Reflecting On A Trump Trope

 

A common pro-Trump meme or trope goes like this:

They’re not after me [Trump]. They’re after you. I’m just in the way.

I’ve always looked at that as a bit of vote-building bravado. But let’s examine it a little more closely.

Trump isn’t really that outrageous, politically. He’s generally pro-business, generally pro-border, generally anti-regulation. He’s hardly a conservative ideologue. It’s hard to say what he really is, as far as political philosophy goes.

But it’s easy to see what he isn’t. He isn’t a man who falls in line easily. He isn’t fearful of popular opinion as communicated to him by the press. For better or worse, he isn’t a man for whom propriety, either by conventional or modern “woke” standards, is important.

That often frustrates me, but it’s absolutely intolerable to those of the progressive movement for whom orthodoxy is essential.

If you don’t believe that, openly express criticism of any of the prevailing orthodoxies. Suggest that you think the “trans” movement is nonsensical, or that Roe was bad jurisprudence that deserved to be overturned. Use the phrase “illegal alien” in public. Express the in-my-opinion sensible view that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread mail-in fraud, and that the Clinton campaign sabotaged the Trump presidency with its wholly fabricated Russian Collusion story.

Admit that Fauci probably funded the research that led to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak (and call it that, while you’re at it).

Suggest that the January 6th riot was neither an existential threat to democracy nor as destructive as countless preceding riots that enjoyed the support of leading Democrats, and that the continuing prosecution of participants is, like the recent Trump trial, politically motivated.

Try to explain that our current pursuit of alternative energy and decarbonization is a recipe for economic disaster, and not at all justified by the science.

Say any of those things in public, among people who depend on mainstream news for their worldview, and see what response you get. I’m not talking about a Ricochet meet-up, where generally sensible people tolerate generally sensible viewpoints. I’m not talking about a chat with friends over dinner. Try saying them in a mixed group of normal Americans, at a basketball game or in the check-out line at a store. See what response you get and how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

Those who agree with you might admit it, if it’s a very safe crowd. But those who don’t agree will make it clear that you’re beyond the pale, that your views are unacceptable.

Trump’s sins are plentiful, but his politics is anodyne. His great failing, from the perspective of the left, is not that he’s a vulgar and perhaps promiscuous man: vulgarity and promiscuity are the stock in trade of the progressive left.

Trump’s great sin (from the left’s perspective) is that he doesn’t bow to prevailing sensibilities. He’s habitually politically incorrect, and so he doesn’t serve — as Obama did, as Biden does, as every apologetic hand-wringing pursuer of public acceptance does — to amplify and embed the progressive message and create yet another milestone in the left’s march to wherever the hell the left is trying to take us.

He isn’t useful.

I have said for years that there are too many of us who talk in private of manning the barricades but who shy away from saying uncomfortable things in public for fear of being perceived as impolite, as cranks. I tip my hat to every “crank” who stands up at a school board meeting and protests the gender-studies trash being foisted on kids. I tip my hat to every “crank” who refuses to play the pronoun game, who complains about illegal immigration, who refused to wear a mask, who defends gun ownership and free speech — and who does it in the company of normal people who don’t know or care enough to understand how far we’ve strayed from our founding.

Trump is often petty, vulgar, narcissistic, and annoying. But his political sin is mine: an insensitivity to and disregard of the prevailing orthodoxies, and a tendency to state bluntly what he believes despite the inevitable opprobrium he’ll receive from the arbiters of right-think.

Candidate Trump has always been a frustrating, high-risk proposition. But the things that I consider most objectionable about Trump mean nothing to those who most strenuously oppose him. The things those people find objectionable about Trump are the same things they’ll find objectionable about me if they ever discover that I exist.

In that sense the trope is correct: those who seek to destroy Trump will happily seek to destroy me should I ever become a loud enough voice to deserve their attention. Worse, they’ll seek to create a world that doesn’t allow room for people like me, so that even the small heterodox voices are effectively silenced.

Will I vote for him in 2024? Yes. Obviously.

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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Well put

    • #2
  3. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Henry Racette: His great failing, from the perspective of the left, is not that he’s a vulgar and perhaps promiscuous man

    Now the Left says that he is “literally Hitler”, “a fascist”, and “a tyrant that will end Democracy”.   That is maximum rhetoric.  There is nothing worse they can say or express.   That is the kind of talk that is designed to provoke violence.   If the iron law of projection holds, the Left has very bad plans for the future.

    • #3
  4. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Perfect.

    What is it that makes people go along with these things, things that they themselves would have found ludicrous only a few years ago? That makes them not only suddenly accept outrageous things without blinking, but also want to destroy anyone who hasn’t…. I don’t know, been converted? How does, say, a school board, once (and recently) the standard of rectitude in any community, suddenly support outright pornography in elementary school libraries? 

    Maybe part of the answer lies in the way they describe it, characterize it. They don’t admit that it’s pornography, openly celebrate it as free speech or something. They instead avoid looking at it, confronting it. They immediately switch to robotic cant about LGBT rights and of course the hatred hatred hatred exhibited by anyone who questions them.

    It seems like they have been possessed by some dark spirit that shuts off their brain at the merest mention of a question about any of the examples you give above, and they turn into Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

    I routinely ask the reflexive Trump haters specifically what he has done, what are the what must be a long and compendious list of sins to make them hate him so intensely and automatically? I get crickets.

    My wife is German, and all of her friends at home think she has married a crazy right wing nut, because no civilized person could take a monster like Trump seriously. But when I ask them what precisely he has done that is bad and uncivilized, still no specifics. All of Europe has just been conditioned somehow to accept without question that he is a dangerous lunatic (or “typical American”).

     

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Well said, Henry . . .

    • #5
  6. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    Well said. Two of the great danger of Trump to the left is first that he is determined as to his intentions and he is, as you said, open about it in an honest and direct way that exposes too many of the falsehoods and “politeness” which fails to tear them down. And second, he over time will encourage those who have always remained silent to one at a time become more vocal and open which will ” normalize” it and grow their viewpoint. They have to be intimidated so the “unruly” at school board meeting, town halls, etc will also become intimidated and not the accepted.

    • #6
  7. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    The Trump message is for the non-conforming or non-compliant individual. I have always thought this was a trait with demonstrated value honored in the highest possible manner by America’s founders and patriots along the way. 

    Thank you, Henry, for such a definitive essay describing our current situation.

    • #7
  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Henry Racette: Trump’s great sin (from the left’s perspective) is that he doesn’t bow to prevailing sensibilities. He’s habitually politically incorrect, and so he doesn’t serve — as Obama did, as Biden does, as every apologetic hand-wringing pursuer of public acceptance does — to amplify and embed the progressive message and create yet another milestone in the left’s march to wherever the hell the left is trying to take us.

    This is also what upsets people on the right…not that he doesn’t play along with the amplification of the progressive message, but that he is so impolitic in his lack of pursuit of public acceptance.  Make America Great Again?  Oh how jejune…

    • #8
  9. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    Well said. Two of the great danger of Trump to the left is first that he is determined as to his intentions and he is, as you said, open about it in an honest and direct way that exposes too many of the falsehoods and “politeness” which fails to tear them down. And second, he over time will encourage those who have always remained silent to one at a time become more vocal and open which will ” normalize” it and grow their viewpoint. They have to be intimidated so the “unruly” at school board meeting, town halls, etc will also become intimidated and not the accepted.

    Note, in this regard Trump is also a danger to the establishment Right.  The anti-Trump/anti-MAGA/anti-commoner effort is bi-partisan. 

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    The Trump message is for the non-conforming or non-compliant individual. I have always thought this was a trait with demonstrated value honored in the highest possible manner by America’s founders and patriots along the way. 

    Me too. 

    Just watched the movie “Convoy” and that is exactly its spirit. 

    • #10
  11. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    The hatred of Donald J Trump from the left is rarely about policy. It is always about some myth about his behavior or some distortion of something he said that was promoted by the media. In fact, he is a center of the road politician with common sense values. He looks at the world as a construction site. You don’t build skyscrapers with “equity”. It takes engineers, architects, men with strong backs, and people who have a concept of the finished product and how to bring everyone together to achieve that end. He doesn’t attempt to pit one person or group against another. His idea is a great and powerful United States that looks out for itself without intending to cause harm to others. 

    The fact that Biden and the leftist lemmings get away with calling him Hitler and the end of Democracy is laughable. Did these people not live during his first term of office? Did they see any action he took that equated with these self-projected pejoratives that they spew? It’s difficult for me to even have a discussion with some of these fools. Their ideas are so factually impaired that I feel like I must teach them how to read, and then how to understand, and it’s just too difficult. 

    • #11
  12. Joker Member
    Joker
    @Joker

    Nice post Henry. One nit though – Trump’s big sin was beating Hillary. They were trying to impeach him before he was even sworn in. Which, I guess, offsets Obama’s Nobel prize before he had a chance to send back the Churchill bust.

    • #12
  13. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    We traditionally think of politics as a left-right kind of thing.  But that no longer makes sense;  the current major woke issues are unrelated to such categories.

    What’s *really* happening seems pretty clear when you consider the economics and follow the money: political professionals are making a fortune by coming up with excuses to tap into an effectively infinite treasury, and pocketing a percentage in the process.

    This is consistent; all those woke positions involve bureaucracies that take money, manage money, and distribute money, at the expense of the rest of us.  And we see bribery, graft, corruption, freud, waste, mismanagement, and more.

    And as with economics, things get more complicated when you add international issues; our enemies will eagerly fund the destruction of the country.

    The single most important attribute about Trump is that he’s a businessman, and not a professional politician.

    It’s basically down to the professional political class vs. the rest of us.

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

     

    It’s basically down to the professional political class vs. the rest of us.

    Concentrated power versus distributed power

    and the weapons are

    concentrated wealth versus distributed wealth. (economics).

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    Maybe part of the answer lies in the way they describe it, characterize it. They don’t admit that it’s pornography, openly celebrate it as free speech or something. They instead avoid looking at it, confronting it. They immediately switch to robotic cant about LGBT rights and of course the hatred hatred hatred exhibited by anyone who questions them.

    And demand that anyone who reads it back to them at school board meetings, be arrested as a criminal.

    • #15
  16. Chuck Coolidge
    Chuck
    @Chuckles
    • #16
  17. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Well put

    Isn’t it a shame that it took Normies a better part of a decade to figure this out? Delay may sometimes be preferable to error but in this case it has proved disastrous. While moralizing, right-thinking ‘conservatives’ were wringing their hands and clutching their pearls, millions of illegals invaded the country, the WuFlu panic was used to justify all manner of idiocies and crimes, many ordinary Americans are rotting in prison for participating in the Electoral Justice Protest of 2021, and First Amendment rights have been largely nullified. Did I leave anything out? Child mutilation, maybe?

    But no more mean tweets. Good work, Normie.

    • #17
  18. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Well put

    Isn’t it a shame that it took Normies a better part of a decade to figure this out? Delay may sometimes be preferable to error but in this case it has proved disastrous. While moralizing, right-thinking ‘conservatives’ were wringing their hands and clutching their pearls, millions of illegals invaded the country, the WuFlu panic was used to justify all manner of idiocies and crimes, many ordinary Americans are rotting in prison for participating in the Electoral Justice Protest of 2021, and First Amendment rights have been largely nullified. Did I leave anything out? Child mutilation, maybe?

    But no more mean tweets. Good work, Normie.

    Who among us has not revised an opinion? I’ll take support where and when we get it.

    • #18
  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

     

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Well put

    Isn’t it a shame that it took Normies a better part of a decade to figure this out? Delay may sometimes be preferable to error but in this case it has proved disastrous. While moralizing, right-thinking ‘conservatives’ were wringing their hands and clutching their pearls, millions of illegals invaded the country, the WuFlu panic was used to justify all manner of idiocies and crimes, many ordinary Americans are rotting in prison for participating in the Electoral Justice Protest of 2021, and First Amendment rights have been largely nullified. Did I leave anything out? Child mutilation, maybe?

    But no more mean tweets. Good work, Normie.

    Who among us has not revised an opinion? I’ll take support where and when we get it.

    Me too.

    And I also still hold people responsible for their past mistakes that have hurt me and my family.

    • #19
  20. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Who among us has not revised an opinion? I’ll take support where and when we get it.

    That’s fine but mistakes have consequences. Also, where’s the apology?

    • #20
  21. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    So spectacularly worded I can think of only one thing to add.

    So many people relate to the statement: “They’re not coming after me; they’re coming after you,” that last week it was nigh impossible to understand how much Trump was receiving in donations for his legal costs.

    I first heard he’d gotten 30 million but before I could tweet about it, the figure had jumped to 52 mil.

    Rumors were floated that the intense crowd response actually took down the website for  donating to  Trump.

    • #21
  22. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    We traditionally think of politics as a left-right kind of thing. But that no longer makes sense; the current major woke issues are unrelated to such categories.

    What’s *really* happening seems pretty clear when you consider the economics and follow the money: political professionals are making a fortune by coming up with excuses to tap into an effectively infinite treasury, and pocketing a percentage in the process.

    This is consistent; all those woke positions involve bureaucracies that take money, manage money, and distribute money, at the expense of the rest of us. And we see bribery, graft, corruption, freud, waste, mismanagement, and more.

    And as with economics, things get more complicated when you add international issues; our enemies will eagerly fund the destruction of the country.

    The single most important attribute about Trump is that he’s a businessman, and not a professional politician.

    It’s basically down to the professional political class vs. the rest of us.

    As far as the professional political class – many of them are the people inside agencies getting a paycheck. This pays better than holding a job where something is built, repaired, or communicated. Plus no one will shut you down – these agencies only expand.

    Several weekends ago, I volunteered to help the local Coast Guard people hand out life jackets to parents of kids at a local community fair. It was fun meeting so many enthused kids and their doting parents.

    But the entire festival was for the local agencies to interact with the public and get the word out that they exist. It was not surprising to see tent canopies where social workers talked to people abut qualifying for food stamps. Or to see people in some group or other helping families try and figure out if there was a way that “Obama’s Affordable Health Insurance” wouldn’t take a major bite out of their budget.

    But each agency seemed to have two to four spin offs. Almost every agency now has a “prevention-themed” sister agency. I don’t know how many agencies we need to stop people dying from fentanyl, but there are now so many of these  orgs up and running, that  I question if we need another.

    Yet several people I know who work inside   these agencies boasted to me that their org was doing everything it could to get a Federal, state or local grant and some type of help from the US Department of Health and Human Services so that they too could have a “prevention” themed sister org.

    Both Calif and the US Fed government are broke. Dead broke. Yet even that fact cannot stop the “liberal”  idea that nothing should prevent  the money  printing presses from helping to  redundantly spawn more and more orgs and agencies, paid for by Mr and Mrs Taxpayer. (Maybe if mom and dad didn’t both have to work to pay the necessary taxation and inflation for this madness, the kids wouldn’t be turning to drugs?)

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    So spectacularly worded I can think of only one thing to add.

    So many people relate to the statement: “They’re not coming after me; they’re coming after you,” that last week it was nigh impossible to understand how much Trump was receiving in donations for his legal costs.

    I first heard he’d gotten 30 million but before I could tweet about it, the figure had jumped to 52 mil.

    Rumors were floated that the intense crowd response actually took down the website for donating to Trump.

    Last I saw the total was over $200 Mil.

    • #23
  24. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    Henry Racette: Say any of those things in public, among people who depend on mainstream news for their worldview, and see what response you get. I’m not talking about a Ricochet meet-up, where generally sensible people tolerate generally sensible viewpoints.

    What I love most about the meet-ups is the dearth of political discussion.  We know approximately where we all stand, so the time spent not talking about Ukraine, for example, is put to far better use:  Putting faces to names, making new friends, etc.

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    kedavis (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    So spectacularly worded I can think of only one thing to add.

    So many people relate to the statement: “They’re not coming after me; they’re coming after you,” that last week it was nigh impossible to understand how much Trump was receiving in donations for his legal costs.

    I first heard he’d gotten 30 million but before I could tweet about it, the figure had jumped to 52 mil.

    Rumors were floated that the intense crowd response actually took down the website for donating to Trump.

    Last I saw the total was over $200 Mil.

    I would donate, too, but I don’t want to escalate the conflict.  Besides, we have enough problems at home and I can’t afford it.  Why should I stick my nose in somebody else’s problems.  If you elect me dog-catcher in my county, I’ll end the conflict in one day.   

    “Get it over with and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people. And that’s a very simple statement,” Trump said. “They have to get it done. Get it over with and get it over with fast because we have to — you have to get back to normalcy and peace.”

    • #25
  26. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    At times like these, my thoughts turn to the words of the 19th century poet and, incidentally, lyricist for some fine Schubert Lieder.

    • #26
  27. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    At times like these, my thoughts turn to the words of the 19th century poet and, incidentally, lyricist for some fine Schubert Lieder.

    Amusing, and I get your point.

    But if the topic is how we should treat those who didn’t vote for Trump in the past but now say they will (and I think that’s how we got here, but I could be mistaken and I’m not going to go back and check), then I have a different perspective.

    I want to elect the person who will be best for / least bad for America. Toward that end, I’ll welcome anyone who will join me in achieving that. I have no interest in punishing people for disagreeing with me, nor in rubbing their noses in what I think is past poor judgment once they demonstrate better judgment. That strikes me as both petty and counter-productive.

    • #27
  28. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: His great failing, from the perspective of the left, is not that he’s a vulgar and perhaps promiscuous man

    Now the Left says that he is “literally Hitler”, “a fascist”, and “a tyrant that will end Democracy”. That is maximum rhetoric. There is nothing worse they can say or express. That is the kind of talk that is designed to provoke violence. If the iron law of projection holds, the Left has very bad plans for the future.

    Who has done more to end democracy than Biden – his loan forgiveness scam was direct violation of SC decision and he brags about it

    • #28
  29. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    We traditionally think of politics as a left-right kind of thing. But that no longer makes sense; the current major woke issues are unrelated to such categories.

    What’s *really* happening seems pretty clear when you consider the economics and follow the money: political professionals are making a fortune by coming up with excuses to tap into an effectively infinite treasury, and pocketing a percentage in the process.

    This is consistent; all those woke positions involve bureaucracies that take money, manage money, and distribute money, at the expense of the rest of us. And we see bribery, graft, corruption, freud, waste, mismanagement, and more.

    And as with economics, things get more complicated when you add international issues; our enemies will eagerly fund the destruction of the country.

    The single most important attribute about Trump is that he’s a businessman, and not a professional politician.

    It’s basically down to the professional political class vs. the rest of us.

    As far as the professional political class – many of them are the people inside agencies getting a paycheck. This pays better than holding a job where something is built, repaired, or communicated. Plus no one will shut you down – these agencies only expand.

    Several weekends ago, I volunteered to help the local Coast Guard people hand out life jackets to parents of kids at a local community fair. It was fun meeting so many enthused kids and their doting parents.

    But the entire festival was for the local agencies to interact with the public and get the word out that they exist. It was not surprising to see tent canopies where social workers talked to people abut qualifying for food stamps. Or to see people in some group or other helping families try and figure out if there was a way that “Obama’s Affordable Health Insurance” wouldn’t take a major bite out of their budget.

    But each agency seemed to have two to four spin offs. Almost every agency now has a “prevention-themed” sister agency. I don’t know how many agencies we need to stop people dying from fentanyl, but there are now so many of these orgs up and running, that I question if we need another.

    Yet several people I know who work inside these agencies boasted to me that their org was doing everything it could to get a Federal, state or local grant and some type of help from the US Department of Health and Human Services so that they too could have a “prevention” themed sister org.

    Both Calif and the US Fed government are broke. Dead broke. Yet even that fact cannot stop the “liberal” idea that nothing should prevent the money printing presses from helping to redundantly spawn more and more orgs and agencies, paid for by Mr and Mrs Taxpayer. (Maybe if mom and dad didn’t both have to work to pay the necessary taxation and inflation for this madness, the kids wouldn’t be turning to drugs?)

    It is a cancer that has metastasized.  

    • #29
  30. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    At times like these, my thoughts turn to the words of the 19th century poet and, incidentally, lyricist for some fine Schubert Lieder.

    Amusing, and I get your point.

    But if the topic is how we should treat those who didn’t vote for Trump in the past but now say they will (and I think that’s how we got here, but I could be mistaken and I’m not going to go back and check), then I have a different perspective.

    I want to elect the person who will be best for / least bad for America. Toward that end, I’ll welcome anyone who will join me in achieving that. I have no interest in punishing people for disagreeing with me, nor in rubbing their noses in what I think is past poor judgment once they demonstrate better judgment. That strikes me as both petty and counter-productive.

    Exactly right.  

    • #30
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