The True America
David Gelernter is a computer science professor at Yale. He wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on October 22 called “The Real Reason They Hate Trump.” To summarize, the elite and intellectual of America, most of whom do not support the president or his agenda, look upon those who do support the man in the Oval Office as their opposites. This seemed strange to me as many of those who supported President Obama also voted for President Trump. They had to if Trump won.
Let’s review some of Gelernter’s arguments.
First, he notes that the Democratic Party has no arguments or positions that are valued by most Americans. I believe that he is right. While the Democrats seem to stand for the continuation of federal entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the liberal view on most social issues, leniency in immigration policies and some sort of universal health care, the Democrats have been singularly bad at articulating how they will translate the philosophy into real legislation. Their recent gain of only around 30 seats in the House coupled with losses in the Senate suggest that most Dems have not made the sale yet.
How will they preserve all those social programs and not bust the budget? There are still many people uncomfortable with same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights and a pro-choice policy. And many people think that the manner in which the Democrats handled the Kavanaugh hearing was ham fisted. The Dems also have more different solutions to health care than there are candidates from a true single payer system to augmented ObamaCare to “Medicare for More.” The Democratic leadership is hopelessly inarticulate and unable to set a legislative agenda to counter Republican arguments. The Dems need some new leaders. If the Dems return Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker’s office and Chuck Schumer to his leadership in the Senate, they may be setting the table for another loss to Donald Trump in 2020.
Second, hating Trump is not a policy. Like it or not, the president has articulated a set of beliefs that many share—about immigration, our allies in Europe, and social programs. He may be vulgar, but that doesn’t mean folks can’t see his point. They can. They do. Many like it. He’s also combative and a bully. Many people don’t like bullies. Some like bullies who they perceive to be on their side when they feel the left has been bullying them for years. Eight to be precise. Many people don’t care if Trump is a womanizer and misogynist. They didn’t care that JFK and Bill Clinton were either.
Third, and most critically, the majority of middle America get Mr. Trump. He seems too rich to be bought, although this may prove to be untrue in time. Many agree with him about immigrants, the border, the military, the media and a host of other issues. In many ways, Mr. Trump, coarse as he is, may be a living metaphor for America today. He gives a voice to those who fear being overwhelmed by technology and whose jobs are threatened by that technology. He gives voice to those who fear the browning and the youth of America.
It is just possible that more real Americans see in Mr. Trump the representation of their core beliefs about climate change, Europeans and judicial power. The left and the intellectuals who tend that way hate Mr. Trump. But Gelernter wonders if in hating Trump, they also hate America. This is a bit extreme for me, but he has a point. That New York and California just don’t get Kansas is not news. That the coasts may not get anything between them may be exactly what Mr. Trump is speaking to. And he’s from New York City.