“Why not challenge the establishment with a candidate they’ve never heard of? Who has never been primed or prepped or greased for public office? And whose lifestyle is so weird that the idea of ‘conversion’ would never occur to him? In other words, why not run an honest freak and turn him loose, on their turf, to show up all the normal candidates for the worthless losers they are and always have been?” – Hunter S Thompson
When the Golden Don first descended his escalator to flashing lights, announcing his candidacy for the highest office in the land, I was far from alone in jumping on the Jon Stewart ridicule bandwagon in response. This clown? President? And that was all aside from one of the most tone-deaf announcement speeches ever delivered. I eagerly awaited what would certainly be an avalanche of unintentional comedy.
And yet, here I am, in full official MAGA (Make America Great Again) regalia, deprived of my chance to vote in the California primary due to his overwhelming early nomination victory. I take a kind of pride in being one of the few to recognize the merits of Trump early on, before the cascade of primary victories. His campaign is a revolution, in more ways than you might imagine.
Even back when I could be considered a card-carrying member of the liberal left-wing, I held serious misgivings about the direction the movement was taking. Aggressive ad hominem attacks coupled with no-platforming and outright harassment as condoned strategies to be employed against ideological enemies were becoming increasingly mainstream. Worse still, I got to watch the spectre of identity politics come back to life to hijack the left wing with movements like Social Justice and its offshoots such as the utterly disingenuous Atheism+, among many others.
These trends have splintered the entire political discourse on both sides of the aisle into a pointless cycle of feigned outrage met by obsequious apology, while opportunistic “activists” profit from the attention. The modern establishment left demands total adherence to the party line, and anyone who so much as puts a toe out of place is a racist, sexist, bigot arguing in bad faith. Reasonable arguments have gone out the window, and while the right wing is hardly sinless, it is the left that has propagated this toxic culture.
Into this mess steps The Donald (or as Trump Fan No. 1 Milo Yiannopoulos calls him, Daddy), a man unrestrained by trivialities like basic courtesy or expedience, with his enormous property and media empire and even more enormous ego. Measured on the progressive stack, he is the living avatar of privilege: white, obnoxiously wealthy, and aggressively heterosexual. Not content with his existence alone launching a thousand triggerings, he has made pointedly anti-PC expression a cornerstone of his campaign, alongside the rebirth of American nationalism and the Wall (which Mexico will pay for).
Instead of being cowed by the usual left-wing outrage, he embraces it, earning himself wall-to-wall media coverage worth billions with his irreverent off-the-cuff remarks and midnight tweets, all ostensibly offensive to some group or another. Each time, pundits proclaim this gaffe will surely spell the end of Trump, and each time they have been baffled by another round of Trump victories and rising poll numbers. What Trump represents, and has united a wide and strange coalition of support for him, is a rebellion against the rabid collegiate thought police on one side, and the suit-and-necktie respectability peddlers on the other. What’s more, he has brought forth a solution to their malaise. Much like the insolent child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, by simply pointing out the absurdity of contemporary PC culture, he allows us to openly laugh at and mock it. His persistent success and unapologetic conduct have served to defang the new Regressive Left, and inspired the silent majority to publicly resist their agendas and bring open discourse back to our democracy.
His message transcends the partisan divide, and to comprehend the apparent insanity of this election cycle will require many of us to step outside our comfy political echo-chambers. He won New York by a landslide last week, rolled to a sweeping Super Tuesday win with all five of the states on offer, and secured the nomination with a decisive victory in Indiana. Like it or not, he is now the face of one of the two political parties in the most powerful nation on Earth, and should be regarded as such, instead of another 15-minute media gag reel. Trump is a product of the success of the Regressive Left, not its failure, and we need to look past the “demagogue” and “populist” labels the mainstream media have tried to stick to him to understand the significance of his success.
I am fully on board the Trump Train, not because of his policies or his business acumen, but because his success would pave the way for a new breed of politician, more substantial and less banter-averse than the empty suits and worthless losers we’ve been electing all these years. That legacy, above all, will go the furthest to Make America Great Again!