Trump: ‘I Am Your Retribution’. By Rod Dreher.
Watch this clip from Trump’s CPAC speech; it has a Darth Vadery feel to it:
President Trump: "In 2016, I declared, 'I am your voice.' Today I add: I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution!" pic.twitter.com/E3Cy6S4qFg
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 4, 2023
Two initial reactions from me.
First, this is horrifying. We have here a man who wants to return to the White House selling himself as the candidate of vengeance. Not justice, not a return to common sense and normality. Revenge. To say this is not healthy politics is to vastly understate matters.
In his chief rival, Ron DeSantis, we have a tough politician who — unlike Trump — actually takes risks to roll back wokeness, and does so effectively. DeSantis offers a positive vision that’s vastly tougher than the usual do-nothing Republican normie crap. But I have doubts about the power of that up against Trump’s appeal to the darkest, most primitive emotion. I really hope I’m wrong. Even if DeSantis should win the GOP nomination, it’s easy to imagine Trump playing spoiler, and locking up the vengeance vote.
Second, though, the Left should ask itself why it is that Trump arose, and can stand there getting loads of applause promising people to be their agent of retribution. How did we get to a point in our country in which vast numbers of people would be willing to vote for a candidate that openly promises vengeance on their enemies?
I don’t expect anybody on the Left to think about this, but they sure as hell should. Spain did not spiral into civil war in the 1930s because of the Right’s actions alone.
For what do Trump voters seek retribution? It’s not that hard to think of causes. …
- Maybe they resent that the ruling class — Biden at the top — has brought into being a world that privileges some people on the basis of skin color, and punishes others (most recently, see Biden’s “equity” executive order).
- Maybe they resent that entire institutions and professional fields have been seized by ideological fanatics who are destroying the possibility of excellence therein.
- Maybe they’re sick and tired of seeing all the crime return to their streets, and watching it explained away or ignored by the media because it doesn’t fit the Narrative.
- Maybe they are fed up with Washington politicians of both parties who won’t stop mass immigration by sealing the southern border (which could have been done for a fraction of the money we have sent to Ukraine).
- Maybe they resent that their children are propagandized at school and in the media to hate their own bodies and think that they might be happy if they severed their breasts or testicles.
- Maybe they hate that our woke ruling class has created Weimar America, and calls it Paradise.
- Maybe they are tired of feeling dispossessed in their own country. …
The desire for vengeance is palpable:
The danger about Trump’s positioning himself as a crusader for vengeance is that he is tapping into something real. A lot of Americans have good reason to want retribution. But if that’s what they pursue, they’re going to tear our country apart.
Joe Biden, the Democrats, and their woke battalions marching through America’s institutions have done a hell of a job ripping apart the social fabric of our country, and tearing to bits the classical liberal virtues that made life together in our highly diverse nation possible. We can hope that a DeSantis presidency will be the beginning of a restoration. We can be certain that a Trump presidency might give the Left what it deserves, but will also lead America even further into chaos and internal conflict. …
I get why the Darth Vader of Palm Beach reaches people. Trump had four years to show what he could do, and he mostly flopped. We on the Right can’t afford four more years of lib-owning rhetoric, while the Left solidifies its hold on institutional life. But we just might get it. And if that happens, the Left’s outrageous excesses in the Biden years will be the main cause. …
I know people who are fundamentally conservative, but who voted for Biden because they could not stand Trump. You could mock them by saying their stance is “look what Trump made me do!”, but that is a childish way to cope with a real political phenomenon. After all, the votes of people who cast them out of sheer disgust for the other guy count just as much as the votes of people who cast them out of principled analysis.
If you want to understand how we got here, and where we might be going next, you had better consider both the shocking and vulgar aspects of Donald Trump, but also the things that the Left in power (in politics and in institutional and business life) have done to wreck the country from the point of view of ordinary conservatives. If liberals and progressives become so drunk on their own sense of moral righteousness that they can’t see why so many Americans hate what they are doing, and take it as a personal attack, they won’t see a second Trump term coming.
This could get interesting. Maybe like 1860.