TO THE EXTENT THAT A MAN may be judged by his enemies, Donald Trump is a very good man, indeed. And the more extended and successful his campaign becomes, the more it proves that everything he has ever said about the conjoined political and media establishments in America is spot on, beginning with his charge that they are fundamentally dishonest, shamefully careless with the truth, outright liars, and really not very bright in the way of people who have long since sacrificed their ability to read human nature to their rooted instinct for propaganda.
Since last July, Trump has demonstrated one simple human truth, if he has demonstrated anything: Propaganda and mental and emotional manipulation from on high have their limits, beyond which people revolt—and keep on revolting. Participants in the anti-Trump movement on both sides of what is disingenuously called “the partisan divide” casually assume that Trump is a “racist,” as if it were a truth universally acknowledged. This long-standing charge dates from his observation early in the campaign that immigrants from Mexico are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Ann Coulter, in ¡Adiós, America!, had abundantly documented this charge (though Trump, apparently not having read the book, forfeited the opportunity to back up his statement with the damning details). Yet Trump explicitly conceded that not all Mexican immigrants are criminals—and anyway Mexicans are not a “race,” La Raza to the contrary. (Much less are “Latinos” and “Hispanics,” both terms being political catch-alls intended to suggest unity and homogeneity where there is none—artificial racial groupings.) And from the start of his campaign Trump has had precisely nothing to say about blacks—or Asians, or Jews, or any other group except Muslims, whose religion has historically been multiracial, multicultural, and multinational. Trump is also routinely accused of threatening “equal rights,” without a shred of evidence to support the charge; such was the theme of the violent, largely Mexican riot outside his headquarters in Southern California in late April. The following week Ross Douthat, in his op-ed column in the New York Times, wrote that Trump is “clearly running to be an American caudillo”—immediately after acknowledging the “[e]xecutive-branch Caesarism” that characterized the Bush and Obama presidencies, whose military adventurism Trump routinely condemns. In the same issue of the Times , the editors employed the straw-man strategy Trump’s opponents alternate with their smear tactics by “reporting” that no one wants to be Trump’s running mate—not even Jeb Bush! (Needless to say, when the moment for choosing arrives, plenty of candidates will present themselves for this unpleasant and degrading job.)
The British press, including emphatically the conservative press, is horrified by Donald Trump, whom they plainly consider a dangerous man in politics. This reaction is at least partly explained by a passage in Democracy Needs Aristocracy, by the English journalist Peregrine Worsthorne: “Old-fashioned courtesy, of course, is a part of civility, since good manners ameliorate the strain that accompanies the risks and dangers, the losses and injuries, of an economically, politically, and intellectually competitive society in which some people are bound to lose . . . ” This is a very British, perhaps quintessentially English, attitude that a politician like Trump obviously offends against. But he is running for the presidency in 21st-century America, which seems to have had its fill of a false public restraint that masks the aggressive ambition and Caesarism beneath, and Donald Trump’s huge contribution so far to American politics is to refuse to wear that mask. When addressing the deaf, Flannery O’Connor observed, you must shout, and for the blind you must draw bold pictures. This is Donald Trump’s strategy as a political candidate. So far, it has served him very well.Originally Published by Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture MAY 05, 2016