The po­lit­i­cal elite should have seen this com­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Sun­day Freeman colum­nist Alan Char­tock is a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the State Uni­ver­sity of New York, pub­lisher of the Leg­isla­tive Gazette and CEO of the WAMC North­east Pub­lic Ra­dio Net­work. Read­ers can email him at Alan Char­tock Capi­tol Con

In China, it was the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion — Chair­man Mao un­leashed the stu­dents against the academic and cul­tural lead­ers, and by the time it was over, some 10 years later, there was car­nage. Peo­ple were beaten, they lost their jobs, their chil­dren turned against them, and it went on un­til fi­nally peo­ple had enough.

Deep in my bones, I knew this was com­ing. I kept say­ing so to my fel­low pan­elists on our pub­lic ra­dio round­table show. I was told over and over again that I was wrong — that the ground game was all Hil­lary’s, that she had raised more money, and that Trump’s com­ments about women mat­tered. But when one pro-Trump woman was in­ter­viewed on NPR and asked about Trump’s re­marks about women, she said she didn’t re­ally think that he meant it.

The New York Times may have as­sured us that Trump had only a 14 per­cent chance of win­ning, but the ac­tual polls showed a 2-point spread. I kept warn­ing that the polling in the English Brexit vote was an omen de­mon­strat­ing that peo­ple were not telling their poll­sters ev­ery­thing. The anti-im­mi­gra­tion, anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment spread by Trump is alive and well all over the world. Marine Le Pen is spread­ing the same gospel in France and it is work­ing; Don­ald Trump har­nessed that fear and loathing and cap­tured the pres­i­dency with it.

Ac­cord­ing to one pun­dit, Trump un­der­stood that this was the last elec­tion in which a white con­stituency could be mo­bi­lized in a country with in­creas­ing black and brown pop­u­la­tions to make it an “us vs. them” strat­egy. It worked. It was part law and or­der (Gi­u­liani time). It was an ap­peal to evan­gel­i­cals. It was an an­ti­in­tel­lec­tual stance, as in the let­ter that was sent to me ac­knowl­edg­ing that my fears were cor­rect.

“Alan, you were right all along to be wary of the or­ganic anger that Trump tapped into. Peo­ple are tired of the po­lit­i­cal academic elit­ists who be­lieve that they know what’s best for the rest of us.” But it is the last line of his short note sent at 1:49 in the morn­ing that re­ally brought me back to the un­scrupu­lous Mao and his cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion. Our writer says of the po­lit­i­cal academic elite: “They need to take a beat­ing and to learn from it.”

What ex­actly are we to learn from Hil­lary’s loss? Trump re­ceived only one en­dorse­ment from a daily news­pa­per, owned by a con­ser­va­tive ally. Ev­ery other news­pa­per co­a­lesced to warn of the dan­gers ahead if Trump won. Those ed­i­to­ri­als fell on deaf ears. What we have seen is noth­ing less than an anti-in­tel­lec­tual rev­o­lu­tion. Trump has al­ready made it clear that Rudy Gi­u­liani will be his attorney gen­eral. We had a lit­tle pre-taste of what an un­leashed FBI might look like when the leader of that agency doomed the Clin­ton ef­fort with his an­nounce­ment that they were look­ing into Hil­lary’s e-mails, again.

So what to do? Some will go to other coun­tries. In truth, that re­ally may be the right thing to do. Some will stay here and carry on the strug­gle. There are a lot of Holo­caust schol­ars who will tell you that they re­mem­ber just this kind of thing dur­ing the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Now Don­ald Trump tells us that he wants to be pres­i­dent of all the peo­ple. We‘ll see how much Rudy “stop and frisk” Gi­u­liani en­cour­ages. We’ll see how many peo­ple lose their health care.

We’ll see how far prison re­form gets and whether we will con­tinue to in­car­cer­ate dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­bers of peo­ple of color.

Pres­i­dent Obama clearly saw it com­ing. He and Michelle gave it their all un­til the last min­utes of the cam­paign. Hil­lary must have known it as well, as she in­ex­pli­ca­bly called off the fire­works over the Hud­son. Said Michelle, “When they go low, we go high.” Some­times that doesn’t work.

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