Inability to comprehend Trump phenomena exposes political class naivety

trimp 2The indignation many in the political class have demonstrated towards Donald Trump’s emergence as a top-tier Presidential candidate speaks loudly to the isolation many in the political class live in, as well as the arrogance and elitism many regularly display.

Having worked in and around politics for many years before branching out doing other work, I now realize most political people in both parties live in a terminal bubble. Many engage in group think, and are so “trained” in how to express thoughts or emotions  that anything different is threatening and thus mockable.

The chattering class has been enabled by cable news channels like MSNBC and FOX News who emphasize political discussion over actual breaking news, global happenings or investigative reporting. They have publications like Politico which is largely driven by insiders, whose opinions are formed by talking to other insiders mostly in and around Washington DC, New York City or Los Angeles. Many partisan activists on both sides of the fence adhere strongly to talking points and the need to be “non-controversial” to win elections.

Donald Trump’s success has blown the doors off the elitism and naivety of this insider class of politicos. Let me make it clear, I think Donald Trump is a buffoon and have thought this for 30 plus years, since the days when he owned the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. But he’s connecting with a base of voters that tired of politicization of everything and political rhetoric. They are tired of the elitism of the Washington (and Tallahassee) cocktail circuit, the constant narcissism of some politicians (although Trump is probably the biggest narcissist of all), the desire to “control” political developments that is demonstrated by the leaderships of both parties and the type of nonsensical talk of cable news channels.

Often times I have found honesty, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills are the most undesirable traits when in a room or discussion with people involved with politics. Robotic thoughts, and safe reactions are the way forward for so many.  Many who seek elected office do so simply because they desire the recognition and the perception of power. In some cases, they don’t have the critical thinking skills or intellectual curiosity to make it in another line of work. This last statement probably speaks as much to local yokel political consultants than actual elected officials.

In the post -debate analysis Trump “lost” per almost every political analyst appearing on various cable news channels or blogging on political sites. Yet his lead in the polls GREW after the a debate where a cable news channel clearly connected with the Republican Party had in appearance made it a mission to discredit Trump. No doubt Trump’s reaction towards Megan Kelly smacked of misogyny and arrogance, but the American people not just Republican primary voters are fed up with politicians, consultants and the cable news channels. Trump’s plain bluntness combined with his celebrity have made it impossible for spinmeisters in Washington DC to control the narrative. That threatens the entire monster that is the political chattering class.

My hope is that Trump implodes in the near future. But I certainly would the political elites of this state and nation will understand the very serious lessons of his candidacy and why he attracted so much support.

7 comments

  1. It was much the same with Ross Perot.

  2. steve ellman · · Reply

    “…honesty, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills are the most undesirable traits when in a room or discussion with people involved with politics…”

    Trump certainly doesn’t provide any of those.
    But your point is well taken: He appeals to the cynicism of the American electorate — and the gullibility.
    It is frightening, as those characteristics are those of what Hannah Arendt called the “pre-totalitarian mob.”

    “ A mixture of gullibility and cynicism had been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses. In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. The mixture in itself was remarkable enough, because it spelled the end of the illusion that gullibility was a weakness of unsuspecting primitive souls and cynicism the vice of superior and refined minds. Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.
    — Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

  3. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    I would like to see Trump be the Republican nominee and have to cope with Bernie Sanders. But I believe Hillary suffers from the same problems the other Republican candidates have with Trump, which are well explained in your post.

  4. nothing wrong with Trump that a Sanders can’t handle – I believe that both sets of their followers are really just fed-up with the b.s. politics that has evolved in our great nation – As have so many party loyalists (from both parties) a retired of being lied to during political campaigns and so many of us will grab at any straw hoping to get a candidate the voters whom we can believe and trust – I’m a lifelong Progressive and while I’m supporting Bernie, I think that Trump’s campaign will force the other candidates to cease talking in platitudes and cut out the verbal garbage – our candidates must mean what they say, and say what they mean – otherwise loyalists will start to either abandon the party choices for candidates and continue to look for politicians who – at least – sound like they mean what they say – it’s all so sad –

  5. Jonathan · · Reply

    The pols just don’t get it. Or get Sanders for that matter.

  6. Kartik, you are right on with this article!! People are tired of the same old politicians that just read a script off a monitor. Most informed constituents know that politicians are out of touch with the common man/woman and they are rebelling through Mr.Trump. Mr. Trump has struck a nerve with the American People and political correctness run amok. Basically we are fed up!! Politicians count on the average voter not to research issues and the elections become a popularity contest. I wish he would bring up lobbyists who truly run this country. I do not like Donald Trump as a political candidate, but maybe, finally, the politicians will get the anger that is festering in this country, especially the US Sentors/ representative. we need term limits, this should not be a lifetime occupation. As for Megyn Kelly, I watched her show last night and she handled all the brouhaha with intelligence and class!!! A true class act!! Maybe she should run!!! Thanks again for a terrific article!!!

  7. Mexican illegals, and suggesting that once Trump builds his wall along America s southern border, tourists can come watch the live drone shows. Why aren t more people doing basic skin-cancer screening?

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