The Twilight of the Elites

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, resurrecting Mitt Romney to denounce 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.  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.

5 thoughts on “The Twilight of the Elites

  1. As Sherlock Holmes said, there is no substitute for data. Until there are new polls taken after last weekend, the effect of Trump’s latest outburst cannot be estimated. I do hope that he will be on the stage when the ten highest ranking candidates have their joint campaign appearances on Fox News, and that he created major problems for all nine of the others. I do not want him to be toast just yet. Josh Marshall’s opinion is going to be better than most, but it remains a matter of speculation until more facts are in.

  2. I am under the belief that Trump is a deliberate distraction. I can all but guarantee that he will drop out of the race once Walker captures a few early primaries. The Kochs aren’t going to invest in nearly a billion dollars with any intent to lose. Sound too conspiracy minded? Perhaps. But can anyone honestly believe Trump wants to be President? C’mon, that job involves waaaay too much work for his liking.

    In order for Walker to work his magic, he needs a distraction so people don’t see what he’s really doing. Walker’s only real threat is Jeb. Trump has made Jeb his target several times, but has barely made mention of Walker. I find it odd, that since Walker is still at or near the top in many polls, but unless I missed it, I haven’t heard anything from him regarding Trump. Yet Jeb and all the rest are “aghast” while Walker quietly extends his lead in Iowa.

    Plus think about it. A billion dollars can get one more ads than all the networks can actually provide time for. Perhaps a portion of that (almost) billion is being paid to some doofus who knew he would be losing some sponsorships. Can Trump really be a team player? He certainly knows how to BS people. If you’ve ever read one of his books, you’d know that.

    Yes, it’s all circumstantial. I’m not even totally convinced, but I really believe Trump is not in this race to win it. The first debate may provide more fodder for this possibility. It may be more important to hear what isn’t said rather than what is said.

    • //I am under the belief that Trump is a deliberate distraction.// I say no way. He’s too much of a narcissist to be anybody’s tool. I think what we’re seeing in Trump is genuine sociopathy, possibly combined with just enough of the early stages of dementia to remove his better judgments. And if I’m right about the latter, he really isn’t thinking clearly about the job.

  3. Narcissistic Sociopath seems like an appropriate label. It is difficult for me to consider him a serious candidate, but the boorish behavior obviously appeals to some of the Republican demographic.

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