The Corner

Trump and the Republican Id

I wrote today about Trump as the candidate of the GOP id, especially in his treatment of the media:

At a news conference Tuesday about the money he raised for veterans groups at an Iowa event earlier this year, Trump called one reporter “a sleaze” and another “a real beauty” (it wasn’t a compliment). He displayed a smash-mouth disregard for the assembled media horde that is deeply satisfying for every Republican who wishes a Bush, McCain or Romney had done the same.

They say that Trump’s garish wealth is aspirational — people think that, if they were billionaires, they would spend on all the same conspicuous consumption. For lots of Republicans, Trump’s outrageous treatment of the media is just as aspirational — if they had the opportunity to tell off Tom Llamas of ABC, or any other mainstream reporter, they would resort to all the same insults.

What is policy or knowledge compared to this moving feast of contempt for the right’s enemies? Trump could promise to nationalize the banks, and as long as he was calling a reporter a guttersnipe or retromingent everyday, he’d probably still pass muster with his supporters.

A central insight of the Trump campaign was captured in the philosophy inculcated in the salespeople of Trump University: “You don’t sell products, benefits or solutions — you sell feelings.”

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