Friday, February 26, 2016

Someone to Watch Over Me

I think there's a tendency among those of us who have college educations of a certain type to look at people we don't understand as an anthropologist might, as a case study. It's a condescending way to look at the world and every time I find myself doing it, I start to cringe a little bit.

Some of our loftier observers are starting to say things that mesh with what our friend Gino has been trying to tell us. I quoted the piece from Bill James earlier in the week. Now here's another smart take from the invaluable John Hayward:
Identification has been Trump’s secret weapon all along. Sure, he’s entertaining, and he did an absolutely amazing job of demolishing the other candidates, back when there were 16 of them. He turned Jeb “Shock and Awe” Bush into a $150 million firecracker that sputtered for a while without ever going off. He made A-list pundits look like fools for confidently declaring that some other candidate had “destroyed” or “castrated” him during previous debates.

He threw down the iron gates of political correctness, shrugging off gaffes that should have terminated any other campaign. The mainstream media – Hillary Clinton’s little helpers – were like the surveillance tank crew in Independence Day, reporting with awe and dismay the results of a nuclear strike on the alien warship over Houston: “The target remains.”

Trump’s confidence sells very well after years of Barack Obama’s abject failure and corruption, his endless lowering of the standards America sets for both its leadership and itself. After years of being told to accept the incompetent execution of billion-dollar projects, zero accountability for abuses of power, foreign policy that made America a joke to its enemies and a menace to its friends, and a New Normal of economic mediocrity, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” really is a hell of a rallying cry. It’s exactly what people want to hear, especially Republicans dejected over party leadership even worse than Obama’s national leadership.
That's part of it, but there's more, especially the condescension. Back to Hayward:
Granted, the likely Democrat candidate this time around is a charisma-free robot with no discernible skill at lying despite a lifetime of practice, but identification will be forcibly manufactured for Hillary Clinton by her friends, donors, and former employees in the media. Literally half the country will be instructed to vote for her because she has the same genitalia they do, while any man who dreams of voting with the same criteria will be made to feel ashamed of himself. The Democrats’ dependency army cares about nothing except keeping their benefits coming, and would vote for a bowling ball with a wig on it.

It’s not easy to create a natural sense of identification that can overwhelm those advantages, but Trump seems able to do it… perhaps even with a decent number of Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters who seriously loathe Clinton, and feel betrayed by the outcome of the Democrats’ rigged primary. It’s hard to imagine Cruz building a rapport with those folks, and Rubio will probably fare only a little better, once the Democrat media finishes smearing him as the Hispanic Uncle Tom. (That’s what Telemundo Lady’s job was last night, in case you nodded off during her diatribes.)

Trump critics comfort themselves by dismissing his supporters as fools and vicious fringe types, which doesn’t seem like a very good strategy for winning them over… and it’s factually incorrect, as clearly demonstrated by Trump’s victory margins. If you think he’s winning by appealing to some lunatic fringe, you are simply wrong, and your error can be empirically demonstrated with both Super Tuesday polling and the cold, hard results of primaries gone by.  
Emphasis in the original. I still don't think it ends well, but I understand the sentiments. This is not unfeeling rage, or racism, or any of the other things that I am obliged to decry. Go back to what Gino said earlier in the week on the long comment post:
Trump is hope for a lot of people in my class.
they love their country, and the middle-class life they used to have. they don't want to burn it down, they want to make it great again... but most of all, they want to feel safe again. they don't feel safe, and haven't for a long time. lose a factory job in your 40's, where will you find another with the skills you've developed?
It's a plutocrat thing. Trump operates in that world, which is why I'm suspicious of him, but he has a lot of outer borough in him. He's New York, but he's not Manhattan. He's Queens. He's not Edina, or Lake of the Isles, or Mac Groveland. He's Robbinsdale. He's Oakdale. He speaks directly to a constituency that national Republicans are loath to acknowledge. And more people than we know are hearing the message. And taking an anthropological view of things doesn't help.

George and Ira Gershwin were on this ninety years ago:

Won't you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh, how I need
Someone to watch over me

They don't feel safe and haven't for a long time. We'd better keep listening.


Gino said...

Working today ( yay for overtime) will get a comment for ya later.

Gino said...

I think there's a tendency among those of us who have college educations of a certain type to look at people we don't understand as an anthropologist might,

i see this often, especially saw it during the blog days. the callous attitude, borderline hateful even, towards those who are deemed not 'as smart' on the basis of where they live (cultural identity), and/or lack of higher education... and from people who i always thought should know better.

i recently unfriended a pal from the old days, in large part because of this. His MS in Physics (and his wife's Phd in Psychology) ((and they made sure you knew of their higher education level, too)) taught him and her a lot, but it didnt teach humanity, compassion, or humility. Their politics are so left wing and hateful that i blocked their posts two yrs ago, and just kept in touch through chats and the ocassional meet up. though nothing was directed at me personally, i just decided that I dont want too many unkind people in my life... and deleted all contact, even from the phone.

now, for the politics of this election/Trumpism:

i am reminded of the movie Braveheart, when having secured the commitment of the nobles to the fight, the scots are lined up for a tough battle against the king's army... and the nobles leave the field when the battle starts... having sold out their people in exchange for greater wealth gifted by the king.

kinda like what the GOPe did to their blue collar voters. their fate should be the same.

R.A. Crankbait said...

"Teh stupid" ridicule of non-conformists was insulting enough coming from the Democrat/liberals; it was unforgivable coming from one's own presumptive party. Payback, as they say, can be a real Trump.