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September 10, 2015

Is Trump's Mouth Going to Finally Destroy Him?

Part of the reason Trump is gaining support is that Trump is gaining support. That is, as he looks more like a winner, people who are open to him but somewhat reluctant (like me) are willing to jump on the bandwagon.

But this works in the opposite direction, too: If he starts looking like a loser, he begins loosing weakly-committed people like me, who were only getting aboard because he seemed to be a winner.

Trump's mouth makes him seem like a loser.

For those of you perplexed as to why this matters so much, I'll explain it:

There is a notion of Middle Class Respectability. This notion is important to most members of my (your?) class. It can be put aside by highly-committed partisans who are intensely in favor of Trump (and who therefore don't sweat negative information about him), but not by most people.

I have said before, in a line that I quite like, that Donald Trump is gloriously unburdened by respectability. Respectability is both a blessing and a curse.

Respectability, obviously, grants you some respect; you behave properly, according to the code of the class, and therefore are considered a member in good standing of that class.

But it is also very limiting. Many people will point out that GOP/RINO "pussies" will buckle and apologize at the first dirty look from a member of the liberal establishment.

That is the downside of respectability -- people are afraid to lose it, and will quickly apologize when The Mob threatens to withdraw respectability from them.

And in America 2015, public respectability is granted by -- controlled by -- the college-educated upper-middle-class Media Class which controls most everything related to morals and manners.

The fact that Trump is gloriously unburdened by respectability makes him willing/able to say things that no Respectability-Craving politician ever could, like that yes, we need a border wall, and yes, we are permitted to, and should, be outraged by foreign criminals murdering Americans who are permitted to be here by Democratic mayors and presidents.

But the downside of his contempt for respectability is that he will obliviously trample things that are very important to the people whose support he will ultimately need, if he wants to do more than blow hot air.

Whether or not Trump thinks that upper middle class suburban Republicans are silly or not, whether or not he thinks they're "losers" or not for owning only two cars, he will need that one third of the party that is currently dead-set against him.

And while Trump seems to either have a problem with women (how long did he spend attacking Megyn Kelly, versus how long did he spend attacking Chris Wallace?) or is simply unburdened by the Middle Class Respectability code of gallantry towards women, It is making a very large and influential block of people absolutely disgusted by him, repelled by him not a political level (which could always later be finessed or papered over) but on a personal level (which can never be repaired).

And.

He.

Won't.

Stop.

I would venture to say he can't stop -- I would venture to say that in Trump's world of yes-men and eternal entitlement, calling a woman ugly is just sort of something he casually does, and, like a high school super-jock who's always been protected from the consequences of his actions, he just has never had reason to internalize that dismissing a woman as Sexually Not Up to My High Standards as an opening gambit in conversation is socially disfavored.

So once again I am in the "Trump is a lose" boat. Which is too bad, because the guy undeniably has raw political talent, and yes, his lack of any need of respectability makes him free to take controversial positions -- which, it turns out, are not that controversial at all, after someone finally publicly declares that they should be our policy. (Middle Class Respectability has made the political class jump at shadows and fearful of common-sense measures like sealing the border.)

I guess this is a package deal -- if you wan't the Trump who is unburdened by respectability enough to say he's building that wall, you're also going to get the Trump who doesn't understand why he can't go around pointing out the women who are not sufficiently attractive for him to want to f***.

And most people who are ideologically committed to him will blow this off.

And I get that -- ideology is very important.

But for many of us weaker Trump partisans, ideology is just one piece of the puzzle; another piece is electability.

And while Trump had been doing a good job showing he might be electable after all, he once again, unthinkingly, blew himself up again in the exact way his critics predicted he would.

He is 69 years old. He has lived in a bubble of validation and Yes-Men all his life.

He is no longer capable of learning.

I had hoped against hope that his mind was not yet so calcified that learning was beyond him, but it turns out it is.

He doesn't learn, and frankly, I think it's because he's narcissistic enough to think he needs no more learning.

He went to Wharton, you know.

So I'm back off the Trump train.

If he shows any capability of learning, or of simply comprehending that he cannot win while he continues rubbing his luxurious, classy dick all over precious status-conferring codes of behavior deeply believed by one third of the conservative coalition -- if he actually demonstrates a rudimentary understanding of his own self-interest -- maybe I'll reconsider him.

But for now, he stinks of a loser to me.

I think every election is not primarily about ideology per se, but which candidate embodies what voters conceive of as the avatar of a just society, and of what they'd like society to look like, if they could wish it into existence.

Barack Obama largely won because he was such an aspirational figure. Many people -- not me, not you; we weren't taken in -- looked at him and said, "What a man, educated, urbane, caring... that's what I'd like society to look like."

That is still the calculus of most people on both sides of the aisle.

Trump is getting to that place where people cannot possibly look to him to see what they'd like to be; he keeps reminding people that people are, at heart, ugly.

A good candidate is one that gives people a positive vision what they'd like to be.

Trump seems determined to remind us what we really are, which is mean, crude, narcissistic, and frivolous.

And we do not wish to be reminded of that.

He will not win the presidency that way. He may win the nomination in a broken field, but not the presidency.



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posted by Ace at 12:01 PM

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