Many Americans shook their heads in 2008 wondering how in the world President Obama was elected when he had told us plainly that he wanted to “fundamentally transform” our country. Then, the perplexity increased when he was reelected in 2012 long after his radical policies and disdain for the Constitution were abundantly evident. Unbelievably, after suffering through the effrontery of the Obama Administration’s arrogance and his flaunting of executive actions instead of bipartisanship, the nation is now enthralled with Donald Trump’s bombastic, flamboyant, but empty promises – based solely on his ability to capitalize on the public’s anger and to manipulate people’s fears, rather than specific policy proposals or potential for effective constitutional governance -- to come in and liberate us from the overweening government bureaucrats with their endless thirst for control and restore America’s greatness. The Washington Post summarized the situation by claiming that Donald Trump is giving the establishment (on both Capitol Hill and K Street) the “middle finger” and “his supporters love it.” One analyst likened Trump to a parasite eating up the host; another called him America’s “Fatal Attraction.”Ed Driscoll had some thoughts over at Instapundit:
PC Education: Emotions and feelings are important and hard thinking is rarely taught or experienced. Politically Correct language is the norm; nothing can be allowed that offends the proliferating collection of victims on the Left.
Cultural Disintegration: There is no way to overstate the influence of the media and entertainment industries in shaping attitudes and values. In many respects both Obama and Trump are products of the media. President and Mrs. Obama have been media darlings since their earliest days on the national scene. With his ability to play to the crowd, Trump is always good for headlines. Neither man sees a distinction between politics and entertainment.
The rise of Trump and the fall of free speech in academia are equal signs that we are losing the intellectual sturdiness and honesty without which a republic cannot thrive.
As with Obama in 2008, whatever his many transgressions, it’s tough to complain about Trump intuitively understanding that today’s pop culture was built for him to exploit to the fullest. “Years from now they’ll say: the center didn’t hold. The tree was hollow. All it took was one hard push from a virtuoso demagogue,” Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal writes on Twitter. Ah, but which one?
Angelo Codevilla is concerned that Trump would be another Obama:
Obama has been our first emperor. A Donald Trump presidency, far from reversing the ruling class’s unaccountable hold over American life, would seal it. Because Trump would act as our second emperor, he would render well-nigh impossible our return to republicanism.
For two centuries, the government’s main decisions have happened through open congressional proceedings and recorded votes. That’s the republic we used to have.
Neither Obama nor Trump seem to know or care that cycles of reciprocal resentment, of insults and injuries paid back with ever more interest and ever less concern for consequences, are the natural fuel of revolutions—easy to start and soon impossible to stop. America’s founders, steeped in history as few of our contemporaries are, were acutely aware of how easily factional enmities deliver free peoples into the hands of emperors. America is already advanced in this vicious cycle. The only possible chance of returning it to republicanism lies in not taking the next turn, and in not following one imperial ruler with another.
Contrary to that perspective, this author explains that Trump has experienced healthy humiliations which have had beneficial effect:
My guess is that Trump was a badly spoiled brat, a kind of would-be narcissist. His father sent him to a military academy, where every cadet is humiliated over and over again, and then built up by earning respect for meeting tough challenges every day, like Marine Corps training.Hard to know for sure, but certainly interesting. It's also interesting to watch foreigners ignoring the obvious:
The only thing that can cure NPD is a long diet of bloody noses. They don’t respond to talking therapy, but let them run into the same brick wall over and over again, and they can learn to grow up. Trump entered the military academy as a snot-nosed troublemaker, and four years later emerged as the head of the cadet corps. It took a lot of bloody noses to get there.
The difference from Obama is that long history of painful setbacks and comebacks. Obama has always been surrounded by adoring fans, and still has genuine trouble dealing with setbacks. What Freud called the Reality Principle is the key to responsible adulthood.
“Europeans are trying to wrap their heads around Trump’s popularity…with little success.”
Other than their version of the MSM completely failing them (which is always a possibility when dealing with old media), I don’t understand why not.