Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kevin Williamson on the State of the Race

Donald Trump has just threatened to remove the New York Times press credentials. The Times, to no one’s surprise, has not been offering a fair and balanced picture of the Trump campaign. It has been going out of its way to support Hillary Clinton. Among the mainstream media, it is not alone. And its bias has certainly not been limited to Donald Trump. Every Republican candidate has gotten the Times treatment.

So, if the Times loses its press credentials, no one is going to shed many tears.

But, if the Times is bad, what would you say about the National Review. It published gonzo journalist Kevin Williamson—a very fine and talented writer, I will say—who yesterday offered his own view of the progress (or regress) of the Trump campaign.

It isn’t a pretty picture.

Williamson writes:

He [Trump] already is making excuses for losing in November and boasting that it doesn’t matter that much to him, because, as he put it, “I go back to a very good way of life.” And the people who supported him go back to seeing their liberties curtailed and their constitutional order perverted by an old-fashioned Democratic machine politician who could have been beaten by a dozen actual conservatives from whom Republicans had the opportunity to choose.

On the ground, Williamson does not find any cause for celebration:

The race in Ohio will probably be decided to a large part in Hamilton County — where Trump hadn’t bothered to set up an actual campaign operation as of last week. As of early August, the Trump campaign had one staffer in southwest Ohio. In Florida, where Trump is down at 39 percent, his campaign had one field office as of last week. He’s getting killed in Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado — where Clinton leads him by 14 points, and where Trump’s field operation is in terms of personnel and offices only a fraction of what the Clinton campaign has put on the ground.

Obviously, the media is being grossly biased. We might even say that it's bigoted. Every Republican candidate expects to get an unfair shake from the mainstream media. But, when you start blaming the media, Williamson explains, you will be running against the media. It’s never a winning strategy:

But it isn’t the media that’s stopping Trump from organizing the basics of a presidential campaign. Trump is set to lose Georgia. Trump probably will end up winning Texas and Utah, but it is not inconceivable that he could lose them. And all that brave talk about the New Yorker making the race competitive in northern Democratic strongholds? Clinton is up 21 points in the latest New Jersey poll, 17 points in the latest New York poll, 10 points in the latest from Michigan, and 25 points in the latest from Illinois. The only Democratic states Trump currently is winning are the ones that were really Democratic until about 1994 or so, and he’s not even doing that great there, either, up by only 3 points in Mississippi.

Of course, Trump might pull it out. Miracles do happen. But, the signs are ominous. While some people are getting ready to start playing the blame game, Williamson is not quite there yet. When he gets there, he will not be blaming Trump, who has never been other than what he is, but those who supported and enabled him:

It’s too early to begin the bloody and tearful recriminations — but there will be a time. Not to blame Trump for being Trump, which is exactly what anybody with a lick of sense would expect him to be. But those who enabled him, who plumped him and the largely fictitious establishment-vs.-the-base soap opera for their own personal audience-building and money-making agendas? We are going to need to have a word about them, come November.


Anonymous said...

If American people want to vote for Amnesty for illegals, more wars, end of gun rights, and more BLM, they should go with Hillary.

Anonymous said...


Don't complain if Hillary wins and she appoints left wing dudes in the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Williamson is full of BS.

Voters went with Trump in the primaries because the GOP became a globalist than nationalist party.

And yes, if not for media bias, Trump would have a good chance of winning.

Sam L. said...

Remember also that many, likely most of us, know the media is Democrats with Bylines, totally in the tank, and has lied to us for years. Since at least Barry and LBJ, before which I wasn't paying attention.

Anonymous said...

The exact same comments about Trump's lack of a "ground game" were made during the primaries. Cruz allegedly had the best ground game, but mostly won those states where complex caucus rules required a gorund game. Head to head ground game meant little and Williamson, knows this. He's just another #NeverTrump member of the lying MSM.

Anonymous said...

Lots and lots of illegals will be voting, and the scandal will not be covered.

fred said...

Would that be the Kevin Williamson who wrote the article saying that certain segments of the population should just up and die? Writes for National Review?

Which used to have interesting and thoughful articles until a year ago when they decided to go all hatey-hate Trump 24/7?

Yeah, not interested. Go sell crazy somewhere else.
I'm not sure why anybody cares what the Republicans For Hillary crowd has to say.

Sam L. said...

fred, just to note who the fellow-travelers are.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The big question for this 2016 election is this: What kind of election is it? This race is driving people crazy because they cannot see that what is at stake is the essence of America and what it means to be an American.

It's not going to be ideological. Today's journalists are ideological, and they are having a difficult time understanding what this election is all about because they're all in New York and Washington, D.C. where everyone thinks the same. They haven't a clue, and they show it every day. They're coming unglued, with one voice. They're scared.

This election is about what kind of America we will have, and who runs it. This is true for both sides. Is it the America envisioned in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights; or is it the America of powerful men and women who use government however they want in order to amass greater power and personal wealth? Is it a country that is for clever and smart people who believe in the supremacy of politically correctness; or for creative, hard-working, enterprising people? Is it about working covertly to create special rules that others have to follow (but not the people who make the rules); or about all of us playing by the same rules on a level playing field, regardless of IQ or station?

We had our conventions very early this year is because of the Rio Olympics. Keep in mind the 1988 Republican Convention in New Orleans was August 15-18. That's right now, a couple weeks before Labor Day. Dennis reminds us that Bush 41 trailed Michael Dukakis by 17 points coming out of the Democrat Convention. Bush finished in November with a landslide win: 426-111 in the Electoral College (the only number that counts), and 52%-45% in the popular vote. Neither man was particularly likable, making it among the lowest voter turnout years... barely crossing 50%.

It's early, and everyone is already talking about doom, about huge swings and Republicans losing Congress. Hillary Clinton is a vulnerable candidate. She is a terrible campaigner. She has huge negatives. The same is true of her opponent. Who will turn out to vote in November and why? Nobody knows. Nobody knew much of anything in the nomination race, and they've not known anything thus far. When I say "nobody," I mean the national news media and major newspapers. Their thinking is so monolithic, they don't know what they don't know. They are so blinded ideologically that they may not see what's really going on in the country. Then there's the "Bradley Effect," which was coined originally a white and black candidate ran against each other in California, and people don't answer pollsters honestly because they don't want to be seen as racist. It's called "social desirability bias."

Well, my sense is perhaps people are going to do something analogous by not admitting they're keen to vote for Trump, skewed by the "social desirability bias." It's obviously not tied to race in this case, but I suspect it is tied to something that has become very important to today's social stratification: analytical intelligence and education pedigree. No one wants to appear dumb and uneducated. Think about it in terms of "sophistication." Then consider that, amidst all this political correctness and cosmopolitanism, 70% of voters think the country is moving in the wrong direction. One doesn't have to be the village idiot to know that's the case. We have an anemic economy, a dismal labor force participation rate, Islamist terror, monstrous national debt, public officials who lie to us, distrust in institutions, and terrible race relations... for starters.

Continued below...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Continued from above...

I looked up the word "sophisticated" in the dictionary and it speaks of "worldly experience, knowledge of fashion and culture," or "developed from a a high degree of complexity."

But what happens if a good chunk of people are fed up with all this globalist nonsense? What if they don't like what's fashionable today? What if they don't like where our culture is going? And, most of all, what if they think all this complexity is a load of hogwash and they want things to be simpler? What if they're so fed up that they don't want do deal with the "social desirability bias" and know that Election Day is a secret vote? They won't answer pollsters honestly because they're fed up and, quite frankly, they don't want the fuss and bother about being socially ostracized. What if they feel what they do behind the curtain in that voting booth is their last civic sanctuary to honestly express what they feel? What happens then?

Trump may be saying some pretty unsophisticated things, but there is something about the man that is mesmerizing. It's all very straight, simple and authentic. But behind all that stuff sophisticated people can't understand, there's something there. He is speaking to an entire swathe of people who haven't been spoken to in a long time, let alone considered. And he's speaking their language. He's telling them he gets them, that he gets their concerns -- without pandering to them and offering them some kind of government assistance.

Today is August 15. We have a long way to go. Anything can happen. I think we have to give up some of the sophistication and realize this may be a "brass tacks" kind of election where we'll determine what is essential about America: who are we going to be as a people and nation going forward? Are we going to just become part of some globalist paradise, or are we going to remain Americans and go our own way? Brexit was a clue. People feel this country is going in the wrong direction, and no one in Washington or the journalistic profession seems to care very much. There are many out here who do. I hope they will all vote, and show our "leaders" who really runs this country.

Keep your eye on this poll:

"The Ruling Class" by Angelo Codevilla:

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I read Bill McGurn's Main Street piece in today's WSJ, and never a column more aptly named.

It appears National Review is losing its marbles. The Kevin Williamson quoted in this post represents all that's wrong with the intellectual establishment thats becoming less partisan by the day.

Once a vanguard for freedom in the dark days of the 1960s and 1970s, NR now shows itself to be a part of the indifferent cognitive elite. It's a long way from NR's beginnings, which focused on traditional American values. It is from these, and informed by his religious faith, that William F. Buckley, Jr. said "STOP!" Buckley may have been a witty NYC socialite sailing around in his yacht, but he valued the Republican base... and he certainly wasn't derogatory to his allies in a base, indifferent way, given a well-formed conscience defined by his devout Roman Catholicism. That's what informed "God and Man at Yale," which put him on the map.

Contrast this traditional thinking with today's NR, which puts people like Williamson front-and-center. We can now see the unification of class is complete in the Acela corridor, and it is apolitical except in vagaries like tax policy, nuclear security and neocon nation building. Otherwise, it looks down on a "vicious, selfish culture" that is the Republican base, used to full advantage in every election since 2000 and ignored once GOPe agents take power.

That's what NR's "thought leaders" like Williamson (and the David Frenches who defend him) offer us: a cleaved American population whose worth is defined by class (as determined by analytical intelligence and educational pedigree), not political differences. This nouveau riche cohort is propped up by the phony, filthy money coursing through Washington, DC. And they are eager to prove their own bona fides, and this means taking down the enemy. No doubt they're pro-choice, too... happy to throw that bone to the "useful idiots" in the Republican base who put them in power, while privately preventing the birth of future "useful idiots."

And they call Trump "crude"? Really?

Case in point yesterday: NR's Rich Lowry retweets a LA Tumes reporter pointing out police reports that white journalists shouldn't go out covering the riots in Milwaukee. In retweeting, Lowry adds a deep thought of his own: "Whoa." I guess Lowry hasn't spent a lot of time outside BoBo enclaves around DC. Maybe he should spend some time in the un-gentrified parts of DC and come back to us with what we already know about urban America. At least it'll be news to him. I'm sure he'll say "I have a lot of black friends," which misses the point entirely, but cleanses his conscience before attending that night's cocktail party with his hipster nerdy friends.

McGurn has an excellent column today, providing the WSJ some desperately-needed perspective on the Trump phenomenon. This is McGurn doing what he does best: getting behind the surface of socio-economic issues. He uses Gallup polling (data!) to see what shallow pundits like Kevin Williamson can't possibly understand. I hope people will post and analyze this kind of piece McGurn offers as one from a bona fide political analyst with a well-formed conscience defined by his devout Roman Catholicism (sound familiar?). Yes, McGurn as a steady thinker employing cogent analysis instead of ignorant hit pieces written by officious, vile snobs like Williamson.

McGurn asks "What are the American people trying to tell us?" Indeed. Answering this kind of question would be helpful. Instead, Williamson speculates about this voting demographic's desire for heroin needles and OxyContin. McGurn is more helpful, busting up this "underclass" Trump voter stereotype and pointing out concern about possibly the truest American value: social mobility for self and others.

Read the McGurn's column. You might learn something new.

Ares Olympus said...

Any suggestions how Trump 'saves face' while dropping out so a capable dh can come to bat for the GOP?

I agree Trump shows no sign he wants to win, but his ego needs to explain why its someone else's fault.