The invaluable Jon Gabriel, from his perch at Ricochet, concerning the NeverTrumpers still out and about:
There’s an old maxim in marketing: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Likewise, no reader will take advice from a pundit who despises them.Right. And even David Brooks is starting to figure it out:
Part of the problem is that anti-Trumpism has a tendency to be insufferably condescending. For example, my colleague Thomas B. Edsall beautifully summarized the recent academic analyses of what personality traits supposedly determine Trump support.Yep. That approach is going to be persuasive. There's more:
Trump opponents, the academics say, are open-minded and value independence and novelty. Trump supporters, they continue, are closed-minded, change-averse and desperate for security.
This analysis strikes me as psychologically wrong (every human being requires both a secure base and an open field — we can’t be divided into opposing camps), journalistically wrong (Trump supporters voted for the man precisely because they wanted transformational change) and an epic attempt to offend 40 percent of our fellow citizens by reducing them to psychological inferiors.
The main reason Trump won the presidency is that tens of millions of Americans rightly feel that their local economies are under attack, their communities are dissolving and their religious liberties are under threat. Trump understood the problems of large parts of America better than anyone else. He has been able to strengthen his grip on power over the past year because he has governed as he campaigned.My own NeverTrump stance was predicated on the belief that Trump didn't really care and that it was a put-on. As it turns out, I was wrong about that. The evidence mounts that his concerns are real and genuine. His solutions may not work, but that's a public policy debate, not a personal debate. And for the Left, it's always personal. And almost always ad hominem. I keep seeing college friends who are openly cheering for the old white men who supported Trump (no one else could have, natch) to die so they can have their imagined paradise. I know a lot of old white men who have spent their lives making sacrifices for their families and paying plenty of taxes to support the bien pensant class that would spit on them if given the opportunity. Trump may not succeed; the forces arrayed against him are powerful and persistent. But he wouldn't be in the position he is if the people who claim to be better were actually better.
Until somebody comes up with a better defense strategy, Trump and Trumpism will dominate. Voters are willing to put up with a lot of nonsense for a president they think is basically on their side.