Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist, used to say in his moments of Bolshie pique over this or that that thwarted liberal scheme that America needs a “new people.” A similar cry can be heard from neocon tastemakers in the wake of Trump’s defeat of sixteen opponents.
David Brooks is so worried about the ignorance of the unwashed masses that he has decided to go out into their “pain” and teach them a “new national story.” The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens is rooting for a resounding Trump defeat so that the people will never embrace a figure like him again.
“I most certainly will not vote for Donald Trump,” Stephens said on CNN. “I will vote for the least left-wing opponent to Donald Trump and I want to make a vote that makes sure he is the biggest loser in presidential history since, I don’t know, Alf Landon. It’s important that Donald Trump, or what he represents, this kind of quote ‘ethnic conservatism or populism,’ be so decisively rebuked that the Republican Party and the Republican voters will forever learn their lesson that they cannot nominate a man so manifestly unqualified to be president in any way, shape or form.”
Hillary has picked up a voter, it would appear. The neocon tastemakers gunning for Trump’s defeat view her as a fellow member of the ruling class, confused at times but at least comprehensible. Around the time of her appointment to the State Department, this crowd, conveniently forgetting the radicalism of her Yale days and work for the Children’s Defense Fund, propped her up as a safe member of the establishment. They have returned to this stance. Even if she is wrong on some issues, they figure, her dues fees have been paid. Trump’s haven’t.
Implicit in the intemperate outbursts of the neocon tastemakers is that the people should have consulted with them first. Part of the “lesson” the people need to learn is that they should take their opinions from intellectual betters. Never mind that those intellectual betters long ago lost their intellects in the pursuit of sophistication in a PC age. They quote the classics and fix their bow ties before making the “conservative case for gay marriage” and the wisdom of open borders.
Notice that the neocons so appalled by Trump’s vulgarity defend the much deeper vulgarity of the elite’s social revolution. Trump is not to their taste. But gay marriage is. That in part explains why a Supreme Court stacked by Hillary doesn’t terrify them very much. They wouldn’t want gay marriage rulings overturned, they feel largely comfortable with the feminist world Roe v. Wade created, and they find the religious-freedom pleas of the Kim Davises tiresome. On many of the hot-button social issues before the court, they agree with Hillary. And on matters of trade, immigration, and war, they feel more kinship with her than with Trump.
Perhaps Hillary can make up for the lost Bernie people with these Clinton Republicans. She needs every vote that she can get. According to the New York Post, she is so concerned about California that she “abruptly canceled her plans to stump in New Jersey.” On Memorial Day, Hillary looked haggard as she marched in a parade in Chappaqua, New York. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. In the latest California poll, Sanders trails her only by two points. So she will have go back to California early and “crisscross the state for five straight days,” says the Post. With a view to winning the June 5th Puerto Rican primary, she also had to adjust her position on its debt crisis, in effect adopting Sanders’s support for aid without accountability.
California governor Jerry Brown has now endorsed Hillary, though that gave the media an occasion to remind readers of his past slights against the Clintons. He once called Bill the “prince of sleaze” and accused Hillary’s “Rose law firm” of trading on her husband’s influence. Back then, Brown would have agreed with Trump’s description of her as “crooked Hillary.” Bill Clinton was so unnerved by Brown’s charge in a 1992 debate that he hit back by belittling Brown’s “family wealth” and “$1,500 suit.” These days Clinton makes more than that in the first five minutes of one of his paid speeches.
“Trump has taught me to fear my fellow Americans,” says Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. He too is looking for a new people, docile to the direction of the ruling class. Amidst lectures on masculinity from the New York Times, dreams of vicious lesson-learning dancing in the heads of tony pundits, federal fiats for the “transgendered,” and future pink slips down at the coal mine from Hillary Clinton, the masses can be excused for their aversion to the establishment’s “sophisticated” direction. The George Wills may call them vulgar, but they would prefer to live in a country where common sense isn’t in bad taste.