Clinton vs Trump is Washington vs the forgotten

Clinton vs Trump is Washington vs the forgotten, by Nick Cater. Many great insights here.

Who frightens Americans less? The deplorable sleazebag with machine-washable hair or the finger-wagging fright bat in the stay-pressed pants suit? …

If the dominant sentiment in the 2008 campaign was hope, this time it’s loathing.

Few Americans will vote for Hillary Clinton but plenty will vote against Donald Trump, a candidate who embodies everything sophisticates detest. … He’s the antithesis of Clinton and repudiates the political class she represents. When his critics describe him as politically inexperienced they inadvertently describe what is, in the his supporters’ eyes, Trump’s most appealing trait. …

It is a contest fought on tribal lines that barely correspond to the lines on the conventional political map. It is not so much a contest between Left and Right or even Democrats and Republicans but between two sides of a republic divided more profoundly than at any time since the civil war.

Trump’s implosion in the past seven days — if that is indeed what has happened — may signal the end of his presidential aspirations but will not kill the sentiment he harnessed. The chance of a reconciliation between the forgotten Americans and the political class is even more remote than it was before this extraordinary campaign began. …

Exceptionally, neither candidate has moved towards the centre ground, the time-honoured formula in most presidential elections. … In today’s polarised US, one is for the political class or against it; to seek refuge in the middle of the road, as Margaret Thatcher once said, is to risk being run over. …

Clinton conspicuously failed to reach out to Trump’s “basket of deplorables”. Instead, she has sown disdain, confirming the forgotten Americans’ worst fears about the political class: that their interests have not been overlooked by accident but by design. …

Clinton appeals to moral narcissism, a sentiment that defines the world view of the modern Left and more than a few on the Right. “It is a narcissism that emanates from a supposed personal virtue augmented by a supposed intellectual clarity,” screenwriter Roger L. Simon writes in his recent book I Know Best. Moral narcissism, he says, took Clinton from an undergraduate social campaigner to Chappaqua plutocrat with a net worth in the tens of millions without missing a beat. …

If Simon is right, it augurs badly for a Clinton presidency. A country led by good intentions rather than good policy is a troubling place, particularly if those intentions are informed by the progressive fashions of the day. When The New York Times describes Clinton’s economic policy as “optimistic” and “wide-ranging”, it is time to start worrying. …

She has swallowed the mumbo jumbo of “inclusive capitalism” that dictates that the state ­addresses wealth inequality before wealth creation. Capitalism itself, she says, “needs to be re­invented, it needs to be put back into balance”.

hat-tip Stephen Neil