Trump was endlessly ridiculed for proclaiming “I love the poorly educated”, and in fact the poorly educated voted for him in record numbers. The American liberal establishment openly mocks Trump’s claims to be a “very stable genius”. They don’t even think he is an unstable evil genius. They think he is a moron. …
What makes Trump Derangement Syndrome distinctive in American history is not that the American political establishment despises him, as it does all anti-intellectual conservatives. What makes Trump different is the evident (and very public) contempt he holds for the liberal establishment. Hell hath no fury like an establishment scorned, and Trump scorns them — all of them. So did those who voted for him.
Having been warned that Trump was a rapist, a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, a sexist, a Russian agent, and an all-round bigot, 63 million people voted for him anyway. After four years of incessantly shrill elite condemnation, an impeachment, and a pandemic, 74 million people voted to re-elect him in 2020. In the liberal establishment’s calculus, that makes at least one-third of all American adults absolutely “deplorable”. Yet Trump and his supporters stood their politically incorrect ground. They never gave in.
Andrew Jackson was the last one like Trump:
The last American president to stand up to the entire liberal establishment was Andrew Jackson, who held the office from 1829 to 1837. Jackson was a frontiersman, an Indian fighter and a military hero.
He was the first president to be the target of an assassination attempt; when the assassin’s gun misfired, the sixty-eight-year-old Jackson nearly beat him to death with his walking stick. Jackson is believed to have fought more than 100 duels. In one, he was shot square in the chest. Desperately wounded but still standing, he levelled his gun, took aim, and killed his opponent.
Jackson’s presidency came thirty years before the Civil War, but even then pressure for secession was already mounting in the south. Jackson, however, was staunchly pro-union, despite being a major slaveowner. When South Carolina threatened to secede in 1832, Jackson pledged that “if one drop of blood be shed there in defiance of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find”. It was widely understood that he meant he would do it himself.
Donald Trump was known to speculate about whether the Civil War ever would have occurred under a president like Jackson. It’s a fair question. The Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 certainly wouldn’t have stood a chance.
By the standards laid down by Jackson, Trump’s anti-intellectual intransigence is mild, and the reasons for it are not so clear.
Maybe it’s all that money. No one knows how rich Trump really is … but he’s certainly rich enough not to be overawed by Wall Street or the Rockefeller Foundation. And whether or not he really is flush with cash, he’s sufficiently full of himself to stand his ground in the face of near-universal pressure to conform to the dictates of authoritative institutions.
He certainly wouldn’t have been cowed into a bank bailout like Bush was in 2008, or into backing down over Syria like Obama in 2013. He may be no Andrew Jackson, but he’s as stubborn and wilful as any politician practising today.
As president, Trump notoriously disregarded the opinions of established experts on everything from the border wall to the design of elevators on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The funny thing is, he was right on both. In time, he’ll probably be proven right on ivermectin, too.
But right or wrong is not the important thing, as seen from the liberal perspective. Trump’s crime was believing that he — or even the voters who elected him — had the authority to make decisions for the American people without first gaining the approval of the liberal class and the expert policy establishment it supports.
Trump’s naive approach to the presidency was simply to implement the policies that he had promised to pursue. He actually fulfilled (or at least tried to fulfil) the sometimes-crazy promises that had got him elected. That made him unique in the American political landscape.
Business as usual in politics is to listen to the voters on the campaign trail, then listen to the experts in office. Everyone knows that, and (nearly) everyone plays the game.
Lots more at the link.