One reason Donald Trump won the presidency is that Americans are tired of being ignored by the ruling political class.
A poll taken several months before the election revealed that neglected voters overwhelmingly favored Donald Trump above any other candidate: “Voters who agreed with the statement ‘people like me don’t have any say about what the government does’ were 86.5 percent more likely to prefer Trump. This feeling of powerlessness and voicelessness was a much better predictor of Trump support than age, race, college attainment, [or] income,” wrote Derek Thompson at The Atlantic.
This is the Trump appeal that the ruling political class refused—and still refuses—to acknowledge. It is why Republicans were willing to overlook his personal peccadillos, and why voters in 206 counties who twice chose Barack Obama helped elect Donald Trump. It is why rural moms, union toughs, small business owners, and soybean farmers fill steamy Midwestern assembly halls during summer’s peak to rally around a thrice-married, brash, egotistical Manhattan billionaire who is the working class’s most unlikely champion. It is why Republican candidates across the country are bragging about their Trump-BFF status in tight primary races.
A Battering Ram Against Convention
Trump violates every sycophantic, mannerly rule that politicians and their handlers are taught to follow. The name-calling, the gloating, the fight-picking are precisely what any political consultant would advise their client not to do. “Act presidential,” the memo would say. Let others do your dirty work. Stay above the fray, don’t get in the mud. Keep on message. Politics is a game of addition, not subtraction. Yada yada yada. (Let’s add “Political Consulting Experts” to the long list of professional know-it-alls who’ve been wholly discredited in the Trump era.)
But the jig is up. Trump is a one-man battering ram against a powerful political apparatus—The Untouchables—that ruefully stacks the deck against the very people it purports to understand and protect.
Hillary Clinton embodied all that was wrong with the ruling political class: She was insular, smug, and unapologetic. She snubbed three of the country’s most populous states (and never bothered to campaign in one of them) until the waning days of the campaign.
And she called millions of Trump supporters “deplorables.”
Nearly two years later, the war between The Untouchables and The Deplorables rages on. Last week featured several more clashes, proving again that the president’s opposition remains stunningly and stubbornly tone-deaf. (As Peggy Noonan wrote last year, Trump has been lucky in his enemies.) The Untouchables brandished their revoked security clearances and their opinion pages and their GoFundMe campaigns as the latest weapons against a president they intend to destroy.
But instead of taking it on the chin, these martyrs of #TheResistance embrace their victimhood. They caterwaul about imaginary constitutional rights violations not because it’s legitimate but because their self-enacted 28th Amendment right—the Right to Infinite and Unchecked Power—is being trampled.
Strzok and Brennan’s Shameless Appeal
The week began with the overdue firing of Peter Strzok, a conniving, cheating and possibly criminal FBI agent. Strzok’s fingerprints are on every investigation from Hillary Clinton’s email server to the phony Trump-Russia campaign connection to Special Counsel Robert Mueller (who dismissed Strzok last year after hundreds of anti-Trump texts between him and his alleged lover, an FBI lawyer, were released.)
There are plenty of reasons why Strzok deserved the axe. But the media quickly took to his defense, dishonestly claiming Strzok was fired because of his biased texts. The Washington Post quoted Strzok’s lawyer, who claimed his client’s firing should “be deeply troubling to all Americans.”
Many reporters pinned the blame on Trump; the New York Times insisted Strzok “became emblematic of Trump’s unfounded assertions that a so-called deep state of bureaucrats opposed to him was undermining his presidency.”
But instead of being ashamed, Strzok got out his tin cup. He set up a GoFundMe page to beg people for money to help defray his legal bills and lost income. Strzok’s plea is rooted in his claim that he has dedicated his life to keeping America safe; Strzok even had the audacity to call himself a “proud husband and father” though he had a workplace dalliance with an FBI colleague. But the message from Strzok was clear: You owe me. (In the past four days, the account has raised $431,000. Cha-ching!)
That sense of entitlement also seems to make The Untouchables believe that any privilege they once enjoyed as public servants should continue forever, including access to the most sensitive information the federal government possesses.
So The Untouchables are now outraged that Trump yanked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, a central figure in commandeering the phony Trump-Russia collusion plotline right before the presidential election. During a press briefing last Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders outlined Brennan’s history of misconduct and said he has “leveraged his status . . . to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the Internet and television about this administration.”
Brennan, now an NBC News analyst, is a malicious foe of the president; he’s made threats to Trump on social media and accused him of being a traitor. In a New York Times op-ed last week, Brennan said Trump’s denials about collusion are “hogwash” and insisted that collusion-related crimes have been committed by Trump’s team. (This earned Brennan a harsh rebuke by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr.)
There is no reason for Brennan, a private citizen and paid media pundit, to have access to government secrets. But Trump foes quickly elevated Brennan to Rosa Parks-like status, wailing about how Trump stripped Brennan of his First Amendment rights: The silenced hero later appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s show for 25 minutes to air his grievances and ridicule the president.
In a hyperbolic opening segment on August 15, NBC News anchor Lester Holt accused Trump of “using his power to take revenge on a critical voice.” Brennan compared Trump to “despots and tyrants.” A dozen former top intelligence officials rallied around Brennan—including the folks who ignored all the clues before 9/11 and one who pleaded guilty for sharing classified information with his lover—claimed Brennan was just “speak[ing] out sharply regarding what he sees as threats to our national security.” And getting paid for it.
Our Media “Heroes” (And Other Fake News)
But Trump is not backing down. Sanders confirmed he is considering revoking security clearances for a number of former law enforcement and intelligence officials, many tied to perpetrating the election collusion hoax. Get ready for more victim/martyr/heroes of The Untouchables to come.
And of course it would not be a normal week in the Trump era if the American news media didn’t pull some stunt to attract attention for themselves and blast the president.
More than 300 newspapers published editorials last week to defend themselves against Trump’s “attacks” on the media. Rather than cover legitimate news or work to restore their sinking reputations, the press instead continues to keep the focus on themselves. After years of fluffing for Barack Obama, The Untouchables in the media now expect us to defend their biased coverage; relentless attacks on the president, his administration, his family, his voters, and basically every Republican except Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona; and cover-up of the unraveling Spygate scandal. The Los Angeles Times admitted that “Journalism is not an easy institution to rally around. But if there were ever a time for citizens to defend the press, this is it.” (Reply: No.)
The media can’t answer legitimate criticism because they have long been in The Untouchables group, self-proclaimed warriors of the truth regardless of how untruthful they actually are. In their desire for self-efficacy, reporters have compared themselves to first responders and combat veterans. The real-life woes of The Deplorables are ignored—even mocked—as journalists preen about their moral superiority. But Trump has exposed their duplicity and their arrogance; it’s making them nuts. They now lash out at any imaginary threat against themselves while fueling violence and political chaos among Americans on a daily basis.
Trump’s one-man crusade against The Untouchables is working. Regular Americans see this crowd’s shameless sense of entitlement and their resentment for anyone outside their circle. Their hatred for Trump is just an extension of their hatred for those he is defending. That’s why Trump will continue to fill up school auditoriums in the Midwest while The Untouchables will continue to fill up their columns with whining.
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