They are all missing the point about Donald Trump.
I can’t figure if it’s because they genuinely can’t figure what’s going on, or if they each don’t want to be the one that cracks open the egg.
Really smart people, I mean really smart people, in politics for years – politicians, commentators, political operatives, political historians, political cartoonists, Chris Matthews – no one can name the phenomenon that is driving American white people from across the political spectrum to a guy with no discernible political continuum; a guy whose views change without his cognizant brain being notified, so that even Donald Trump in the present moment disagrees with Donald Trump of a moment ago.
Donald Trump doesn’t know what Donald Trump thinks. And that’s okay with his supporters because consistent thought isn’t what they need and want him for.
All these smart people on cable television, like Chris Matthews, and in the New York Times, are treating the Trump phenomenon like it is the result of some keen political strategy. They analyze Trump’s speeches, his appeal, his experience in crowd manipulation, and credit these with Trump’s success with white Americans thus far. They are looking for plausible policies to explain his popularity too.
Then they, themselves, shoot down their own hypotheses as impractical, and settle on the mysterious “Something odd is going on in American politics” theory.
They are studying the wrong end of the animal. I have heard them say it for decades now: “The American voters are smart and can always figure it out.” Oh, a politician will tell you that at the drop of a hat. Bullshit. (I should be able to say that word here given the vulgarity of the subject.) If you want to know what is going on in American presidential politics you have figure out what is driving white American voters.
I’ll tell you what’s driving white Trump voters. They wish to have as a hole card a guy they can trust to make the tough decisions when it gets down to keeping America white.
That is the elephant in the room: shifting demographics. Donald Trump says that he will deport 11 million undocumented immigrants back to places like Mexico, and that he would put a temporary halt on Muslims coming to America. Those measures would be just a tiny dent in the white/other quotient, but the movement would be in the direction Trump voters want.
The professional politicians, especially the professional Democratic politicians, discount Trump’s proposals as impractical. But even though they’d be just a tiny dent, the movement would be in the direction Trump voters want, and he can then plot the next move in making American whiter.
They’ve missed the point, the pundits. Previously, no American politician would have dared to say such an un-American thing out loud. Donald Trump had the balls to say it, and white people, many of them, applaud his cahunas. They think of Trump as the one man in America who can stall the coming demographic shift and maybe even halt it altogether, with whatever scary stuff that might entail.
I don’t want to be vague here, or I’ll sound like the very people I ridiculed up top. Trump voters, white Trump voters, see in Trump a man who can unapologetically order the measures it would take. to achieve their goal. They’ve seen how Trump ordered protesters out of his rallies, they’ve heard Trump use wiseguy language to bully protesters, and they’ve witnessed Trump supporters attack protesters. Trump has established his association with violence in the campaign, so they expect he can bring that violence into the White House, whatever his policies turn out to be to keep and “make America great again.”
That is what Chris Matthews and the others don’t see, or don’t want to see. They keep talking about Trump’s strategy and how smart the American voters are. If the American voter is the kind of smart that puts Trump in the White House, I see a return of the Weather Underground.