I spent much of yesterday on the radio chewing over what just happened and why. Here's an interview apiece from my own deranged Dominion and what some of our Kiwi readers like to call the other deranged Dominion.
First, I spoke with Evan Solomon at Ottawa's CFRA. You can hear the full interview here. Evan suggested that Donald Trump had been very "divisive", etc, and I replied that that accusation is leveled at every Republican candidate - so that a milquetoast sweetie like Mitt Romney gets demonized as a man who's going to put black people back in chains and women in his binders. As I said to Evan:
The problem for the left is that, when everyone's Hitler, nobody's Hitler.
At which point, enter the Teflon Pussygrabber.
As for the "divisive" policy positions - a wall to keep out Mexicans, a moratorium on Muslim immigration - "divisive" appears to be elite-speak for "remarkably popular". As with Brexit, in any functioning party system the political establishment can ignore issues that command widespread public support only for so long. In that sense, the rise of a Trump figure was entirely predictable. Indeed, I see an old quote of mine has been making the rounds on the Internet in the last couple of days. I wrote it over twelve years ago in The Daily Telegraph:
In much of western Europe, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of an insular elite, with predictable consequences: if the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones.
At which point - all together now - enter the Pussygrabber. His supporters didn't care about his personal foibles (anymore than Rob Ford's did) because he was raising issues nobody else wanted to talk about.
That 2004 Telegraph column was about how the British people's views on the European Union were not reflected by any of the "mainstream" parties. Twelve years later, when their views were belatedly sought, they voted to leave the EU. Another passage from that ancient piece seems relevant to Washington:
The political class has refined Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right not to have to listen to you say it. Are you still here?
This is unworthy of a democracy, and more to the point deeply unhealthy. One reason why the Eutopian dream has fizzled across the Continent is because the entire political class took it for granted no right-thinking person could possibly disagree with them, so they never felt they had to bother arguing the case and, now they have to, they can't remember what the arguments were.
Hence the bipartisan establishment's response to Trump: Jeb was befuddled, and Hillary's only card was to dismiss half the population as "deplorables" who were "irredeemable". Not our kind of people, darling.
Trump was supposedly a weak candidate, but in fact, as I told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB in New Zealand, he had "an unerring instinct for the weakness of his opponents" - and they had a much more difficult time gaining any purchase on his. You can hear the full interview with Larry here.
~It's always fun to go on The Larry Williams Show and The Evan Solomon Show. But, for years now, listeners and viewers and readers have been saying, "Why isn't there a Mark Steyn Show?" Well, now there is. It starts in just over three weeks' time for a full hour on TV five nights a week that you can watch whenever you want from wherever you want - from Ottawa to Auckland and everywhere in between. And for the low-rate introductory offer you get a bunch of other great shows too - including (just added to the line-up) my kinda sorta fellow Quebecker, the hilarious and fearless Steven Crowder. To find out more about the show, simply click here.