It strikes me that the “elite” of both of our political parties are showing signs of being out of touch with their bases.
Democratic Party insiders have cruised along these past several years assuming that 2016 will be a Hillary Clinton coronation; no other candidates need apply. Odds are still high that HRC will get the nomination, but Bernie Sanders is making her work for it.
But the Dems long have been out of touch with the base; I’ve said for years that the Dem establishment acts as if it doesn’t want to be seen with actual progressive activists in public. The vast chasm between the Republican establishment and the schmos who vote for Republican candidates is a relatively new thing.
Right now I’m seeing all kinds of headlines from right-wing sources and mainstream media saying that the Trump campaign is toast. As I wrote yesterday, and as Josh Marshall writes today, the elites may be in for a shock.
Let’s not forget: these are supporters who have cheered Trump as he’s called Mexicans rapists and criminals and all the rest. They don’t have delicate sensibilities. Let’s also not forget that these kinds of attacks on McCain (actually considerably uglier ones) have a long history among hard-core base Republicans, just the folks Trump is spiking with. They claim he had a lackluster career before his capture (some real truth in that) and they hint he may have been turned in some way by captors or betrayed his fellow POWs during his captivity (zero evidence for this). But even beyond the hard-core fringe that believes those things, McCain is just really not popular with base Republicans, especially not those who define themselves around the immigration issue. He’s the ultimate RINO. All of which is to say, if you’re someone who’s cheered to Trump’s clown car of aggression and derp over recent weeks, I see little here that will make you reconsider your enthusiasm. In fact, I see a lot that will make you see this as more of a brash truth-teller who won’t take any crap from the Republican establishment, the media or its favored leaders.
At the risk of stating the obvious,Â resurrecting Mitt Romney to denounceÂ Trump or having Jeb or the increasingly hapless Reince Priebus do so is unlikely to shift this perception of what’s going on.
This might shock Reince Priebus, but I doubt many of the hard-core rightie base know who he is. See also Steve M’s roundup of rightie reaction to Trump’s McCain bashing.
Ten and more years ago, the people directing Republican politics could play their voters like a fiddle. About ten years ago I thought I saw the beginning of some fissures regarding the issue of immigration, but that was about it.Â Now, nobody seems to be in charge. The Wall Street Journal and National Review are denouncing Trump in no uncertain terms. But who the bleep reads the Wall Street Journal and National Review? Not the GOP base, I don’t think.
See, the base likes its assholery pure and undiluted. The elites are more sensitive, at least when one of their own are being slimed. Other people, not so much. But with the elites, selective hate speech is a means to an end. With the base, the hate speech is the end.