Douthat: Trump v. Ryan = “White Identity Politics” v. Same Old Same Old
RealClearPolitics this morning carries a tellingly-entitled piece Every Trump Supporter Should Be Ostracized. This links to an essay on Eric Erickson’s The Resurgent by Steve Berman March 31 2016 which is a prime specimen of the ethnic frenzy which has so interested Kevin MacDonald since Trump began to gain traction. Reading it one wonders how if Trump makes further progress this emotionalism can be contained within the bounds of civil discourse.
Anyway, the essay is laudably linked and so introduced me to a fine Ross Douthat piece I had missed: Profiles in Paralysis The New York Times MARCH 19, 2016.
This is as clear a statement as one could wish of what the Trump versus GOP Establishment battle is about, couched as a discussion of the unspeakable Speaker Paul Ryan.
Trump isn’t just a random demagogue promoting bigotry in some haphazard way. He has an agenda and a message, and it’s a dagger aimed directly at Ryan’s vision for the party. On issue after issue, from trade to immigration to entitlement reform, a Trumpized party would simply bury Ryanism/Kempism under white identity politics, and swing as far from Kemp’s enthusiastic minority outreach as the G.O.P. could get.
Ryan [is] a pro-immigration free trader, a supply-sider and an entitlement reformer. He favors optimistic rhetoric about the American promise, paired with warnings about the perils of identity politics and the enervating effects of the welfare state.
Trump would not have gotten this far, would not have won so many votes — especially working class votes — if the Kempian vision had delivered fully on its promises, if mass immigration, free trade, deregulation and upper-bracket tax cuts had really been the prescription for all economic ills.
Douthat sadly concludes
Ryan simply returns to a 1980s-era message: cut spending, cut taxes, open markets, and all will be well. Asked about the possibility that some voters might see those policies as “taking care of people at the top more than you’re taking care of me,” he responds dismissively: “Bernie Sanders talks about that stuff. That’s not who we are.”
As James Kirkpatrick notes today
The functionaries of the Beltway Right [are] content to squeeze out a living while they run out the clock on the historic American nation. But as the 2016 election shows, it doesn’t seem like the GOP base is going to go along with their program of demographic defeatism.
Except that their betrayal is making them rich.