Lefty Writer: Some Trump Backers Think ‘A Bullying White Man’ Should Succeed Obama

The debate rages on as to whether Donald Trump represents the essence of the Republican party. Very broadly speaking, conservatives say he doesn’t and liberals say he does. One liberal, Michael Tomasky, claims that Trump, despite his left-of-center positions on several fiscal and economic issues, nonetheless embodies the “two qualities more than any others [that] have driven conservatism in our time.”

The first quality, wrote Tomasky in the September 24 issue of The New York Review of Books, “is cultural and racial resentment…The second is what we might call spectacle—the unrelenting push toward a rhetorical style ever more gladiatorial and ever more outraged…Trump is conservative resentment and spectacle made flesh.”

Trump’s backers, Tomasky opined, “long for someone…who can tame OPEC and China and Iran as if world affairs could be made to be like a reality TV show…But it has a more sinister aspect, this wish for a strong man who can just fix everything. And surely it’s also the case for some Trump supporters that after eight years of Obama, a bullying white man is exactly what is needed to restore things to their natural order.”

From Tomasky’s piece (bolding added):

Two qualities more than any others have driven conservatism in our time. The first is cultural and racial resentment, felt by the mostly older and very white population the GOP increasingly represents—resentment against a fast-changing, more openly sexual America, as well as against dark-skinned immigrants, and White House occupants, and gay people and political correctness and the “moocher class” and all the rest. The second is what we might call spectacle—the unrelenting push toward a rhetorical style ever more gladiatorial and ever more outraged (and outrageous), driven initially by talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and now reproduced on websites, podcasts, and Twitter feeds too numerous to mention. There is a strong tendency, perfected over the years by Fox News, to cover and discuss domestic politics as a combination of war, sport, and entertainment all at once.

Well, Trump is conservative resentment and spectacle made flesh…And while it’s true that Trump has now moved beyond that to embrace a few heterodox and even surprisingly progressive positions, it was resentment—specifically, his remarks about Mexico “sending” us rapists and criminals, back in June—that vaulted him to the top of polls…

…His supporters…long for someone…who can tame OPEC and China and Iran as if world affairs could be made to be like a reality TV show. This is an understandable yearning to some extent, in an age in which the United States’ ability to call the global shots is so much reduced from what it was fifty years ago. But it has a more sinister aspect, this wish for a strong man who can just fix everything. And surely it’s also the case for some Trump supporters that after eight years of Obama, a bullying white man is exactly what is needed to restore things to their natural order.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Economy Medicare Social Security Taxes Conservatives & Republicans New York Times Michael Tomasky Donald Trump


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