the fallout if the same article had been written about the black demographic in the same general social classes…
The GOP elite and “movement conservatives” in general must feel some really deep hatred. Why?
Well, there was only one way for me to find out. I yanked the Animal’s (our American friend’s Twitter feed for a few dire (for him) moments:
Me: So, Animal, why is NR, once Bill Buckley’s haunt, fronting all this?
Him: Couple of reasons.
First, Kevin Williamson: Sorry to be blunt. He was theater critic for the New Criterion and somehow ended up at NR. He’s said to stay in a donor’s townhouse in Manhattan. His attitudes are almost pathological.
Second, this is who NR has become: they no longer see people but their own ideas writ large. They claim to be results based but when immigration and trade produce terrible results for average people, they blame them for being average.
Trump has torn away the veil in so many regards I think sociologists will have a field day for years to come.
Me: I see where Rod Dreher has weighed in on behalf of Williamson at the American Conservative.
Of Pigpens and Paradise
When KDW identifies “the culture of the white underclass in America” as “brutal” and “horrifying,” I am certain that he’s right. My objection to his original essay was that he seemed to take the worst elements for the whole. In the Washington Post piece about the white working class Trump backer in Canton, there was nothing brutal or horrifying in that man’s life, at least not that we saw in the story. He was struggling to raise his kids alone, and believed, rightly or wrongly, that Trump was going to deliver him and America from misery. But there’s a world of difference between that guy and the poor white trash that Williamson condemns. My sense of his piece is that it was too sweeping in its condemnation of Trump voters (which, by the way, was the genesis of the KDW essay, which remains behind paywall and inaccessible to those who aren’t NR subscribers, or willing to pay a quarter to read it). What I tried to do in my own response was to discern the difference between the no-account rabble and honest working-class people who have fallen on hard times, and can’t seem to get a leg up no matter what they do.
Well, the rubes, boobs, and Bible Belters won’t get no help from the GOP establishment, will they?
It seems many such people can’t contain their rage any longer, now that the rubes have a possible alternative. Thoughts re Dreher?
Him: I didn’t finish it; too much overkill about something that’s not really defensible.
I note that Williamson’s original slanderous piece is behind the NR paywall.
If they weren’t embarrassed by it, they’d make it free for all to be enlightened.
Trump is exposing the dry rot of many heretofore “conservative” elites.
No one had any idea, of course, the extent of that dry rot nor the contempt toward average Americans that animate it.
Me: Well, we certainly didn’t here! Does that dry rot and contempt explain why the GOP never really wanted to win elections by doing what average Americans want?
They’d rather lose and be sort of tolerated, often disparaged, by the global elite—but still tolerated?
The GOP has certainly campaigned and governed in order to lose gracefully in recent years, but it wasn’t until they spelled out what they really think about their own would-be supporters that the picture is starting to come in.
Him: It’s hard to top this, from Michael Goodwin, a Democrat by preference, at the New York Post:
My gut tells me much of the contempt for Trump reflects contempt for his working-class white support. It is one prejudice gentry liberals and gentry conservatives share.
It is perhaps the last acceptable bigotry, and you can see it expressed on any primetime TV program. The insults don’t all seem good-natured to me. I grew up in central Pennsylvania, surrounded by the kind of people supporting Trump, and I sympathize with their worsening plight.
For generations, they went all in for the American dream. Their families fought the wars, worked in the factories, taught school, coached Little League and built a middle-class culture. Now they are abandoned and know it.
Nobody speaks for them. The left speaks for the unions, the poor and the nonwhite, even shedding tears for illegal immigrants and rioters and looters. The GOP speaks for the Chamber of Commerce, big business and Wall Street.
Trump alone is bringing many of these forgotten Americans into the political system, much as Obama did with millennials and black voters. More.
Me: True, but the Dems actually wanted to win. The GOP establishment wants to be liked by Dems and global bigwigs, so probably wants to lose. Now, one more question for next time: Did Trump guess all this, or did he just get mad and so get lucky?
Okay, it turns out there is one other question after all: How will this affect the late Bill Buckley’s conservative movement? Are the GOPe and the “movement” counting on the boobs, the rubes, and the Bunkers to be too illiterate to read anything written about them? That mightn’t be altogether wise.
See also: Our American Friend: UK Guardian on secret plan to stop Donald Trump
The Political Animal’s blow-by-blow account of the campaign starting with Tuesday’s slaughter (working backward).