New Yorker editor David Remnick has a piece on the rise of Donald Trump in his magazine.
I'll leave you to judge Mr. Remnick's analysis of Trump, if you care to read the article.
What interested me is Remnick's interpretation of why the Trump phenomenon came about and his inability to distinguish between the Tea Party and the Trump movement. I must admit I was stopped in my tracks by this:
The question remains why the Trump phenomenon has proved so buoyant and impregnable. Some have earnestly ascribed it to broad social and economic forces, particularly the “new normal” of stagnating wages, underemployment, and corporate “offshoring” and “inversion.” Yet those factors were at least as pronounced in the last election cycle––and Republicans chose as their nominee the father of comprehensive health care in Massachusetts.
The socioeconomic forces are real, but Trump is also the beneficiary of a long process of Republican intellectual decadence. Paul Ryan denounces Trump but not the Tea Party rhetoric that propelled his own political ascent.
John McCain holds Trump in contempt, but selected as his running mate Sarah Palin, the Know-Nothing of Wasilla, one of Trump’s most vivid forerunners and supporters. Mitt Romney last week righteously slammed Trump as a “phony” and a misogynist, and yet in 2012 he embraced Trump’s endorsement and praised his “extraordinary” understanding of economics.
This is wrong and yet so predictable. Remnick seems to be saying that, if the GOP leaders had clamped down on the Tea Party, Trump would never have happened.
Trump is to some degree the result of people feeling that they have not been listened to–so Remnick argues that if the GOP had shut its ears more, not less, Trump would have been deflected.
Remnick also demonstrates the New Yorker elites' inevitable tendency to ascribe everything they don't like to the Tea Party. But the Tea Party is not the same as Trump supporters. The Tea Party dressed in Revolutionary attire and argued for a return to the Constitution. Compared to the Trump movement, the Tea Party is tame indeed. Sarah Palin, it seems to me, is the rare crossover between the Tea Party and the Trump movement. I'm sure she's not alone, but that doesn't mean the Tea Party is rallying for Mr. Trump's particular interpretation of constitutional government.
About the only thing the two groups have in common is that they are loathed by people like David Remnick, who are blinded to the reality of American politics by their loathing of the Tea Party.
Some day they might wish they'd been nicer to the Tea Party.