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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Trump's voice for the voiceless: A new majority
Exclusive: Theodore Roosevelt Malloch explains candidate's appeal with WWMC voters
THEODORE ROOSEVELT MALLOCH
After his resounding win in South Carolina, it is worth asking why Donald Trump is winning so resoundingly and will now likely become the Republican presidential nominee. To whom exactly is Trump giving voice?
In addition to the nearly constant personal attacks on Trump himself, the largest segment of his followers have themselves now come under rebuke. Although we shall not discuss them below, we want to acknowledge and emphasize that his supporters come from all walks of life, every community, ethnic group, gender, age and every race. The segment we wish to address is the so-called “white working and middle class” (WWMC) – 52 percent of all Americans in 2015. This is, to use a phrase employed by Coolidge and then Nixon, Trump’s “silent majority.”
This segment of the U.S. population is attacked from the left (Huffington Post and almost all mainstream media) for supposedly being xenophobic and racist. It is attacked from the right (WSJ) as being ignorant of economics and intolerant.
Let’s look first at the charge of xenophobia. Rather than hating foreigners, what the WWMC experiences at the gut level is fear, anxiety and distress at the erosion of American spiritual capital and the American dream. While the WWMC bases these conclusions on life experience, the same phenomenon has been identified at the scholarly level by Samuel Huntington (“Who Are We?”), Capaldi and Malloch (“American Spiritual Capital”) and Charles Murray (“Coming Apart”).
The essence of spiritual capital is high achievement and reward based on self-reliance, hard work and faith in a transcendent being, which created America as an exceptional place, a New Jerusalem, a shining city on a hill. It welcomes all people who come to America to share that dream – not those who come to turn America, either wittingly or unwittingly, into the place from which they have just escaped. It welcomes ethnic food. (Thankfully we are no longer limited to the bland traditional British cuisine our Founding Fathers knew.) This vision of spiritual capital embraces everything that enriches America – rejecting the culture of poverty and pervasive cynical political corruption as a norm.
Unfortunately, under the guise of multiculturalism we see the erosion of American spiritual capital, the emptying of the melting pot and the substitution of belief in God for an intolerant secular humanism. The Democratic Party currently sees immigrants as recruits, to the detriment of the WWMC. But despite the revolutionary ambitions of the militant far left now controlling the Democratic Party, the WWMC is not defeated or discouraged. The genius of Trump is that his rhetoric, considered simplistic by the urbane, sophisticated far left of New York City and Hollywood, sees the American dream rekindled in Trump’s enthusiasm. In Trump’s assertion he will “make America great again,” the WWMC sees hope a sound middle class income will once again be achievable in America, bringing with it the hope a secure future and a way forward for betterment may yet be attainable.
We move now to the charge of racism. There are lots of dysfunctional and wrongheaded people. How are we to understand them? Intellectual and media elites believe that everyone is a product of social circumstances beyond his/her control. As Harvard philosopher John Rawls once put it, those of us who are successful are products of the genetic lottery and happy family circumstances. If we work hard, that’s only because of our DNA and ambitious parents (who in turn are products of their DNA and their ambitious parents, etc.). There is a total rejection on the part of elites of the idea that internalizing success norms is itself an act of free will and a serious commitment to postponing gratification. This is consistent with the determination of the secular elite on the far left today to write God out of the picture completely.
In writing God out of the equation, the moral responsibility of each human being is ruled out of any consideration for their success. That’s where white guilt gets written into the picture as the central dynamics of the human equation. If some members of the minorities demand to be respected because they embraced the American dream and worked hard to overcome obstacles, they are to be ignored or charged with being Uncle Toms. The point of the far left is that white people succeed because white advantage is society’s addition to DNA and happy family circumstances explaining why white people are more likely to be included in the famous “1 percent” of the economic heap the far left rails against.
The American dream is seen as a farce; the successful members of the WWMC are perceived to enjoy what is termed “white privilege.” If there are dysfunctional people, they are to be pitied as victims who deserve an endless stream of resources, resources that do not go to the WWMC. The victims, of course, are the racial minorities and immigrants the far left of the Democratic Party sees as their constituents. When the WWMC objects to affirmative action they are called racist. When the WWMC is resentful of those who play the race card they are silenced by a pervasive PC political correctness.
We turn now to attacks launched upon the WWMC by the political right that controls the establishment GOP. Pundits aligning with George Will’s brand of Weekly Standard conservatism believe that the WWMC is composed of economic nationalists, not lassiez-faire economic actors in a free market economy. The free market is a great theory, but it does not exist in practice, certainly not in the international sphere – something that defenders of outsourcing tend to forget. It’s easy to speak about the long-term benefits of a so-called free market when you are already a Washington insider benefiting from the increasing income inequality in America, in which WWMC chronically loses ground to cheaper foreign labor, whether accessed overseas through free-trade agreements or imported as illegal immigrants.
When Democrats are in control we get crony socialism; when the Republican establishment is in control we get crony capitalism. The pharmaceutical industry is an interesting case in point, switching from crony capitalism when it blocked Hillarycare, to crony socialism when it embraced Obamacare.
Republican elites – who routinely make six- and seven-figure incomes, who benefit from “insourcing” (looking the other way when the domestic economy encourages illegal immigrants to work here at less than market rates rather than in their native country), who move effortlessly in a cosmopolitan cultural bubble far removed from the WWMC, who politely ignore affirmative action because their kids will get into the Ivy League anyway, who live in expensive gated communities, who really don’t care about the fate of minorities (they’ll vote for the Democrats no matter what), who are willing to pander to activist Hispanics – think they will get enough of the WWMC vote by throwing a bone to a few evangelicals (having learned nothing from Mitt Romney’s defeat).
While the supporters of socialist Bernie Sanders, especially the entitlement generation, want free stuff, supporters of Donald Trump in contrast want rewarding jobs. While the Washington elite in the George Will/Weekly Standard club hate labor unions, Donald Trump can claim to have hired in his various companies over decades more racial minorities and Latinos that all the other GOP presidential candidates put together. What a surprise it will be both to the current far-left establishment of the Democratic Party and the current William F. Buckley-descended “conservative” elite of the GOP when Donald Trump attracts the support of the “Reagan Democrats” that constitute a large percentage of today’s WWMC.
What the Trump supporters from the WWMC want is simply restoration of the American dream! They seek a voice for the “silent majority.” Truthfully, the American dream is bigger than any party or establishment, and it is more important than a narrow neoconservative ideology that loses elections and too often establishes only itself and the special interests that support it. The WWMC class needs a voice. Trump is the messenger of this voiceless group.