Postmodern Conservative

Proletarianization, Globalization, and Our Musical Candidates

So here’s a series of observations drawn from the web and real people. Why don’t I link more? The NR people tell me that every link is an invitation to leave us for some other channel. I’m not going to make that easy for you. For reasons I’ll explain later, I don’t like linking for the same reason I don’t like footnotes.

First off, there is a growing number of mainstream articles chronicling the strategy of some important Republicans to use Trump means for Rubio ends. Help Trump win in Iowa to disable Cruz, and then, of course, that Trump bubble will burst once he faces a single challenger. This is contemptible for lots of reasons. The most important is the illusion of managing what will be basically a strange and raging process. Another, of course, is insincerely humoring Trump and his voters.

There’s the pervasive fear that the so widely despised Cruz can’t be stopped. He almost seems like Machiavelli’s “armed prophet” or “new prince” who can predict outcomes because he’s a brilliant, self-disciplined guy who has really thought through how his campaign will succeed. And part of the fear is that he may have done so without owing anything much to anyone. There’s a lot to admire in Cruz’s campaign, but I think maybe his astuteness and all that are being overrated at this point.

There are some who way overrate Trump’s Machiavellianism too. I’m not saying he’s not clever, but you can’t win the nomination through playing the unpaid media alone. And with no ground game worth speaking of in Iowa. I agree with Pete that his Iowa showing will speak for itself.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, writing at the Week but in the mode of The American Conservative, says that what fuels Trump’s support is opposition to proletarianization and globalization (well, I compressed his argument). Taking that observation a step further, we might say that Sanders’s campaign is fueled much the same way. Sanders people are right to be ticked off that their principled guy is being compared to Trump’s rambling, know-nothing vagueness about most every detail. And it is true, after all, that Trump’s opposition to globalization takes the form of hostility to immigration, whereas Sanders’s is basically hostility to the uncontrolled dynamism of capitalism.

That difference is different in some ways but not in others. And I keep saying that Republicans should be more attuned to the undeniable similarities. Is Cruz? Well, yes and no.  Consider Pete’s objections to his regressive (and ridiculously naïve) tax scheme..

There’s no way I’ll ever vote for either Trump or Sanders. I’d vote for Bloomberg, whom I don’t like much at all but will admit is genuinely competent, instead. But, as a higher educator, I’m a bit attuned to the proletarianization/globalization thing playing out in higher ed as the reduction of everything to competency and diversity. So in some ways I’m with Trump and Sanders insofar as they’re against Silicon Valley and the politically correct experts.

The genuinely radical race, of course, would be between Cruz and Sanders. Talk about a choice, not an echo. Bring Bloomberg in, and the country really would be split into thirds.

Who are students at Berry College for?  The only candidate that has any enthusiastic support at all is Sanders. A sizeable number of students went over to his packed rally in Birmingham, Ala. If Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, it will be a coalition of older, established Democrats with good jobs — mainly women- – and African Americans who can’t identify (with good reason) with a socialist from Vermont.

On music, even Hillary can’t find a reason to criticize Bernie’s shamelessly sentimental Simon and Garfunkel commercial. It turns out that hitting the road “to look for America” today still appeals to the young, as well as to aging hippies who wish they were still young. And more than one expert is asking why Trump plays “Sympathy for the Devil” at his rallies. Apparently, the prelude to his rally is 50 minutes of carefully chosen rock classics, which seem really to put his audience in the mood for his words. Trump plays the Stones because,  just like Mick Jagger, he’s a very calculated entertainer who fakes being the devil both for the fun of it and to sucker the crowd. 

The other candidates still need to work on their music.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...

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