Culture

Who Are the Midwestern Voters Who Supported Trump?

At The Catholic Herald, I write about how Donald Trump won by appealing to middle-class voters in the Midwest:

Many are of these voters are registered Democrats. They tend to be moderate – usually left of centre on economics but often socially and culturally conservative. There’s no room for them in the modish party of 2016. Journalists and politicians acquire no social status by writing about their troubles. These men and women are openly mocked and ridiculed by the centres of cultural power in America: the media, the universities, and the entertainment industry. They’re milked for votes and tax dollars and then told they’re too “privileged” to have any legitimate grievances.

In the past, they rallied around Ronald Reagan – the famous “Reagan Democrats.” Later many coalesced around insurgent candidates like Ross Perot or Pat Buchanan. Now many simply stay home and don’t vote. But many also voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 – one of the perplexing details for journalists who believe racial animus explains everything.

Teenage Journalism

In case you missed it, Mike Pence’s dog died a few weeks ago, and here’s how the malicious imps at Jezebel headlined their piece:

An October Surprise for Mike Pence’s Dog: Death

The blog post, to which I refuse to link, leads with this sentence: “Tragedy has befallen the Trump-Pence campaign, which was already struggling, and it comes in the form of that tiny, pup-sized grim reaper who comes for all doggies eventually.”

A picture of Pence and his wife smiling with their dog follows.

As you can see, Jezebel is lower than rat droppings on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. This kind of “journalism” is sadly common. In the last, say, ten years, we’ve seen the rise of what I call Teenage Journalism. This phenomenon is not limited to the United States. I’ve also noticed it in British journalism, an industry with which I’m thoroughly familiar and in which I currently work — though it’s not nearly as acute over in Blighty.

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The People v. Pundits United

This electoral season has confirmed to me that the entire industry of opinion journalism is a con. Commit this to memory: it is not journalism. It is an elaborate game of social posturing and status jockeying, in which writers prove they are acceptable to other writers by constantly reaffirming the cultural values of their in-group.

It’s why liberal and conservative pundits sound the same these days. Once you understand that the purpose of contemporary journalism is not to inform the people, but to ingratiate oneself with the right kind of people, you begin to see the contours of our national malaise.

It’s also one reason Trump made it so far. The pundit class is a symbol, to all kinds of voters, of our civilization’s enduring cultural rot. If you make your living as a carpenter or janitor, you’re not likely to have much respect for a sealed-off class of idle scribblers who make money solely off their opinions. This is especially true if those scribblers, whether “left” or “right,” think you’re an unwashed malcontent. (more…)

Why “Left” and “Right” Are Outdated Political Terms

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In the July 15 issue of The Catholic Herald, I write about how our concepts of “left” and “right” are Cold War-era relics. The rupture of these obsolete ideas is behind the current breakdown in conventional politics in both the United States and the United Kingdom:

Millions of Americans and Britons don’t accept a bipartisan consensus that was formed without their input or permission. Its partisans grew so resistant to reform they treated their own citizens as a kind of plague to be contained in the hinterlands, not as stakeholders with genuine concerns.

How did this mushy consensus come about? That’s a difficult question. One thing’s for certain: The political elite misread the fall of communism. They thought, as the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama did, that history had ended, and that at the climax of this great Hegelian unfolding was a Western liberal democracy that would never die.

This bred arrogant complacency – the belief that you could sit back, relax and think only about small matters like tax rates. Why worry about immigration? After all, history was over. We had won. The little people would soon see how glorious the future would be.

Read the whole thing here.