Monday, August 10, 2015




On Friday’s radio show, I argued that Donald Trump’s closest analogue in pop culture is the Sun Eater – a creature that destroys entire worlds and universes, not out of any particular spite, but because it is what he exists to do. (The handful of listeners who responded with questions about who will be the Republican Ferro Lad, the man of metal who destroys himself to save the universe, are to be praised for their knowledge of DC comics.)  What this means is that it should be possible, as some conservatives are now seeking to do, to both loathe Trump and adore his apex of blowhard approach to the modern goat rodeo that is politics.  Whoever knew the Sweet Meteor of Death would be so entertaining when personified, or have such fine golden hair?

As Mytheos Holt writes today, this is why Trump is the perfect candidate for an age of trigger warnings, speech codes, and state-enforced political correctness.  “Since the Republican implosion in the 2012 election, much of American political discourse has centered not so much on whether particular ideas are wrong as on whether they can be expressed at all. Sometimes this approach has helped to root out genuine ideological cranks, but it’s also a style that has clearly favored the Left more than the Right. Witness the constant barrage of arguments that people who dissent from leftist causes are on the “wrong side of history,” as if history is something that can be predicted in advance like the weather… [T]he Left, high on their own success, has not just overextended this argument: it has strapped it to the rack and dislocated its limbs. The idea that certain sentiments can’t be expressed without branding you as an artifact of a dark and unenlightened past has entered the realm of self-parody.”

The problem, of course, is keeping Donald Trump’s supporters as part of the coalition of the right as he inevitably fades. At this early stage, Trump has likely already put a ceiling on how much support he can receive. But that support is real, not just an expression of anger but of disgust with the political system and the American ruling class.  How Republicans synthesize that rage and frustration into their coalition without breaking the other aspects they need to maintain in order to win is the hard part.

Where I would encourage those worried about Trump’s impact to check their anxiousness is in this basic truth: he’s not really running a campaign. He and Roger Stone couldn’t work together because Stone had the audacity to tell him internet polls aren’t real. He has a few scattered hires here and there, and he has dominated the media cycles for weeks, but media cycles aren’t the same as actually getting people to vote for you, and publicity is not synonymous with politics. In the end, the ultimate determinant in whether Trump’s presence is good or bad for the right is all about how the first question in the first debate, and how he loses. So long as Trump stays within the GOP and does not seek to take his followers elsewhere, there is little bad to come out of this for the party. It’s only if he seeks to destroy it that Republicans will have to find their Ferro Lad.

RELATED: Donald Trump is a problem that will solve itself.  The Trump campaign has descended into civil war—even Ivanka has gotten involved.  Donald Trump once proposed the biggest tax hike ever.  Donald Trump and the American id.  The GOP debate view from Trump HQ in NH.  Trump’s Redstate meltdown.   Trump’s abortion pivot.

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