Trump without apology

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Donald Trump has certainly restored excitement to American politics. He seems to understand the old political adage that controversy builds political stature. When Trump says something, he means it and does not back down. The general public finds this a refreshing tonic.

A few weeks ago, the left-leaning Huffington Post announced that they will not cover the Trump presidential campaign in their news section, but only in the ‘entertainment’ section. But in an era in which all news has sadly become ‘info-tainment,’ what is the distinction?

On the other side of the political spectrum, Republican columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Trump can’t possibly get the Republican presidential nomination. What she really means is that the elite to not approve of Trump. Jeb Bush chimed in, calling Trump “vulgar.”

But Trump knows the American people are tired of professional politicians who tell us what to do and what to think and how to vote. Unlike a slab of meat, which when pounded gets tender, Trump grows stronger under the constant pounding by the political and media elite. Under attack, Trump rises in the polls. For Trump is attempting to do something that the American public has not seen since Ronald Reagan: talk directly to the American people — over the media and over its criticism. It’s called democracy!

Most of the other GOP presidential candidates seem content to take their cues from consultants and pollsters. They want to appear to be something, rather than to stand for anything. They follow, rather than lead.

As of late in American politics, we have seen a new conglomeration of the media, consultants, and pollsters joining forces. Like the three witches on a barren heath in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, they brew a deceptive potion that limits human freedom and seeks to cast a controlling spell over voter’s minds. They are fond of words like ‘scientific’ and ‘progressive,’ but the effect of their brew is exclusive and oppressive. They cannot determine elections. Dewey did not defeat Truman!

In 1838, James Fenimore Cooper in The American Democrat foresaw the danger to democracy from the tyranny of a minority “creating public opinion to stimulate the existence of a general feeling in favor, or against, any particular man, or measure: so great being the deference paid to publick opinion, in a country like ours, that men actually yield their own sentiments to that which they believe to be the sentiment of the majority.”

Cooper accurately described our situation today, made worse by instant internet communication. Trump is attempting to break out of this mass media conformity.

In truth, the GOP has not posed a serious challenge to progressivism since the end of the Reagan era. The Republican party has become a wet one like England’s Conservative party in the years after Margaret Thatcher. Under the leadership of both Bushes (41 and 43), the GOP has hopelessly vacillated and seems under seige by consultants, pollsters, and media types who want to impose a kind of bland, predictable political conformity on the American people.

President Reagan’s greatest error was picking George Bush for his vice president. The blueblood wing of the GOP was dying until Reagan threw them a lifeline.

In 2000, George W. Bush captured the party machinery, and conservatives were replaced with people who go along to get along.  During his eight years in office, Bush undertook no conservative reforms and allowed the Left to make and shape the U.S political agenda. The Republican party today stands and fights for nothing, but seems to apologize for everything. Remember Trent Lott?

Trump is trying to reverse this deteriorating situation. It is a Herculean task, and like that ancient Greek hero, Trump has 12 labors to perform. Trump is in the process of cleaning out the Augean stables. His campaign is kicking up the dirt. It is a filthy job, but necessary, and if we are all to get a little dirty in the din, so be it. We can clean up later.

Trump has his work cut out for him. But those who lead must take the hard road, spell out what is wrong, and never waver; because the easy road — the one Hercules did not take — is the road to media applause, but political ruin.

Patrick J. Walsh is a freelance writer from Quincy. 


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