The tan­ger­ine tor­nado

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Daniel Th­waites is an at­tor­ney-at-law. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­

AFUNNY-LOOKING, foul-mouthed, re­al­ity-TV star, multi­bil­lion­aire New York lib­eral demo­crat has sin­gle­hand­edly up­ended the political sys­tem in the United States. He is an 800lb al­pha-male orangutan who an­nounced at the out­set that he would win, im­pressed enough of the troupe with out­landish demon­stra­tions of dom­i­nance, bul­lied and dis­man­tled his com­peti­tors with dev­as­tat­ing nick­names, then won!

It’s as if King Kong, in­stead of swat­ting planes from atop the Em­pire State Build­ing, was sit­ting safely in the mid­town Man­hat­tan Trump Tower pent­house, but then de­cided the last thing on his bucket list was the pres­i­dency. And he has seized it.

Born into mul­ti­ple mil­lions, he now has mul­ti­ple bil­lions. He started at the top, then went higher. His star­dom al­lows him to grab women by the front-bot­tom. He says and does what he wants. His wife, nat­u­rally, is an East­ern Euro­pean slinky fox who barely speaks English. What’s not to hate?

Orig­i­nally the butt of jokes about his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions, last Thurs­day he was chill­ing with Obama hav­ing a civil dis­cus­sion, while Me­la­nia was won­der­ing what colour drapes she wants in the White House.

The Tan­ger­ine Tor­nado is tak­ing over. World, get used to the com­bover! Ac­tu­ally, this guy’s hair is a per­fect metaphor for his cam­paign (and Amer­ica, for that mat­ter): brash, colour­fully loud, more than slightly un­couth, sloppy, and bigly un­for­get­table. So put that be­side the economic mes­sage and is it so sur­pris­ing that he is now the cho­sen one?

How? Well, be­fore the stun­ning elec­toral out­come, lib­eral demo­crat Michael Moore praised Trump as “the hu­man Molo­tov cock­tail” vot­ers would hurl at the political Es­tab­lish­ment. Trump told Ford ex­ec­u­tives that if they moved car pro­duc­tion to Mex­ico, he would charge them a 35 per cent im­port tax. The ex­ec­u­tives hated him; the work­ers were ec­static.

Part rea­son for his vic­tory was ex­tra­or­di­nary lucky, mainly be­cause of the ar­ro­gance of his op­po­nents in the me­dia, Hol­ly­wood, academia, poll­sters, and the Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic par­ties.


The Clin­ton col­lapse was ex­tra­or­di­nary. While ini­tial elec­toral re­sults were rolling in, the ven­er­a­ble New York Times was giv­ing Hil­lary more than an 85 per cent chance of vic­tory. But vot­ers in Ohio, Iowa, Penn­syl­va­nia, Michi­gan, and Wis­con­sin stayed home or switched over to Trump, putting the Elec­toral Col­lege out of her reach.

While I don’t dis­count a racial com­po­nent to peo­ple’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing, it is an un­de­served calumny to sim­ply dis­miss these souls as mere red­necks. Af­ter all, they voted Obama into of­fice. Ev­ery­thing shows that very many of these peo­ple dis­liked Trump, but dis­liked Hil­lary even more. And what of the blacks and Lati­nos who, again, con­ven­tional wis­dom pre­dicted would be en­er­get­i­cally op­posed to Trump, but in­stead gave him im­proved per­cent­ages over Rom­ney or McCain?

Trump is an equal-op­por­tu­nity in­sul­ter, and the tone of his cam­paign has alarmed a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing, un­for­tu­nately, a siz­able group that de­light in be­ing alarmed. But when you strip away the hys­te­ria, his cri­te­rion for so­cial in­clu­sion seems to be “cit­i­zen­ship”. If you’re a cit­i­zen, you count; if you’re not, you don’t. That ap­proach vi­o­lates some sa­cred tenets of Demo­cratic lib­eral in­ter­na­tion­al­ism and Repub­li­can free-mar­ket ven­er­a­tion, and it has earned him the en­mity of those who cling to those creeds. Be­ing Catholic, I don’t think of it as an ideal way of clas­si­fy­ing peo­ple, but you can imag­ine its in­tu­itive ap­peal to those who feel their gov­ern­ment has con­sis­tently sold them out.

The key to what has un­folded, I think, is in the Demo­cratic Party’s con­fu­sion on breadand-but­ter economics and its ob­ses­sion with iden­tity pol­i­tics griev­ances. The sec­u­lar ide­ol­ogy of so­cial en­gi­neer­ing that is now the pre­ferred re­li­gion of the coastal elite is alien to the av­er­age voter. The lib­eral elite strug­gling to ex­plain the Trump phe­nom­e­non need to take a hard look in the mir­ror.

Among the most in­ci­sive analyses of the elec­tion re­sults ap­peared in the Washington Post, un­der the pen of Ford­ham Univer­sity’s Charles Camosy:

“The most im­por­tant di­vide in this elec­tion was not be­tween whites and non-whites. It was be­tween those who are of­ten re­ferred to as ‘ed­u­cated’ vot­ers and those who are de­scribed as ‘work­ing class’ vot­ers.”


He points to the mono­lithic and in­su­lar cul­ture per­pet­u­ated by the uni­ver­si­ties, teach­ing their stu­dents to see the work­ing class as un­in­formed and stupid. While ob­ses­sively non-judgemental about sur­face-level ‘di­ver­sity’, they’re ac­tu­ally clueless and them­selves dan­ger­ously ig­no­rant about peo­ple who re­ally hold al­ter­na­tive val­ues and norms.

In short, Democrats have aban­doned the con­cerns of work­ing fam­i­lies to pur­sue the phan­tasms and wind­mills of cul­tural Marx­ism, which is why their in­doc­tri­nated stu­dents are stag­ing cry-ins while their mo­ronic pro­fes­sors can­cel classes to mourn.

Demo­cratic self-su­pe­ri­or­ity and hubris peaked with the Demo­cratic National Com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion that it was Hil­lary’s turn to be foisted on to the pub­lic de­spite her deep un­pop­u­lar­ity. As Wik­iLeaks re­vealed, the DNC cor­ruptly locked out Bernie San­ders, even to the point of ac­quir­ing and shar­ing pri­mary de­bate ques­tions with Hil­lary be­fore­hand. And re­mem­ber, Hil­lary had never be­fore faced the polls, ex­cept in the Demo­cratic gar­ri­son of New York, when ev­ery­one knows that to win the pres­i­dency you have to cap­ture swing vot­ers in swing states.

Which ge­nius, then, de­cided it was wise to run the wife of the man most closely iden­ti­fied with the dev­as­ta­tion of NAFTA when you had to win the rust-belt states? Are we to blame the vot­ers there be­cause they didn’t sim­ply for­get their de­mo­tion from the mid­dle class? Or ought we to look to the party that aban­doned them?

The sil­ver lin­ing to this cloud is that Trump over­turned the Repub­li­cans as well. In the be­gin­ning, they laughed at his can­di­dacy. It was com­mon knowl­edge that it would go for a while, in­crease his tele­vi­sion rat­ings, then evap­o­rate from whence it came. As he sys­tem­at­i­cally de­stroyed each op­po­nent and roared ahead in the polls, de­ri­sion turned to anger, and anger soon evolved into panic. Along the way there were re­sound­ing and un­for­get­table de­nun­ci­a­tions that, de­pend­ing on the Repub­li­can jeremiah, he wasn’t re­ally a so­cial con­ser­va­tive or, ac­tu­ally, even an economic one.

The hope now is that they were right, and that he turns out to be prag­ma­tist. The con­cil­ia­tory tone of his first few pub­lic ap­pear­ances as pres­i­dent-elect points in that di­rec­tion. But who knows? The “hu­man Molo­tov cock­tail” could ex­plode.

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