Professional hack David Brooks is off and running again:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the best imaginable Trump voter. This is the Trump supporter who wasn’t motivated by racism or bigotry. This is the one who cringed every time Donald Trump did something cruel, vulgar or misogynistic.
But then voted for him anyway. Go on, Mr. Brooks:
But this voter needed somebody to change the systems that are failing her. She needed somebody to change the public school system that serves the suburban children of professors, journalists and lawyers but has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid. She needed some way to protect herself from the tech executives who give exciting speeches about disruption but don’t know anything about the people actually being disrupted.
Her kids are under-skilled? Science-denying Republicans pushing anti-evolution curricula might have had something to do with it. Her kids are underpaid, you say? So she voted for the party that has vehemently opposes a minimum wage hike? Well, okay. A lot of Republican voters vote against their own interests. Suddenly this person doesn’t seem so imaginary. But continue:
She is one of those people whom Joan C. Williams writes about in The Harvard Business Review who admires rich people but disdains professionals — the teachers who condescend to her, the doctors who don’t make time for her, the activists whose definition of social justice never seems to include the suffering people like her experience.
So this completely imaginary voter is angry at the real, tangible people in her life who have helped her, however marginally (the doctors who “don’t make time for her,” because, what? they’re busy? and the teachers who condescend to her, even though if every teacher you ever had condescended to you, odds are the problem is you?), but admires billionaires (sorry, “job creators”) who move manufacturing overseas, want to privatize Medicare and social security and K-12 education, repeal Obamacare, eliminate time-and-half overtime pay, reduce their own tax rates while shifting the burden to people like her, among other things? This voter also apparently missed the Tea Party, which is still very much alive and has elected officials in office all over the country. Why, the Tea Party even managed to elect a governor in Kansas who essentially bankrupted the state!
This voter wants a philosophic change of course, and Trump offers that, too. The two party establishments are mired in their orthodoxies, but Trump and his appointees are embodiments of the nationalism espoused by Pat Buchanan, the most influential public intellectual in America today.
Pat Buchanan. He thinks Pat Buchanan is the most influential public intellectual in America today. No words.
Buchanan’s organizing worldview is embodied in visceral form in the person of Steve Bannon.
“The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia,” Bannon said in his Hollywood Reporter interview. The new political movement, he said, is “everything related to jobs.”
He vowed to drive conservatives crazy with a gigantic spending program to create jobs. He vowed to use that money to create a new New Deal that will win over 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote, creating a neo-Jacksonian majority that will govern for 50 years.
That same Steve Bannon also had this to say in that Hollywood Reporter interview:
“Darkness is good,” says Bannon. […] “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they” — I believe by “they” he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — “get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”
Not to mention that this voter has to be really, truly imaginary if he thinks they’re somehow informed enough to know about Bannon’s economic fantasies but somehow missed out on all the insane ‘articles’ regularly published under Bannon’s watch at Breitbart. Or maybe those articles just made her cringe.
But put all that aside. Brooks is arguing that this imaginary voter cast her ballot for Trump because she believed he could somehow fix every grievance in her immediate day-to-day life, and in doing so helped hand the Republicans the House and the Senate, not to mention multiple Supreme Court nominees. She voted for the party that is in large part responsible for the grievances she believes she’s voting to remedy.
There are at least another half dozen stupid comments in his column, but it’d be waste to expend energy going after each one. This won’t be the last time a Brooks takedown appears on this blog. But I don’t want to let this one go:
We’ve arrived at the moment of actual governing. We’ve arrived at the moment when Trump has to turn his vague notions into concrete proposals.
You can extrapolate a little bit here what he’s saying, and it’s something others who are trying to reassure people that Trump might be dead in the water. He’s saying that Trump has to manifest a lot of the ridiculous promises he made before the election, otherwise his supporters will turn on him. Inevitably some will—that’s a given. But what I really want to know is what Brooks and others like him will say if and when Trump fails to, for example, throw Hillary in jail, build a wall that Mexico pays for, bring back jobs (not any specific number of any certain profession to any specific region, just jobs), ‘drain the swamp’ of bureaucrats and lobbyists and establishmentarians, rip up the Iran nuclear deal, repeal Obamacare and replace it ‘with something terrific,’ destroy ISIS… well, you get the point. If Trump fails on multiple fronts and all we’re left with is a Republican-controlled congress run amok and a president who tweets about how awful the media is and, ultimately, a far-right awakening that brings racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and bigotry in general into the realm of acceptable discourse and action, will Brooks’ imaginary voter refuse to vote for him again? Better yet, will Brooks understand that he played a part in that normalization process? I doubt it. Fingers crossed, but I doubt it.