I had an interesting chat a few days back with a friend of mine, a very plugged-in political reporter. Like a good reporter, he aspires to neutrality, but he can’t hide his distaste for Cruz and his appreciation for Trump. What gets him about Cruz is the pose of smarmy rectitude, which he sees as entirely hypocritical. I can see that, but what surprised me was his analysis of what’s behind Trump’s appeal: his compassion. Ordinary voters sense that he’s on their side, as opposed to people who really don’t care a fig about them.
There isn’t much compassion around these days, not from people who think ordinary Americans are bigoted meth addicts who deserve to die out. From Obama you expect that, but this is from people we thought were on our side!
Compassion is also absent from people who see politics as a kind of political geometry. Start with the right postulates and axioms and the theorems will line up nicely. That’s how Mitt Romney came up with his 59-point plan. Anybody remember that? Maybe just one point? Bueller? Bueller?