Seth Barrett Tillman: Why the Anti-Trump Commentariat are not Trusted

A significant part of the commentariat, including the legal professoriate, has again and again stated, with a regularity that belies conviction, that the American public’s choice, the choice between Trump and Clinton, is not a choice, not in the sense of a normal election, but a choice in which one is morally or prudentially impelled to choose Clinton because Trump poses an existential threat to the country. Their position is that to vote for Trump is to put the nation and its people at a profound risk approaching certainty. Why? Because Trump will be dictator-strongman of sorts: one election, one time. Or because Trump will plunge the nation into destructive wars. Or because Trump will wreck the fabric of the economy. Or because Trump will destroy the constitutional order and the rule of law.
I am not going to comment on the substance of the anti-Trump message. You have heard it all before, and you have or will very soon make up your own minds whether Trump or Clinton deserves your vote. What I will say here is that the messengers of the anti-Trump message are not believable because their actions (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) do not accord with their message. Moreover, because these messengers are not believable, on balance, I suspect they are helping Trump, not Clinton.
[. . .]
After the Brexit referendum, Frank Field, a long serving Labour MP, explained why Vote Leave eked out a majority. Too many in the elite told ordinary voters how they must vote and that the alternative was madness, chaos, and anarchy. Adults just don’t take kindly to being told what they must do in a democratic election, particularly from those who are going about their lives just as they always seem to do. The elite’s strategy backfired, or at the very best, it convinced no one. The same may happen in the United States. And if it does, we will know who is responsible for the result.

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16 thoughts on “Seth Barrett Tillman: <i>Why the Anti-Trump Commentariat are not Trusted</i>”

  1. Whatever the outcome, I can’t unsee the malice that was directed toward everyday working people, including by Mitt Romney. It was very revealing. So, yes it backfired when applied to me. I have no idea how representative I am, since it is my nature to resist hyperbole, melodrama, and I flee histrionics.

  2. The malice is certainly off-putting. I see it from both sides. Today, I was noticing it at Ricochet which I have once before quit subscribing and then went back and now have negative feelings for again. They are very hostile to Trump.

    The left has two segments I see. On one side are the naive Bernie voters. One is my daughter who won’t talk about politics, which is fine with me. Another daughter is an FBI agent and we usually disagree on politics but she has announced that she will not vote for Hillary. One son is a Trump supporter along with his family. Another son, a lawyer, is a lefty who pretends to be libertarian. I assume he is a Hillary supporter but we have not talked about it.

    The other side are those who have something to gain, either union members or business people with an ox that can be gored or fed, as the case may be.

    That group is the cynical group and probably some of the Ricochet members.

    There is a lot of virtue signaling on the right and in group triumphalism on the left. They don’t care if she is an SOB, she is OUR SOB,

    Certainly an interesting year,

  3. Having been lied to and betrayed repeatedly by those same members of the American Nomenklatura, regardless of supposed party, having been lied to and betrayed in all matters big and small; their statements on any subject can be reversed and taken as advice with better effect than believing anything they say.

    The Nomenklatura of both parties may win tomorrow. It may be by Hillary being elected, legally or by fraud. It may be by the GOPe’s toady Eggs McMuffin throwing it into the House where the GOPe will either elect Hillary as being preferable to them over Trump, or by selecting Eggs McMuffin, or McMuffin giving his electoral votes to Romney, Jeb!, or the Hamburglar before the House meets and one of them being installed.

    It does not matter. They have collectively destroyed the rule of law and the Constitution, and just as they view themselves bound by neither, the kulaks are no longer bound to obey either. The only certainty is that the Nomenklatura are the enemy, and that opposing them is the best first reaction one can have for self-preservation.

  4. Mile,
    I think you have accounted for most of the left, but I would add two more classes or sub classes if you like.

    Firstly, the actual ideologues who understand that it will take force and cleansing to arrive at their utopia of intellectual elites controlling everyone else in a one world commune. You could put them in the naive Bernieites because they have no clue where all the stuff they want to steal and share comes from, but they have at least got a realistic idea that it will take force and a permanent police state to make and keep such a world together as productive activity goes down the tube. I picture the Bernieites as thinking we’ll all just learn to “be nice” and self actualize by producing stuff that will all go to others who don’t feel like working their rears off. That’s the kind of naive I’m talking about. Of course the naive Bernieites could move into the ranks of the ideologues with a few more sessions of community organizing. Note that most of the Bernieites seem to have been co-oped to the Clinton brand of one world utopia. The hold outs seem to have had their feelings hurt by Bernie’s treatment by the DNC, et al. They are undoubtedly also not keen on her blatant corruption and pandering to the second group you named by Billery.

    I would also make a separate group who are the captive dependency and victim class. They don’t have any political beliefs beyond, “Give me some more of that.” They could be placed in the second group you named, but they make strange fellows for the crony capitalists, crony unionists and professional government bureaucracy. You don’t actually have to make them better off to get their support, just talk a good game when it’s time to vote. As long as their organizers and icons are flush, they can be delivered when needed, at the polls or on the streets.


  5. And I am just reading today off Drudge that a WaPo reporter was caught asking the DNC for their results of their anti Trump research.

  6. This morning Hillary was on the phone with the Steve Harvey show. I can’t imagine that show would be pushing her as hard as they have been the last week if they thought everything was OK.

    Today a poll came out showing her up in NH by 11 points. Good grief. No one can possibly believe that. Another poll showed her up by 1. So they experts average the 2 and say, voila!, she’s up by 6. You can’t average like that. One of those polls is very, very wrong. It’d be like if I gave you two rulers to measure the height of a table, and on one of them the markings were wrong so that it said 12 inches, but it was actually 10 inches long. You can’t just measure the height with each ruler and take the average. You need to throw out the bad measurement.

    I still suspect Trump loses tomorrow.

  7. jaed Says:
    November 7th, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Subotai Bahadur: Who is “the Hamburglar”?

    Evan McMullin, the official GOPe ballot splitter candidate, is known as “Eggs McMuffin”. His fantasy scenario is winning a state enabling him to prevent both Trump and Clinton from getting 270 EV’s, throwing it into the House. There the scenario splits. Either McMuffin is chosen as president by the House, or he gives his EV’s to Romney, Jeb!, or other GOPe empty suit and they are selected to be president with none of those icky voters being involved. It is fantasy.

    Eggs McMuffin being a McDonald’s product, I and a few others have been using the McDonald’s character “the Hamburglar” as shorthand for the “other GOPe empty suit”. Inside joke that probably should have been explained.

    Personally, I think if it goes to the House, the GOPe vastly prefers Hillary to Trump, so enough House members will defect to Hillary [and probably turn a profit off of it] to elect her. Eggs won’t mind, because his function as a GOPe operative is to elect Hillary.

  8. they have at least got a realistic idea that it will take force and a permanent police state to make and keep such a world together as productive activity goes down the tube.

    My daughter, the Bernie voter, who I love and who is very bright (speaks four languages including Arabic) thinks California will solve its budget woes (at least she recognizes them) by legalizing marijuana. She seriously thinks so.

    She is in New York this week with an artist she works for who sells his “contemporary art” for millions per item. She also works for a gallery in Venice CA which sells these things (I don’t like them) for $500 k to $ 1 million. She moves in the high priced art world and goes to exhibits peopled by movie stars etc.

    I asked her one time if all states legalized marijuana, wouldn’t that reduce the advantage to California ? I didn’t even bring up Mexican drug cartels.

  9. Our friend Bret Stephens apparently just couldn’t let election day come without telling those voting for Trump how much he hates them. OK, Bret, we know which side you’re on, don’t worry about that.

  10. Subotai Bahadur: thanks for the explanation. Your comment makes sense now (with the Hamburglar as “empty suit TBD”.

  11. There is enough evidence about Trump’s personality and moral character to make the proposition that he is profoundly and uniquely dangerous to the constitutional order of the United States quite plausible.

    I say this as someone who was delighted by the defeat of Clinton, whom I believed to be even more dangerous (though alas, not uniquely).

    Many people feared Trump who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be included in the “establishment commentariat”: Thomas Sowell, for instance; also P.J. O’Rourke and Eliezer Yudkowsky. Sowell still preferred Trump over Clinton, but with deep reservations.

    We all hope those reservations prove to be unjustified, but I would not bet the farm on that.

  12. “he is profoundly and uniquely dangerous to the plans of the Democratic Party of the United States quite plausible.”


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