A Trump speech has to be experienced in person to really begin to grasp the incredible appeal this man has generated. The atmosphere inside the convention center in Eugene was electric. There were around ~5000 supporters —close to capacity, with many more outside who were, according to Trump, prevented from getting in because of fire regulations (Trump: “What are they worried about? It’s a cement floor. It’s not going to burn. Let ’em in,” to great cheers. )
I got there so 2-1/2 hours early, hoping to get a good place to stand (no seating), so many of the more obnoxious protesters hadn’t arrived yet. This is a very good video from InfoWars showing the types of people, the hatred, the Mexican flags, etc. that eventually showed up. The InfoWars reporter talks to a flag-holding anarchist/syndicalist duo who refused to talk to me. I guess it’s because I told them that they are pillars of the establishment. They just stared straight ahead.
Another Nordic-looking college-age protester asked me how it felt to be able to have enough disposable income to afford the $20 Make America Great Again hat I was wearing — as if that’s a good measure of class in America and suggesting (against all evidence) that he thinks Trumpsters are economically privileged. I told him he should stop listening to his sociology professors, but if I had my wits about me I would have mentioned the billionaires funding Hillary and the left generally, based mainly in Hollywood and Wall Street. Don’t get me started on that one.
Inside the convention center, most people had been standing for 3—4 hours, but there was no sign that it sapped their energy. When he entered, they exploded, shouting “Trump, Trump…,” with their Trump signs waving. (Everyone got a Trump sign upon entering.) This meant that when people were cheering and waving the signs, it was impossible to actually see Trump unless you were 8′ tall, but no matter. I was standing right in front of the media island toward the back of the hall, as close as I could get despite my early arrival.
Trump is a natural when it comes to public speaking. No notes, great eye contact, lots of hand gestures, exudes self-confidence. He has a circuitous style where he makes a point, then moves on to something else, then circles back, but it all makes sense. His big themes like “yes, we’re going to build a wall” got a yuuge response. (After saying it, he paused a bit, then: “and who’s going to build it?” The crowd knew exactly how to respond. Deafening).
The effectiveness of Trump as a speaker and the rapt attention and thunderous cheering are big reasons why he terrifies our hostile elites. All those White people screaming for a candidate who is saying things that are anathema to the post-1965 New Elite, threatening to undo the consensus on immigration, trade, and political correctness — the three big factors killing the traditional American majority. It’s the reason he has often been called a demagogue by his many critics—such as neocon Max Boot who labels him an “ignorant demagogue” (and that’s just the beginning of his tirade).
And one more thing about the crowd: Lots of young people (perhaps accounting for the incredible energy) and women. Trump mentioned the youth in the crowd at one point, and a CNN reporter I talked to said that it was typical of the crowds they were seeing. I suspect there were far more college-age kids inside the arena cheering Trump than outside protesting him—a very good sign indeed. If I had to guess, I would say the average age of the crowd was around 35, and essentially all White. As an graybeard, I was definitely an outlier.
Now that his nomination seems assured, there was little talk of Cruz or Rubio (although Trump did attack candidates like Lindsay Graham and Jeb Bush who reneged on their pledge to support the GOP nominee). I thought it perhaps significant that Trump started in by going after Charles Krauthammer, the ultra-Zionist neocon with a platform at Fox News, who has been one of his most trenchant critics since he entered the race. Krauthammer is of course not alone among neocons spewing visceral hatred toward Trump—one wonders how he was left off a list of Jewish #NeverTrump supporters compiled by the Jewish Journal, although Max Boot made it. Indeed, at this point, condemning Trump is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to remain on the neocon gravy train with all those plush jobs in think tanks, neocon media, and the government that entails. For neocons, the battle against Trump is Armageddon—if Trump wins, their domination of GOP foreign policy is at an end, a delicious prospect to say the least.
Trump insulted Krauthammer’s intelligence, saying he is “very average up here” and pointing to his head. He noted that Krauthammer pushed the war in Iraq, a $4 trillion disaster, “and we have nothing to show for it.” “He makes so many errors; so much wrong, thinks so much of himself.” Krauthammer is one of the many pundits who kept emphasizing that in the early primaries Trump was getting less than 50% of the vote, but, as Trump noted more than once, that was when he was up against numerous candidates. He is now routinely getting over 50% and in some places over 60%; in West Virginia yesterday it was 77%.
I couldn’t help thinking that Krauthammer is a surrogate for all the neocons who are saying pretty much the same thing, with the same vitriol. (Again, check out the Max Boot video for a taste of neocon anti-Trump invective.) The unrelentingly hostile Jennifer Rubin, who blogs at the Washington Post, is another case in point, and she is definitely on Trump’s radar:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016
Trump is obviously well aware of the neocon campaign to destroy him, promoting a third party if necessary (Rubin has the logistics all figured out), even if it means getting Hillary Clinton in the bargain. And one must assume that he understands that their Jewish identities are indeed relevant to understanding their hostility. After all, how could anyone calling himself a conservative opt for any of the proposed neocon alternatives — voting for Hillary, voting for a third party candidate, or sitting out the election? All of these alternatives help Hillary, with all that means for Supreme Court appointments and the continuing immigration onslaught. The good news is that neocons are being unmasked as liberals primarily devoted to an aggressive foreign policy on behalf of you-know-who.
I have a hard time believing that Trump is unaware of this, and the same goes for many traditional Republicans like Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry who have made it clear that supporting Trump is a very simple decision for real conservatives.
Krauthammer was profiled in my article “Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement”; see here, p. 39). Krauthammer advocates “democratic globalism” aimed at remaking the entire Arab world:
America is a nation uniquely built not on blood, race or consanguinity, but on a proposition—to which its sacred honor has been pledged for two centuries…. Today, post-9/11, we find ourselves in an…existential struggle but with a different enemy: not Soviet communism, but Arab-Islamic totalitarianism, both secular and religious.
Just to nail down the Jewish identity angle, Krauthammer is a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post and has written extensively in support of hard-line (i.e., ethnonationalist) policies in Israel and on what he interprets as a rise in age-old anti-Jewish attitudes in Europe. In 2002 Krauthammer was presented with Bar-Ilan University’s annual Guardian of Zion Award at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
In rejecting the Iraq War project, Trump obviously rejects bedrock neocon foreign policy, but he also comes close to rejecting that other bedrock neocon doctrine of the proposition nation “built not on blood, race or consanguinity” that Krauthammer thinks is so essential. With slogans like “America First” and “Make America Great Again” — both the antithesis of neocon globalism, Trump is plugging into nationalist feelings.
Trump is a populist candidate, and a defining feature of populism is distrust of elite institutions, particularly the media. More than once he pointed to the media area and said they were “the most dishonest people in the world.” He seemed to acknowledge his many gaffes during this campaign, stating that they happen because he is on live television three times a day with the media always ready to pounce on him.
I’ll give him a pass on that, but he’s got to get better. He also prepared the audience for negative ads featuring comments he made on the Howard Stern Show, noting that would never would have gone near the show if he knew he was going to run for president 20 years later. No question that Howard Stern brings out the worst in his guests.
In talking to people at the event, the first reason most came up with in why they support Trump is that he opposes political correctness (although it should be noted that a follow-up question on immigration also showed enthusiasm; one wonders if it’s psychologically easier to oppose political correctness in public). In his talk Trump commented on the “strong men in the audience,” noting that you are supposed to say things like “strong people” instead, and that political correctness is “out of control.” Trump is now in major damage control on women’s issues, mentioning the upcoming $90 million barrage of TV ads, much of which will focus on women’s issues, including quotes from his Howard Stern appearances. However his statement on “strong men” is definitely not politically correct and signals that he is not knuckling under on women’s issues. Instead, he stated that what women really want is “strength, they want border security, they want a strong military, they don’t want a woman who sits at home at 3:00 AM sleeping and doesn’t answer the phone” — a reference to Clinton’s alleged behavior during the Benghazi crisis.
Another major violation of political correctness was in his discussion of “Goofus” Elizabeth Warren, whom he labeled “a basket case.” “Her whole career is a fraud because she says she is a Native American (I won’t say the word ‘Indian’ because they say it’s not a nice word to use). Says she is 5% Native American. Therefore her whole career is because she was a minority … that’s a disgrace what’s going on in our country.”
This of course is true, but seems almost a badge of honor among her many fans for whom taking advantage of affirmative action — and dishonestly so, at that — is a virtue. Political correctness gone wild.
This shows that Trump will go for the jugular in attacking his opponents. He mentioned “Crooked Hillary’s” Wall St. friends and he pinned job-killing NAFTA on the Clintons. Most importantly, he cast her as an enabler of Bill’s sexually predatory ways: “She was a total enabler. She would go after these women and ruin their lives. What Hillary Clinton did to the women Bill Clinton had affairs with and they’re going after me? Give me a break. … Bill Clinton was the worst in history and I have to listen to her talking about it. … She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler and what she did to those women is disgraceful.” Roger Stone’s book, The Clinton’s War on Women, which Trump is aware of, provides useful information that goes far beyond affairs to include Bill’s violent sexual assaults, so at some point we can expect him to get into the sordid details in speeches and ads. (Trump’s comment, from Amazon: “This book on Hillary — really tough.”)
In recent talks Trump is also going after the Clinton Foundation, calling it a “scam” and saying that when he donated, “I didn’t know they were going to use [the money] to fly around in a private jet.” Referring to the Clinton Foundation as enabling their lavish lifestyle may be the least of it given all the corruption that has been uncovered. Trump won’t hesitate to bring it up. Trump said the media protects Clinton, which is certainly true. This article describes the MSM silence following a book on several financial scandals, including how the Clinton Foundation received $145 million for a deal that resulted in Russia getting 20% of US production of uranium in a deal that could not have happened without her collusion as Secretary of State. Trust Trump to bring up this and other scandals those two grifters were involved in. Crooked Hillary indeed.
Trump also described his campaign as a “movement.” “We have a movement going on that has never been seen in this country. Never. … I am nothing more than the messenger.”
This is an excellent tactic because people want to be part of a movement. A movement is more than supporting a candidate who has some good talking points or the GOP label. It’s about being in a “we” group arrayed against an evil, corrupt, dishonest “they” group — the media, Crooked Hillary, Conservatism, Inc., the Republican donors, neocon warmongers, the racial and sexual grievance industry, political correctness — in other words, the Establishment. The emphasis on Trumpism as a movement reflects the reality that the Trump candidacy is about identity. In particular, it’s about White identity (over 99% of the crowd was White), albeit of the implicit variety.
Given the hostility he has received from neocons and the “most dishonest people in the world” running the media, it is not at all surprising that Trump continues to add Jews to his immediate entourage at the same time that he attacks the likes of Charles Krauthammer and has to deal with numerous comparisons to Hitler, such as Abe Foxman and David Brooks condemning his hand gestures (which reminded them of Nuremberg rallies), and the ADL condemning his use of “America First” as a slogan because it reminds them of Charles Lindbergh (who had the temerity to say some true things about Jewish promotion of World War II; here, p. viiiff). As the Forward notes,
Trump put Michael Glassner, currently serving as deputy campaign manager, in charge of preparations for the Republican nominating convention. In addition, Trump named Steven Mnuchin, a Wall Street financier, to serve as his national finance chairman.
The two Jewish advisers will join several other members of the Jewish community filling key roles in the Trump campaign, including Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, two lawyers who are consulting Trump on issues relating to Israel, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has emerged as one of Trump’s close confidants in the campaign.
Not only that, as the Jewish Journal article notes, some prominent Jews are on board with Trump, including Sheldon Adelson, Ari Fleischer, New York Congressman Lee Zeldin, and syndicated talk show host Dennis Praeger. Even the Republican Jewish Coalition congratulated him on his win, although pro-Trump feelings are anything but unanimous in the RJC, and a lot of them, like other neocons, actually favor Hillary. Credit the RJC endorsement to Adelson. I suspect that Adelson is reasonably confident about Trump on Israel, is less concerned about issues like immigration and “xenophobia” than typical neocons, and doesn’t want to completely alienate someone who may well become the next president of the United States.
But of course, even all these ties and more are not enough for many in the organized Jewish community who are complaining about not having access to Trump — despite the hostility he has experienced thus far from organizations like the ADL.
My take is that Trump’s recruitment of Jews is a bow to the realities of Jewish power in America, as well as the Jewish desire not to put all their eggs in the anti-Trump basket (even though I would estimate well over 90% of US Jews dislike Trump). As long as Trump stays the course on his proposed policies, I have no problem with that.