Domestic Affairs

Trump Won Voters Exactly Where He Needed Them

Last week, at The Catholic Herald, I analyzed Trump’s Midwestern victory more closely:

In the northeast and midwest, Trump won because he performed well in important counties that Mitt Romney, the previous Republican presidential nominee, had lost. Republicans turned out for Trump in the suburbs and rural towns of these states, creating long lines at many of the polls. Together with a poor Democratic turnout for Hillary Clinton and help from many Democratic cross-over voters in these areas, Trump achieved his upset victory.

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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.

Conservatives Conserving Failure

Sometimes I watch The Five on Fox News. Oddly, the one who raises my blood pressure the most is not the orthodox liberal Juan Williams — there is a soothing predictability to Juan that forces me to like him — but the nominal conservative Dana Perino.

Perino doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of what’s unfolding before us in the forms of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She strikes me as one of those people who think this election season a mere glitch — a short circuit that the dirty, uneducated lower classes have caused in a system that is otherwise functional.

Actually, that might be the strongest sense in which Perino is a conservative: she thinks that once November 8, 2016, comes and goes, the Republican Party can go back to doing business the way it did before Trump descended the escalator at his eponymous tower last year. (more…)

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…)