Donald Trump, downtown, n’ me, Part I

Hi, Marion and Fluffy,

For whatever reason, I ended up being asked about the Trump candidacy recently by people I bumped into in Ottawa. I am so glad you and I had put our heads together and worked out an organized response.

So much of what we need to understand today is right under our noses but we have been trained (or trained ourselves) not to see it. Here is our response again, edited:

1. Big legacy media and six-figure consultants kept telling us Trump couldn’t win the nomination. But he did. He did it while ignoring or enraging them.

Why did he know he could get away with that? Probably because, contra Twitter, he didn’t get rich by being stupid. He had spotted their central weakness: They no longer speak for voters.

Legacy media are not gatekeepers anymore. Is there anyone outside the cocktails n’ coke set who cares what the New York Times’ editorial board thinks? To those who get all their news from a handheld, former media greats are just part of a tsunami of news and noise. Maybe most of the public agrees with them most of the time. That’s just confluence of events. Yet they act like anyone still cares while quietly letting staff go.

Political consultants tell the people who can afford to hire them what they are willing to hear about the voters. Not quite what they need to know, it seems.

2. Stepping back a bit to get a wider view, neither the Dems nor the GOP represents a historic constituency any longer. The Dems increasingly represent, not workers, but an ever-growing entitlement class. The class is not defined by commitment to the labour force but by personal identity, on which claims to entitlement rest. The GOP no longer represents small business, particularly. It represents global business.

If global businesses are wise, they will channel money to the Dems as well and support whichever of their causes do not conflict with shareholder interests. They would be happy to fund a crackdown on First Amendment rights.

People with serious commitments to any traditional system, whether it is traditional work, small business, family life or religion, not only have few real representatives in the system but are increasingly targets of ridicule and hostility. And also subject to heavily enforced bureaucratic whim, whether it is forced use of opposite-sex public washrooms or meddling by the Salt or Pop Police or predatory “child protection” services. It is futile for such people to hope that the GOP will do more than sneer at, and eventually repudiate, their wish for a life that makes sense to them.

Under the circumstances, it was instructive to learn how many millions were spent trying to stop Trump, and how many billions in free publicity he gained from all that. And all he had to do was make clear that he did not need to play their game.

Next: Donald Trump, downtown, n’ me, Part II

See also: US Election 2016: Were all the wise men wrong? Yes, and why they were wrong is what matters. Firing individuals won’t help.