In important ways, a revolutionary process has begun. So argues Ilana Mercer in the best extended analysis yet published of the Trump phenomenon: “Trump is getting an atrophied political system to oscillate” in “an oddly marvelous uprising.” For us revolutionaries there is still a long way to go, but we are entitled to a “modest hope” that “an utterly different political animal, Donald Trump, might actually do some good for the countrymen he genuinely seems to love.”
It is not Trump who is transforming American politics, the author asserts; “it’s the people of America doing the transforming.” Trump is the first politician in a long, long time who has regarded America as a country rather than a “proposition” and has actually spoken to and for “the people.” Far from being “divisive,” his plain speaking has enthusiastically united large numbers of Americans.
The Donald’s creative destruction of a vile Establishment has worked in a number of ways. He has weakened the media; he has exposed the intellectual and ethical nullity of the Republican Establishment; he has broken the hold of minority complainers over public discourse; and he has exposed the tissue of lies that is the prevailing phony “free trade” doctrine. The Establishment will not give up its power, profits, and perks easily, but it has been damaged. Not “Morning [again] in America,” but an opportunity for reform. And the last initiative “of America’s historic, founding majority.”
It has hardly been grasped that the media have assumed a strange and dominant role in American politics. They have constituted for more than half a century an impermeable barrier between the voters and the candidates. Nothing has been presented without their prior censorship. Whatever this may be, it is not democracy. Who are these people who proliferate in print, airwaves, and the internet, and who pass down imperious moral pronouncements without any known credentials to do so? Who voted for them? Who gave them such great and irresponsible power? Merely by speaking the truth, by refusing to bow to their pretensions, Trump has weakened their power. That is all it took. Simply speak the truth, and the “commentators” and “reporters” are revealed as the malicious ignoramuses that they are.
The Republicans have never had the courage to do that. They follow consultants who warn them not to look unattractively mean-spirited. Don’t speak to the people, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t listen to them. Give them bromides. Anything else will upset the smooth pursuit of office, the only goal that has ever been sought by Republican “leaders” other than protecting and enhancing wealth. A baker’s dozen of presidential wannabes all spouted identical sales talk.
Conservative means nothing to them except a popular advertising slogan. That such people should anathematize Trump as “not a conservative” is ludicrous and illustrates how routinely deceitful the language of American political discourse has become. The only thing worse is giving the definition of conservative to the neocons, aptly dubbed “semi-repentant communists” by Mercer.
The Republican Establishment has been hysterically upset by unwelcome truths and is busily shooting itself in the foot again and again. An important part of this has been Trump’s moderate but effective placing of the guilt for Bush the Lesser’s Iraq war, a world-historical blunder, the evil consequences of which will not be escaped by your and my grandchildren. A war that was stupid, dishonestly justified, instigated by a dubious cabal, inappropriate to the provocation that called it forth, and well within the definition of a war crime. “The Republican Party under Bush did the devil’s work,” writes Mercer. Who else besides Trump has had the courage to bring forth this necessary dose of reality? And after all, we have not been made any safer. The Republican wannabes lined up to tell us the self-evident lie that we will be safer by bringing more Muslims Over Here while dropping more bombs on them Over There.
At a deeper level Trump’s discourse has had important effects in making once more respectable the solid, unweaselly English language and good old Anglo-Saxon decency and common sense. I admit that Trump’s style is not the kind that antiquated Southerners like myself readily warm to. But I recognize Trump as an authentic American type with the virtues of that type. My support was clinched by his children at the Cleveland convention. You can’t fake your children. When have we ever seen such an outstanding brood of potential White House children? In intellect and morals, it seems to me Trump has shown the ability to learn and improve.
“White Lives Matter Less” has been, in Mercer’s words, “the creedal pillar” of our public life. Without ungraciousness to any, Trump has shown that it is OK for white Americans to declare that they have had enough of “the pigment burden” that has been piled on their backs. This paleo-libertarian author does not disguise her disgust at the fashionable statism, indistinguishable from the collectivist left and without a clue to what “free trade” really means, that passes for libertarianism today.
The Trump Revolution came out before the presidential nominee chose Mike Pence for his running mate. I hoped, along with the author, that Trump would “go outside the political tribe for a vice president.” As far as I can see from the record, Pence is a standard-issue Republican empty suit. We all knew in 1980 that the “Reagan Revolution” was over before it began when Reagan picked Bush Major for his vice president. We can only hope that Trump knows something that we don’t. As president, Trump’s greatest problem would be covert undermining by the Republican Establishment. He cannot hope to carry out his “revolution” without massive reform of the party itself. After all, these are people who acquiesced in the absurd suppression of the Ten Commandments, and have spread “the ghastly lie that America is a mere idea” and not a people.
I admit to being green with envy at Mercer’s Menckenesque ability to coin memorable phrases describing the empowered fools of our time. Does any contemporary writer do it better?
Mercer on the media: “news nitworks,” the “War Street Journal,” “idiot’s lantern,” “unsharpened pencil,” “tele-tarts,” a “circle jerk of power brokers,” “one-trick donkeys,” “celebrated mediocrities,” “another banal bloviation,” the “cable commentariat as a cog in the corpulent D.C. fleshplot.”
Mercer on our rulers and would-be rulers: “parasites in waiting”; “nation-building at the point of the bayonet makes [Hillary] barking happy”; “Banana Republicans”; “dwarf-tossing” (William Kristol’s promotion of nonentities as Trump alternatives); the “quaint expectation that voters, not party operatives, would choose the nominee”; the “silent majority that dare not speak its name”; “what our crypto-leftist conservatives are ramming down our proverbial gullets are dogmas, not values”; the “master-servant relationship between Republicans and the Religious Right”; the “think tanks’ industry for the god of war”; “neoconservatives speaking like Tocqueville but acting like Robespierre”; “neoconservatives standing athwart every valid form of American conservatism yelling stop.”
When Thomas Jefferson opined that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, he was not speaking as a radical but as a reactionary. With the passage of time, the accumulation of bad precedents, and the manipulations of self-seekers, a political society loses focus on its founding ideas. It is then necessary for the sound part of the people to revolve the system back to its true principles. In that respect, the Trump phenomenon resembles Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy in action—uprisings of the people against a corrupt elite to break at least temporarily the iron law of oligarchy. As Mercer points out, Trump is strong in almost every cultural region of the country. Where he lacks support is in that widely dispersed cohort of pseudo-intellectuals and trough-feeders that make up a vast part of the American body politic.
Trump, as Mercer points out with tough realism, has only just begun. In this post-constitutional time, it may be that “the best liberty lovers can look to is action and counter-action, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.” A president hoping for reform will face 160,000 pages of federal laws and regulations and relentless sabotage by the Banksters, Bombers, Bureaucrats, and Busybodies who now govern us. He cannot be a moderate if he hopes to accomplish anything.
In regard to Trump, this weary old paleoconservative agrees with the sprightly young paleolibertarian writer Mercer on every point. Her endorsement “is not necessarily for the policies of Trump, but for The Process of Trump.” At this point, to quibble over the deficiencies, real or supposed, of the man is like the survivors of the Titanic complaining about accommodations in the lifeboats. He is what we have got.
[The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed, by Ilana Mercer (Issaqua, WA: Politically Incorrect Press) 252 pp.; $24.95]