By Michael Warren Davis
If nothing else, Donald Trump offers an escape from the political correctness that infects American politics. Michael tells us how.
In years past, the Very Serious People who make up the American right-wing media have insisted that the key to Republicans maintaining electoral viability is to become more progressive. Some have insisted that it abandon its conservative social positions and embrace same-sex marriage and the legalization of drugs. Others have opted for demographic pandering – for example, creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in order to attract more of the Latino vote. The Republican regime that the Establishment may (or may not) be able to build is increasingly seen by the Republican base as something less than a serious alternative to the left-wing Democratic Party.
Enter The Donald.
Leading conservative commentators have lambasted Trump as a pseudo-conservative, citing the progressive views on issues like abortion and healthcare that he held for both of his life. But too much to-do has been made about his track record. What matters more than Trump the man, is Trump the movement. His candidacy, as countless others have pointed out, embodies the base’s revolt against the Establishment. It means addressing the priorities of plainspoken, hardworking, family-centered Americans – serving their needs first and worrying about electability and political correctness.
And, as it happens, this is a message that resonates with Millennials, too. A poll by Rock the Vote and USA Today placed Millennial Republicans’ support for Trump at 26%, with his closest competitor Ben Carson coming in at just 11%. The Trump Revolution isn’t just a coup among veteran Republican foot soldiers against a negligent leadership: the ideas he’s promoting are also gaining traction with first-time voters, which makes sense when you think about it.
What is Trump really saying? That he wants to prevent companies from outsourcing to Mexico and China and Japan? That’s something you figure most young people would be ardently in favor of – the sensible ones, anyway. There are plenty of Millennials who think our standard of living would remain the same or improve if everyone took a B.A. in Gender Studies and wrote for Buzzfeed. They think our economy can subsist on pure consumption, without producing anything more tangible than a listicle about cats that look like 20th Century dictators. Some, however, know better. They know that we need people with the skill and (more importantly) the grit to lay roads, fix cars, and build houses. Man cannot live on artisan cupcakes alone. The Millennials supporting Trump are those who realize the necessity – and the dignity – of blue-collar workers, who don’t turn their noses up to a hard day’s work.
And then there’s his proposed five-year moratorium on issuing visas to Muslims, which to some fortunate people is the worst thing they’ve ever heard. Trump believes ISIS is using the West’s open-arms policy on Syrian “refugees” as a Trojan horse, which recent developments in Europe show that they absolutely are. But, again, there are some Millennials who don’t see the need for to act because incidents are relatively few – or, to use the trendy parlance, “The majority of Muslims are lovely, peaceful people. I think the people who work at the kebab shop in Newtown are Egyptian, or some kind of Lebanese; anyway, they’re really nice. They smoke and drink and everything. There’s no way they’d join ISIS!” These are the people who see the boat’s sprung a leak and just shrug it off because there’s only an inch of water.
The Millennials who support Trump know that, if the US doesn’t act quickly, the migrant crisis will hit critical levels, as it has on the Continent. They see Northern European states desperately scrambling to keep the criminal, undocumented migrants flooding over their borders in check, and wonder if the States should really wait until the situation is that dire before acting. “Maybe, just maybe,” they muse, “We should nip it in the bud.” Those are the Millennials who support Trump. After all, the shrill, saggy old beatniks who populate academia will be dead before this trickle turns into a flood. They can stroke their moral egos by demanding an unceasing embrace of anyone and everyone calling themselves a refugee, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be dead before any of the downsides materialize.
Donalds come and Donalds go, but the movement he’s started – and it is a movement – won’t perish with his chances at the White House. The priorities, including the sense of urgency, that he’s vocalizing are shared by Americans of all ages. They won’t be silenced.