Republican Primary Lesson: It’s Not About You

The existential threat to America today is not communism but colonization by illegal aliens and Muslim “refugees.”  Political correctness subverts our First Amendment rights and shuts down even discussions about the threats to the middle class.

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By Mary Grabar | May 16, 2016

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On the day Donald Trump resoundingly won primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska, the same day that Ted Cruz gave one last, desperate call-out to voters by indicating that he would consider reentering the race if Nebraska voters decided he should, a Quinnipiac poll provided yet one more shock to the pundit class.  It showed Trump even with Hillary Clinton in three key states.  He was beating her on leadership abilities, economic issues, and security issues.

Voters also thought that Trump was more “honest and trustworthy” than Clinton.

Trump had a lower rating on “moral standards” probably because of his playboy past.

The question remains: why would people trust someone who has low moral standards?   How did Trump earn this trust?

He certainly did not do it the way Ted Cruz did by speaking in front of a large banner with “TrusTed” on it.  He did not do it by telling his parents’ hard-scrabble stories the way Cruz and Marco Rubio did.  He did not by simply presenting his name with an exclamation point the way “Jeb!” did.  He did not do it with a phony “aw shucks” act like John Kasich’s.

Oddly, the man who is cast by the pundit class as being the supreme narcissist used the old Reagan slogan, “Make America Great Again.”  He tapped into the patriotic desires of Americans suffering two terms of an anti-American Obama presidency.

As voters rejected the other candidates’ appeals, commentators upped the rhetoric and aimed it at Trump’s supporters. The libertarians and millennial conservatives pulled out their thesauruses for new terms of insult.  Erick Erickson alternated between references to Scripture and casting Satanic aspersions on Trump supporters.  National Review’s Kevin Williamson likened them to Hitler supporters, and said their communities “deserved to die.”  The ominous meme about “angry white working class voters” was circulated by pundits who had studiously avoided any parallel categorization of Michelle Obama.

Adopting a new more conciliatory tone, David Brooks acknowledged the “pain” of “declinism” and called for a New Deal-like effort to change the “national story” from the old model of rugged individualism.  He suggested a “new definition of masculinity” for the new economy that rewards “emotional connection and verbal expressiveness.”  (Brooks is detail oriented, as his praise of the creases in then-candidate Obama’s pants showed.)

These commentators who attended elite schools and had connections were initially confident that the champion Princeton debater, praised by his former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz as “off the charts brilliant,” would win out over the buffoon who spoke in sentence fragments.  Cruz’s campaign, as the Washington Post described it, “reflected its candidate: methodical, strategic and data-driven.”  It “deployed a sophisticated data strategy that used psychographic information to appeal to the fears or hopes of potential voters.”

On the day of the do-or-die primary, Cruz decided to talk to a man holding a Trump sign at his event in Marion, Indiana.  With cameras trailing, Cruz walked up to a guy who would probably not react favorably to Brooks’ “new definition of masculinity.”  He was from Ohio, a “pole-climber,” as he put it — someone Brooks, sitting in an office admiring the creases in his own pants, might espy, from a distance repairing the lines.

The effort was clearly intended to present Cruz as patient and charitable towards someone holding minimal “verbal expressiveness.”  Sure enough, in grammatically incorrect phrases, the man said that he supported Trump because of “the wall” and the Second Amendment.  He told him, “You are the problem, politician,” and asked where his Goldman-Sachs jacket was.  Cruz, with evident exasperation, repeated the well-known charges against Trump.  He asked him if he knew that he had argued a Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court.

Clips from the exchange were played on Fox on May 7, with Greg Gutfeld’s facial contortions and comments interspersed to show how impenetrable Trump supporters are to Cruz’s debating points.

While those in the #NeverTrump camp probably found Gutfeld’s mockery funny, others, such as other pole-climbers who are already disgusted with the sneering at their kind, probably did not.

Nor did they miss the announced “deal” with rival John Kasich, or fall for the slogan of used car salesmen and consumer advocates (“trust me”).

Do the candidates not understand that the hard-luck stories about immigrant parents bring only a “so what?” from children of immigrants who did not go Princeton or Harvard?  Do they understand that abstractions about “free enterprise” mean little when your job has been sent abroad?  Do they understand that bantering in Spanish on the debate stage doesn’t win any points if you have to compete for work with Mexicans hanging out at Home Depot?

Do they understand that talk about the Constitution inspires very little confidence if it comes from someone like Marco Rubio, who betrayed his supporters on immigration?  Do they understand that when you say “when I am president,” as Rubio did, that it comes off as presumptuous?  All three of the candidates who blamed Trump’s “rhetoric” for the rioters who closed down the rally in Chicago on March 11 lost credibility—and votes.

Did the Big Brains who kept invoking Ronald Reagan not listen to “the speech” on behalf of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater?  Reagan, calling himself a “former Democrat,” addressed middle-Americans’ concerns, then arising from the existential threat of communism and growth of government: an administration that sought to imprison farmers for improper bookkeeping, that built public housing, and that harassed businessmen.  Reagan told stories, about an Arkansas farmer who lost his 960-acre farm for over-planting his rice allotment.  He related a story about a young woman pregnant with her seventh child seeking a divorce so that she could qualify for Aid to Dependent Children, which provided more money than her husband, a laborer, could earn.

The existential threat today is not communism but colonization by illegal aliens and Muslim “refugees.”  Political correctness subverts our First Amendment rights and shuts down even discussions about the threats to the middle class.

As I described at this site, Trump at his rally on April 10, in Rochester, New York, connected with voters by talking about their concerns, such as the recent closing of SentrySafe, which followed Carrier Air Conditioning’s exit from Indiana to Mexico.

The day after the Indiana primaries, CNN invited a number of #NeverTrump-ers — over-glossed, quick-tongued politicos – who were contemplating a third party.

The #NeverTrump-ers ominously imply that if Trump is the nominee, “it will be a long, hot summer — and fall,” — continuing the idea that any violence will be Trump’s fault.  Erick Erickson, on the morning after the Nebraska win, predicting that the “Schadenfreudenfuhrer” will “beclown” himself over the next two months, advised delegates to the national convention to reject the will of the voters.  Otherwise, “We will see a party fail to unite. It’s [sic] standard bearers will flee.”

These “standard-bearers,” not looking beyond their own reflections, continue in the same self-destructive path.  As they accelerate the insults, they show that they may have “psychographic information,” but not much empathy or common sense.


Mary Grabar, Ph.D., taught college English for 20 years. She is now a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. She founded the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) education reform initiative that offers information and resources for students, parents and citizens. The motto,“Resisting the Re-Education of America,” arose in part from her perspective as a very young immigrant from the former Communist Yugoslavia (Slovenia specifically). She writes extensively and is also a published poet and fiction writer. Ms. Grabar is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.