The Left-Wing Trump Haters
About a third of the Democratic party (15–20 percent perhaps of the electorate?) loathes Trump, from reasons of the trivial to the fundamental.
The hard-leftist hatred is visceral; it is multidimensional; and it is unalterable.
Trump is rich, crass, showy, a white male, and 70. As the anti-Obama, he punches every progressive button in existence. A candidate like Trump was not supposed to exist any longer in the 21st-Century Age of Obama, much less should he have ruined the anticipated progressive Obama-Clinton 16-year regnum. Trump’s accent is outer-borough and seems to exemplify for Trump haters the gaucheness of the golden trump name stamped all over New York. The Europeans have utter contempt for Trump, and that embarrasses leftists especially.
Unlike some Republican politicians who wished to be admired by cultural progressives, Trump prefers baiting the Left and its media appendages, as if to remind them that he prefers to overturn the entire progressive project of the last eight years — if not on ideological grounds (Trump not so long ago voiced a number of centrist and liberal views), at least out of tit-for-tat animosity. Unlike a restrained presidential Bush or a sober Romney, the president answers in kind — and trumps — the boilerplate leftist charge of “fascist!” and “Nazi!” leveled against him.
The Trump haters dominate our media and the universities, the entertainment industries, Silicon Valley, the billionaire green classes, the foundations and the brigades of professional foot-soldier activists, identity-politics operatives, and the Bernie Sanders shock troops. They are frenzied because they think their 1,000 cuts have finally hit arteries — only to see Trump revive in Nietzschean fashion, emerging stronger for the wounds. To come so close to ending this nightmare only to realize they are at the alpha and not the omega of their efforts intensifies their hatred.
Ritually cutting off Trump’s head, blowing him up, stabbing him to death, hanging him, beating him to a pulp — these all are the rhetorical bookends of the Left’s efforts to subvert the Electoral College, the Russian-collusion mythologies, the impeachment and 25th Amendments psychodramas, and Trump’s hoped-for physical collapse under the stress of pure hatred. The calls for Trump’s assassination or maiming, if, mutatis mutandis, aimed at Obama would have earned long jail time for dozens; now assassination porn becomes an object of emulation.
Yet Trump hatred only solidifies the Trump base. It also reminds independents and wavering centrist Republicans that in a Manichean fight (and the Trump haters seem to envision the current landscape as just that), one inevitably chooses sides. If the choice is reduced to a crude rant at a public Trump rally or the rioters at Claremont, Berkeley, and Middlebury, a screaming Madonna, the “pigs in blanket” chanters of Black Lives Matter, and the masked marauders of Antifa, the Trump haters probably lose.
The Loyal Opposition, Sort Of
Mainstream Democrats in politics are bewildered as much as repelled by Trump. They find him scary because their party that professes contempt for wacky Trump supporters somehow finds conservatives in control of all the traditional levers of political power, from the local to the state to the national level. There is no more Blue Wall, and Democrats know why.
Trumpism is insidiously predatory and picks off Democratic working constituencies like wolves do wandering sheep from the herd — with nocturnal howls to fair trade, reenergized industrialization, energy production, immigration enforcement, realism aboard, and infrastructure investment.
Likewise, savvy Democrats fear Trump because they had long preached that “demography is destiny” only to learn that lots of minority bloc voting in solidly red or blue states was not as electorally potent as a riled working white class in key swing states. The knowledge that the outsider and supposed fool Trump grasped that truth while both his Republican primary rivals and Hillary Clinton did not proves especially irritating. Hillary is now reduced to daydreaming about what a tougher Hillary might have said to Trump during the debate, incoherently bragging she was not intimidated as she proves that in fact she was.
What also scares mainstream Democrats is that Trumpism may have exposed an existential vulnerability of the contemporary Democratic party, heretofore known but rarely voiced: It is now a rich man’s, bifurcated party of the two coasts. It hates the culture of the middle classes (who lack both the romance of the poor and the refinement of the rich) and cynically relies on promises of never-ending entitlements for the underclass. It offers boutique issues for the affluent who, with winks and nods, are assured that they will have the clout and money to navigate around the messy ramifications of their own policy positions. In other words, it is tailor-made to empower a figure like Trump.
Progressives do not mind being called starry-eyed, utopian, impractical, or even socialist; they do fear being tagged as elitists by populists and economic nationalists, especially by a Manhattan billionaire. Trump has leveled that charge as no other Republican has since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Like addicts who know that their fix is both killing them and yet cannot be kicked, so too Democratic establishmentarians fear that their own identity politics are feeding Trump’s rise. Nevertheless, they would rather lose elections than forfeit a decade’s worth of race and gender investments. For now, they fool themselves into thinking that the latest Trump outrage is the longed-for final straw that crushes the presidential back.
Ten to 15 percent of the electorate are pure pragmatists. In general, they like neither politics nor controversies. They have enough moral figures in their lives without requiring their president to be an ethical icon. Their idea of a good president is one rarely seen or heard, but evident on autopilot when we have a robust economy, quietude overseas, and unity at home. Independents liked Obama’s last year when he vanished from view and let candidates duke it out — as the abstract idea of Obama was always preferable to the reality.
Yet independents also notice that an incompetent and haughty Obama left havoc in his wake, though they nod that at least he was “presidential,” which means presentable to elites abroad. If American under Trump hits a 3 percent rate of GDP annual growth, unemployment dips below 4 percent, a soaring stock market does not crash, and the administration makes some progress on lowering the deficit, carefully raising interest rates, and reducing taxes, the fence-sitters become Trumpers. If not, they are loud anti-Trumpers repulsed by his tweets and Make American Great Again rallies. Right now, they sense — but are not quite convinced — that it is more likely for a while that Trump’s negatives will be overshadowed by good economic and foreign-policy news.
The Republican Never Trumpers
About 10 percent of Republicans — overrepresented among the coastal intellectual, political, and affluent strata — despise Trump every bit as much as do their hard-core progressive counterparts.
For some, to be fair, the loathing is entirely principled: After damning progressives for being uncouth, reckless in their personal lives, loose in speech and behavior, how can they now excuse Trump, the messenger, just because his message is often convenient?
This species of Never Trumpers sees support for Trump as abject ethical treason. They would even rather live with a Clinton Supreme Court for 30 years than be stained by Trumpian enablement and hypocrisy (“wrong with Hillary is preferable to right with Trump”). They prefer catharsis to governance with Trump and dream that they will be ready to rebuild the party of George H. W. Bush and Paul Ryan after the fires of such ritual cleansing have incinerated the Trump yahoos.
Other sorts of Never Trumpers are schizophrenic and even somewhat remorseful. After a bad Trump week, they exuberantly brag to friends or write “I told you so” columns. When good Trump news lingers for a few days or so, they grow sullen in fear not merely that others are fooled by Trump and amoral in their utilitarianism, but that they might be fooled as well: They hate Trump the man, in the abstract, while they’re relieved that Trump the message, alongside his concrete actions, is almost what they wanted.
Obviously, these lefties didn’t pay attention to candidate Trump.
I did partly because hubby was so on the Trump train from it’s start (the escalator.)
Here’s what they’d have learned if they had watched him:
Donald Trump is smart. He has a STEEP learning curve.
When he 1st spoke on the stump he talked right through the applause his words elicited.
But someone in his camp told him to stop doing that.
Within a week of getting that advice he was waiting for applause to die down before continuing.
That’s just one example.
Thing is, unlike liberals, Donald Trump never thinks of a bad experience as a negative, but rather as a teaching moment.