Monday 11/14/16

  1. Best yet explanation of Trump
  2. The instantiation of every evil
  3. This stranger, my roommate
  4. Reprise: Trump will win; Trump will be impeached
  5. This BrainDead post-election

1

One of many post-election Rod Dreher blogs made me file I’ve understood last Tuesday’s election better than anything else so far. I’ll give the link in a bit.

But first: Ignore the initial block-quote and the next paragraph; they have virtually nothing to do with the rest of the blog, but seem to function as a sort of conservative version of virtue-signaling — a tacit, up-front disclaimer of thinking that the election of Donald Trump means all is well, lest the remainder of the blog be so interpreted.

It should be no surprise that Dreher draws very heavily on Jonathan Haidt in his Trump, Globalism, Nationalism. (If you click on the July Haidt article Dreher draws on, which I did and recommend, you’ll burn your one-per-month free American Interest article.) I don’t think I’ll even quote or discuss the blog itself much as I don’t think I have much to add.

I’ll say though, that the nationalist explanation of Trump strikes me as better than the idea that Evangelicals, pro-lifers or other moral conservatives elected him; they were part of it, as any successful Presidential campaign needs support from more than one kind of voter, but the social issues related to the sexual revolution strike me in this election as ripples on a tidal wave of nationalism.

But I noticed that a commenter calling himself “Cascadian” is already styling Trump “the Christian’s President” — twice. That seems pretty oblivious since Dreher has effectively just finished showing that Trump is the Nationalists’ President (and why nationalism isn’t morally beyond the pale.

I hope that’s not a hint of progressive and media themes to come, because I think it’s false and I, a #nevertrump conservative Christian (Haidt and Dreher even identify my type pretty well), still think the Trump Presidency is likely to crash in some way or another.

2

Liberals who call Donald Trump anti-gay are doing it only out of reflex, not out of any thoughtful consideration of who the man is and his record, such as it is. A reader pointed out in the comments thread here last night that Trump is the first president in US history to enter office supporting gay marriage.

If you insist on seeing Trump as anti-gay, you simply aren’t paying attention, or you’re the sort of extremist who sees failure to endorse every single thing the activist cadre demands as a sign of bigotry. In which case you’re being an unserious person, and should probably huff off to your safe space and try to come to terms with reality.

(Rod Dreher)

I can’t think of a single thing Donald Trump has done or said that supports any claim that he’s anti-gay. But look at those iconic “Love Trumps Hate” rainbow flags in the photo in Dreher’s article. Apparently we’re to the point in America where one’s political adversary must instantiate every imaginable evil. The right-wing Obama- and Clinton Derangement Disorder sufferers do the same thing.

I think that’s what someone on Facebook was driving at when he injected, in apparent mockery of people earnestly if opportunistically lamenting the Electoral College, that “Trump eats babies. He loves eating babies.”

I’ve lived too long to let idiot opponents of Trump turn me into a supporter, but I hope I retain the intestinal fortitude to defend him from attacks that even he doesn’t deserve.

3

Speaking of “huff[ing] off to your safe space and try to come to terms with reality,” a Muslim New York University freshman does so and then writes about it upon discovering Tuesday night that her roommate supported Donald Trump:

When she outed herself to me as a Trump supporter, I realized I had finally found the “silent majority.” I looked at her, this suddenly strange girl who sleeps a few feet away from me, my college roommate. The silent majority has seen me put on my head scarf in the morning and take it off at night. The silent majority has touched my face, done my makeup, watches “Gilmore Girls” religiously. The silent majority occasionally enjoys sliced mango before bed.

We fought; I packed. This was Tuesday evening, so I headed to my friend’s dorm, where a small group of us, mainly black women, tried to find solace in one another as the country slowly fell to red. I tried and failed to speak, to write. I ignored my roommate’s lengthy texts.

Did she really expect me to respect her choice when her choice undermined my presence in this country, in this university, in my very own dorm room? …

Apparently, there was no tension before this stunning revelation. Her roommate, now revealed as a monster, deceptively treated Ms. Muslim just fine. But now, Ms. Silent Majority is an unperson because “her choice undermined my presence in this country ….”

The whole NYT column is a public display of literal idiocy — self-absorbed, yet exhibitionist (e.g., “I realized that I was seeing the election results as proof of my personal failure as a writer …” — remember, she’s a college freshman).

I never could take non-literal Trump seriously, and I’m not able to take that seriously, either. It’s a kind of blackmail: “If you vote for Trump, you reject me, my very person.” I’ve heard the same identity politics mau-mauing from gays now for a couple of decades: “What do you mean by homosexual ‘conduct’? What do you think it means to be gay!?”

But so far as I can tell, it is they who are rejecting the very persons of those with the temerity to disagree, as in a sign I saw in a Huffington Post article accusing that “Your Vote Was A Hate Crime.”

It’s simply a lie that disagreement implies personal rejection. And it’s also the kind of stuff (I hear plausibly from others) that Trump voters rebelled against. It’s the kind of crap that led David Bernstein say that all the progressive angst is “not irrational” because young progressives assume that the Trump victory signals the conversion of progressive monoculture to <alt-right> monoculture, and what do monocultures do but eradicate the unwanted weeds?

There is such a thing as progressive hegemony/privilege, and it’s terrifying to progressives to think that they’re now going to get as good or better than they gave.

I’m sorry she’s suffering. I thought of wearing a safety pin to reassure her. But je ne suis pas Charlie or other fads, because somebody‘s going to co-op that safety pin symbol for a constellation of disparate progressive principles before you can say “Black Lives Matter.”

4

Allan Lichtman uses a historically based system of what he calls “keys” to predict election results ahead of time. The keys are explained in-depth in Lichtman’s book, “Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016.” In our conversations in September and October, he outlined how President Obama’s second term set the Democrats up for a tight race, and his keys tipped the balance in Trump’s favor, even if just barely.

At the end of our September conversation, Lichtman made another call: that if elected, Trump would eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress that would prefer a President Mike Pence — someone whom establishment Republicans know and trust.

“I’m going to make another prediction,” he said. “This one is not based on a system; it’s just my gut. They don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

(Peter W. Stevenson at the Washington Post)

5

The postelection zombie apocalypse reminds us of a TV show we discovered during the summer, a 13-episode CBS series called “BrainDead.” The premise is that antlike insects from space have infested Washington’s cherry blossoms, whence they crawl into people’s ears and consume half their brains. Some of the victims’ heads literally explode, but most just become addled, their political passions (left or right) intensifying while thoughtfulness slips away. Hillary Clinton and especially Trump as themselves play supporting roles through campaign footage.

“BrainDead” is not a great program. The storylines are silly and the acting is so-so, except for the hilarious Tony Shalhoub, who plays a bug-bitten right-wing Republican senator from Maryland (hey, it’s a fantasy). Even so, the zany absurdity appealed enough to us to make it a guilty pleasure. We laughed out loud many more times than once.

And today finds us thinking that “BrainDead” may have been shrewder than we gave it credit for as an allegory for political polarization …

It seems like only days ago (because it was) that the left was issuing dire warnings of civil unrest if Trump supporters failed to accept the inevitable outcome of the election. That’s exactly what happened when the outcome was the evitable one instead, only with the roles reversed. And suddenly those who had warned of civil unrest were celebrating it.

“The tepid, credulous statements from Dem elected officials (even [Bernie] Sanders & [Elizabeth] Warren) vs the passion in the streets last night is striking,” Matt Yglesias of the young-adult site Vox complained on Twitter. Dan McLaughlin, a writer for National Review, observed in response: “Just days ago, these folks were lecturing us on need for political leaders to calm the waters, not stoke the crowd.”

(James Taranto)

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.