At NYT, Panic is Widening

I had the chance to listen to the first 30 min of Rush today. His theme was on the Trump phenomenon and how the GOP has effectively lost its moral authority.

“The MSM can’t find any Trump supporters who are so ‘outraged’ over, say, his Muslim comments, that they no longer support him” [I’m paraphrasing].

“In fact, each MSM attempt to destroy Trump is actually strengthening the bond between Trump and his supporters… And the MSM cannot not cover him, if they hope to maintain any role in the process.”

“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Rush said.

The NYT-crowd is similarly having an unexpected wake up call. “The Crisis of Republican Authority” is the title of Ross Douthat’s op-ed today. Another article from today’s NYT, “To Democrats, Donald Trump Is No Longer a Laughing Matter“, could safely and synonymously be reworded as “To NYT, Donald Trump Is No Longer a Laughing Matter”.

Also in the NYT today is “Voter Insecurities Feed Rise of Right-Leaning Populist Politicians“, wherein David Kirkpatrick engages in some liberal armchair theorizing. Except for the complete mischaracterization of Trump’s Moratorium position, and an accompanying quote by Marine La Pen critical of Trump (but in sounds like a very different context than how Kirkpatrick presents it), the piece is readable. It’s spins the entire Alt-Right phenomenon from economic determinism perspective, as the Left is wont to do, and ignores the whole ‘cultural dispossession of indigenous European peoples’ dynamic, which I would argue is more of a determining factor (e.g., mass immigration from the Third World and Muslim countries; the Stalinist expansion of Political Correctness across college campuses; BLM; etc.)

LONDON — Mass shootings by Islamist militants. Migrants crashing borders. International competition punishing workers but enriching elites.

Across the Western world, a new breed of right-leaning populists like Donald J. Trump, Marine Le Pen in France and Viktor Orban in Hungary are surging in popularity by capitalizing on a climate of insecurity rivaling the period after the First World War.

Many of them — as Mr. Trump did this week — have made headlines by railing against Muslim immigrants, calling them a threat to public safety and cultural identity. Left-leaning critics have compared the populists to the fascists of the early 20th century. Some riding the wave, like the Freedom Party in Austria or Golden Dawn in Greece, have specific neo-Nazi roots.

Unlike earlier right-wing movements, this generation of populists disavows the overt racism, militaristic rhetoric and associations with fascism that until recently scared away many mainstream voters.

Before the recent terrorist attacks or the European migrant crisis cast a spotlight on Muslim immigration, the populists had built support as trade protectionists or economic nationalists appealing to working-class voters who felt disaffected from established parties and political elites. And, for the first time in nearly a century, established parties across Europe and the United States are struggling to fend off or counter the populist insurgents as their competition pulls the mainstream to the right.

“What you are seeing here is quite a radical shift,” said Roger Eatwell, a political scientist at the University of Bath who studies right-wing parties.

For the past 15 years, I have lamented to friends and family that our generation needs a new Pat Buchanan. I have long posited to people the following gedanken: If Pat Buchanan ran his 1996 campaign today, do you think he’d get a lower percentage of the electorate, about the same, or higher. If you believe we’ve “progressed” so much since 1996, Pat’s numbers ought to be lower, right?

Kirkpatrick has a brief quote from Mr. Buchanan himself, an apropos way to end the piece:

Pat Buchanan, who ran his own right-leaning populist presidential campaigns in the United States for three elections beginning in 1992, said in an interview that he recognized many of his own cultural and economic themes in the speeches of Mr. Trump, Ms. Le Pen, and the others around Europe. Their movements were manifestations of the same global forces, he argued.

“Nationalism and tribalism and faith — these are the driving forces now and they are tearing apart transnational institutions all over the world,” he said.

It all reminded him, he wrote in a follow-up email, of a line from the “The Second Coming,” by W.B. Yeats: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

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