A friend watched the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with an older, conservative, Southern, female, relative. She was distressed by the Republican presidential nominee’s style—even though, to my eye, he pulled his punches.
Since I have so much in common with Trump, I feel uniquely qualified to explain why she was so put off by the candidate. Trump is at least 6’2,” while I’m… not. Trump went off to Wharton, while I attended the Asphalt League. Trump is a billionaire, while I have spent my life scheming and clawing my way up to the exalted reaches of the lower working class.
Hmm. Let’s try that again.
For all his riches, Trump is still an Outer Boroughs guy at heart. Like me!
The Outer Boroughs—Brooklyn, Queens (where Trump was born), Staten Island, The Bronx—are New York City’s version of “flyover country.” The Manhattan mentality identifies with effete (in my opinion) elites, But, as New York Post op-ed editor Mark Cunningham pointed out in a brilliant piece, Trump’s style is “busting balls…He’s playing and winning by blue-collar rules…” [Donald Trump has invented a new way to win by Mark Cunningham, New York Post, February 15, 2016.]
Trump’s troubles within America’s Ruling Class derive from his Outer Borough style and patriotic policy positions. So, too, do his strengths.
About my own working-class/Outer Borough background: I spent over five years (1980-1985) studying and working in in West Germany. I was there so long because I quickly went broke, hadn’t completed my bachelor’s degree, and didn’t want to come home without it.
So I hustled after jobs—stuffing mailboxes with plastic bags, for people to fill with used clothing; washing food trays in the school cafeteria; pitching and taking down circus tents for folk music festivals; running a used book store; translating German advertising copy and philosophy articles into English; disposing of thousands of decomposed rat and mice carcasses at the Max Planck Institute;and building cars at Daimler-Benz (Mercedes, to you civilians).
Once I got my B.A., I applied to grad school. The best offer I got—after playing hardball in the negotiations (they tried to get me for nothing)—was from the CUNY Graduate School, which was where I’d wanted to go all along. CUNY’s once-great reputation was due to penniless Jews like yours truly.
The whole thing was a big misunderstanding. The Columbia University mafia that ran the philosophy program had apparently assumed that I’d been in West Germany for so long because I was rich!
Imagine the shock of the Acting Chairman, when we met before the semester began. Here was this obnoxious member of the lower orders. There’s nothing an Ivy League Jew hates more than his working-class counterpart. He’ll pander to blacks and Hispanics, but won’t give a poor Jew the time of day.
Although, because I was on a full academic fellowship, I hadn’t been obligated to work at a department job, my chairman invented a make-work job on the spot, forcing to me to file papers ten hours a week.
When the epic but flawed mini-series Amerikaaired that year, about an America that had been taken over by the Soviets, I told my chairman my concerns that it could have been better. He just smirked at me. Only the little people in the Outer Boroughs had patriotic concerns.
I was proud to have worked mainly at Daimler-Benz and told everyone about it. The tenured mooks were unimpressed. They not only had the Manhattan mentality, but they lived there, while I lived in Brooklyn. (I’ve since moved to Queens).
At CUNY, I was indicted for a Ph.D., but eventually accepted a plea bargain: They let me walk with a Master’s, and time served. They wanted to get rid of me, and the feeling was mutual.
The GOP has a long, sordid history of stabbing in the back both populist and patriotic politicians and also its own base, going back to its betrayal of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954. In 1962, William F. Buckley—the “Pied Piper For the Establishment” in John F. McManus’ phrase—purged anti-Communist John Birch Society founder, Robert Welch. In 1964, the Party’s liberal Rockefeller wing sabotaged Barry Goldwater. In 1968, Richard Nixon insinuated to the South that he was courting, that he would protect it from forced school busing; once elected, he aggressively supported this community-destroying plague, along with massive Affirmative Action.
In 2000 and 2004, Connecticut-born George W. Bush fooled patriots with his affected Texas swagger, only to repeatedly seek to impose nation-breaking mass Amnesties of illegal, Third World aliens.
John McCain (2004) and Mitt Romney (2008) ran against an easily-beatable, racial socialist Democrat, but gave the patriotic white voters they desperately needed a big middle finger. The voters returned the favor by staying home, thus giving Barack Obama two decisive victories.
The Republican Party has been in thrall to a strategy of party and national suicide for so long that, already back in 2000, my oldToogood Reports colleague, Jim Antle, exposed its fatal consequences.
[Kristol’s and Brooks’] political strategy in essence was this: Jettison the boorish white Southerners — a Weekly Standard bete noire held responsible for much of the GOP’s troubles within its pages — and their Christian right friends, as well as other elements of the Republican coalition easily caricatured by the Democrats. Replace them with a party that chablis-sipping sophisticates from the Northeast who dress like Tucker Carlson would be more comfortable with. Sprinkle generous amounts of happy talk about reform. Voila! A new majority is born….
What is to be gained by reading the GOP’s backbone constituencies out of the party in exchange for better coverage from the New York Times? It ought to be said that when the party looked more like what Kristol and Brooks envision, it was consigned to permanent minority status.
Most of all, this formulation is utterly devoid of moral and intellectual substance. [Bill Kristol goes party-building by W. James Antle III, Enter Stage Right, March 13, 2000.]
Immediately after the election, Brooks sucked up to the Obamas, lying and calling them representatives of a “valedictocracy,” as if they had ever earned anything through merit. [Obama’s valedictocracy, October 21, 2008]
If the GOP had been led by patriots, instead of by John Boehner and Paul Ryan, it would have impeached Barack Obama. It never even tried.
Several years ago, I attended a talk on immigration at a Manhattan libertarian group. A businessman in the audience announced that he had a sacred right to contract with any foreign national, at any price, and bring him here to work. He spoke with hatred. to the supportive crowd, the way factory owners used to speak of Communist union organizers, of Americans who thought theircitizenship should count for something.
But class hatred is not limited to the Open Borders lobby. Last month, during lunch at an immigration patriot conference a lady of a certain age sat down next to me. She lived on what she called Manhattan’s “chicuppereastside.” I assumed she was speaking with tongue in cheek.
I launched into a story to the group, which was dominated by old friends of mine, about getting sucker-punched by a black on a city bus. I was exhausted from family obligations. Thus, I was readingHeather Mac Donald’s new crime book,The War on Cops, with two eyes, instead of keeping one eye on my neighbors. He rammed a beach umbrella into my ribs.
Mrs. Chicuppereastside said nothing, but her face showed disgust—not at the racist mope, but at me! While I fetched a feast from the buffet, she switched tables.
Of course, class conflict is a feature of every society. But until recently in modern, Western-style states, class tension was kept under control by cultural cohesion and the rule of law. However, our ruling elites have blasted those bulwarks.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asserts that Donald Trump, and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are all motivated by “resentment that they will never be accepted into Manhattan’s polite society no matter what they do.” [How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media, by Robert Draper, The New York Times, September 29, 2016]
The theory of “resentment” was formulated by Nietzsche on a bad day. My experience: it’s spoiled rich that are lousy with resentment towards the ambitious and talented but impecunious. All they have is slaves, donors, and arrogance.
Still, some Trump-haters are sad cases. Take Charles Murray, one of America’s greatest living social scientists, and a man capable of moral eloquence. Unlike most of his allies, Murray is not motivated by class hatred against the white working class. He says: “Libertarian principles only work when the playing field is pretty damn fair.”
I saw Murray speak just hours before the presidential debate. Jason Richwine, America’s most promising, honest, and therefore embattled young social scientist was discussing his brilliant new report on the replacement of native American, unskilled, high school dropouts by their immigrant counterparts. [Immigrants Replace Low-Skill Natives in the Workforce by Jason Richwine, CIS, September 2016]. Law professor Amy Wax (Penn) and Murray were there to respond to Richwine.
Wax supported a moratorium on unskilled immigration—as did Murray.
Murray said, among other things, that if massive, Third-World, unskilled immigration continues unabated, “We’ll be a wealthy, Western country, but we won’t be America. I like America.”
But Murray’s comments embraced utterly contradictory positions. He opened by talking about how much he hated Trump, whom he said he would never vote for, and who he maintained was, on the basis of his “temperament” and “character” “unfit” to be president. (What about Hillary Clinton’s “temperament” and “character”?)
During the ensuing discussion, I reminded Murray of the moral principle whereby desiring a given end entails desiring the necessary means. The choice is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and the only chance of achieving the goal Murray seeks, is if Trump is elected president.
Murray: “I’m not going to argue with you about whether I am right in thinking that, but that’s what I think.”
I threw up my hands in despair.
Millions of citizens are willing to end the American experiment in self-government—merely because they don’t like the style (or “affect”) of the only man standing between us and oblivion.