Trump’s first year: truth gets lost in hysteria

Trump’s first year: truth gets lost in hysteria, by Chris Kenny.

The visceral and often irrational disdain for Donald Trump displayed by otherwise seemingly high-functioning adults is beyond easy explanation.

Here we are a year after his inauguration and large elements of the media, academia, left-of-­centre politicians, their followers and even many centrists still recoil at the very mention of his name, treating him as a dumb, dangerous and illegitimate President.

It is silly and deluded. It also plays to Trump’s strengths, affirming his claim to be a Washington outsider opposed by the broad political establishment and misrepresented by most of the media. It only under­lines his narrative about insiders resisting his efforts to “drain the swamp” and rejecting the mandate he carries from mainstream voters. …

From the initial riots and grand conspiracies about Russia deciding the election, to predictions of impeachment and calls to challenge the electoral college, even pussy-hat protests and profanities from celebrities, this is a dummy spit of epic proportions. Remember, pre-election, when the Democrats demanded Trump must heed the result! …

No matter how wrong the commentators are about his nomination chances, electoral chances, economic impact or tax reform prospects, they continue with wild, spiteful and juvenile attacks.

This is not only an American phenomenon. It is mirrored in other Western liberal democracies, including our own. Australian commentators wrote him off before the election and expressed alarm at his victory. …

Voters … wanted to shake up the system. The attraction of Trump as a disrupter was obvious, especially for working (or under-employed) Americans away from the wealthy, liberal cities of the northeast and west coast. …

Clinton did not campaign strongly in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, so-called “blue wall” states that would have secured her the election. The way she turned her back on these states was as unfathomable as how she referred to potential Trump voters as “deplorables” who might be Islamophobic, misogynistic or racist. While Trump appealed directly to the blue-collar constituency, Clinton insulted them.

We have seen since his inauguration how Trump has stuck to this mission statement. Yet the political/media class hatred for him seems as intense now — and as confused — as it ever has been. …

It is a mistake to think his supporters necessarily are fond of his personality or style. They love Trump for the pain he causes virtue-signalling liberals whose post-material concerns are a world away from their daily objective of making life better for their families.

We have to judge Trump by his performance. … The mainstream media has given him virtually zero credit for any of this. … When serious journalists say Trump threatens freedom of the press because he accuses media of “fake news” and bias, they simply demonstrate their antipathy. Suck it up.

Don’t forget how the political/media class hated and sneered at Ronald Reagan. They were wrong, of course. … Modern Republican presidents tend to be mocked, Democrats lauded.

Trump is reviled for bringing the Oval Office into disrepute because of horrible, boastful, sexually aggressive comments secretly recorded a decade before he ran for office. Yet Bill Clinton’s cigar escapades with a young intern in that very office — and the way he and his wife denied the claims and undermined the reputation of his many alleged sexual harassment victims — are forgiven. …

In the age of identity politics, the left seeks to declare its virtue via the identities it praises and those it deplores. Obama — whatever his actual achievements — is lauded on identity grounds; Trump is the white, wealthy and Waspish antihero.