The Guardian fundraiser ad says it all - “Never has the world needed fearless independent media more”. In that one line reaction to the Trump triumph, so much is summed up - the global Left’s surprise, moral outrage, paranoia, bluster, desperation, delusions of independence and radicalism, intellectual exhaustion, and political decline. These themes are developed in nearby headlines like “The US has elected its most dangerous leader. We have plenty to fear” and “This is terrifying” - beside pictures of young Clintonistas suddenly looking very old as fluorescent lights flick on over their moral mosh-pit. It was not their night after all, not yet time for the First Woman - time instead for the Mother of Hangovers, as party banners sag and cleaners move around, whistling and clanking buckets.
Those twenty-somethings’ despondency is widely shared - in fact, it is the default setting of the moral minority which has so long presided over the national party, defining all discussions, doing the catering, and deciding which guests to invite (or de-invite). Certain superstitions long held by that well-fed minority have been shockingly shown up, revealed as deeply unpopular out there in the badlands beyond the bright lights of Berkeley and the Beltway. The alchemical, all-party formula of Internationalism + Neoliberalism + Political Correctness = Heaven-on-Earth in truth adds up to Nothing so far as red-staters and left-behind blue-staters are concerned. Actually, it means Nothing to anyone, because no successful society has ever yet been built on so insubstantial a basis - although for some never-say-dies hope will always trump experience, and moral rectitude social ease.
It is being argued that Bernie Sanders would have defeated Trump had he been the Democratic candidate. It does indeed reflect badly on Hillary that with all her contacts and mostly compliant mass media, she was unable to defeat a candidate who gave so many hostages to fortune. But uninspiring though she may have been, she was probably less a problem than the tired and no-longer trusted outlook she epitomises. The more she surrounded herself with familiar faces - her husband, Obama, central bankers, Oprah, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi - the more she reminded voters that for all her progressive protestations she was in fact the candidate for the recent past.
This is the recent past in which America has by every objective measure declined in power and importance, become less cohesive and less happy, and proven itself horrifyingly vulnerable to economic recession, foreign entanglements, racial problems, and terrorism. This is the recent past which clearly had no answers to burning questions, except to ignore, scorn or suppress the questioners, and proffer more of the same patently inadequate pabulum. This was a recent past like a never-ending and interval-less Broadway play in which innumerable actors interchange cliches along with their costumes. Almost everything Clinton represented has been made contemptible through familiarity, and discredited by events.
In July, Daily Show wiseacres went to a Trump rally to point cameras at delegates and ask the faux-earnest question, “When was America great?” They naturally got a varied response - cue chortling and C.N.N./N.Y.T./HuffPo contempt - because most people are not consistent thinkers and find it hard to explain their motivations, especially to snarky strangers. Trumpians, like everyone else, like nations themselves, exist partly in their imagination - images of better times that have been or could be, comforting visions of gentler or more glorious states. The delegates quizzed gave dates ranging from 1776 via 1913 to the Eighties, but if there could be an aggregate answer to such a question, it would probably lie in some emotional hinterland between the late 1940s and 1980s, a conflation of small towns and Columbus Day, Norman Rockwell and Ronald Reagan, It’s a Wonderful Life and Red Dawn - days when neighbourliness at home was accompanied by powerful projection abroad, when the working man was a kind of king, armourer of the Free World, able to aspire to anything.
Fond fantasies of course, but fantasies containing truths - more truths than the opposing fantasies of the Clintons, who can point to no historical precedents for their utopias. An equally confused response could easily have been elicited from Democratic delegates asked something like “How will America be made better by more free trade/immigration/transgender toilets?” But there were no Trumpian film-makers waspish enough to ask them, no journalists to moralise, no stand-up comics to toss and gore the poor buffoons.
Following Brexit, this has been the second global shake-up in just a few months - the second time when, given the opportunity, Western electors have demonstrated they do not much care for the future that has been mapped out for them by the Left (facilitated by many on the Right). Despite all the conditioning, cozening, exhortations, guilt-trips and threats, there are still many millions in America and in Europe who do not relish being told what to think, to go gently into history, but choose instead to rage against the dying of their light - for the sake of their children, or their children’s children, or simply because they are proud of who they are, what they have done, and can still do. The American Left, most powerful of all cultural Lefts, is flailing in hurt amazement, bereft, clutching at the wispiest of straws - seeking comfort in obscure anomalies, like the first Somali-American female legislator - or emigrating to Canada - or urging Michelle Obama to run for President.
Ideas which have misguided Western policies for decades are under devastating bombardment, and once-impregnable structures have been undermined to the point of collapse. Suddenly there is a void at the core of the world’s greatest ever civilization, and accordingly a chance to replace our current non-philosophy with something new, and infinitely better. In his battering-ram way, Trump has burst open a gate and scattered its complacent keepers. Now comes the time for smoother operators to slip inside, and secure the city.
…........................................................................................- Derek Turner has appeared in a number of top-notch news outlets, including Taki's, Chronicles and the Times. And if you like reading about a city on hill, you'll like Derek's last book, because it is about Dublin, which is a city, and it has hills.
Follow him on Twitter: Follow @DerekTurner1964 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out some other articles from Derek Turner:FALSE FLAGS, AND TANGLED GROWTHS
FLIGHTS OF FANCY
A HIGH VOLTAGE VOTE
BREXIT - AND BREXISTENCE