Category Archives: Popular Culture

The Washington Delusion

Ben Domonech responds to Jonathan Rouch’s lunatic dispatch from inside the cocooned Beltway:

Square Rauch’s frame with the Benjy Sarlin report this week on the people who elected Trump, which is also quoted below. You can’t, because the latter offers actual data to show why people supported Trump, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because they’re angry about the lack of earmarks. It’s not that people believe their leadership class is corrupt – it’s that they know they’re stupid. It’s not that people are angry because a parking garage didn’t get built, it’s that they’re angry because the FBI can’t keep track of a terrorist’s wife.

Sarlin’s piece illustrates, in clear data-driven reporting, the real basis for the breakdown of our Cold War era political reality: an utter collapse in the belief that our elites, elected or otherwise, have the capacity to represent. They no longer believe our elites will ever look out for the interests of an anxious people. The “he can’t be bought” frame for Trump’s rise is best understood as code for “he’ll look out for me, not [pick your group]”.

This is not about ideology. If people trusted elites and institutions they defend to look out for them, in a non-ideological sense, the breakdown of our systems would have been mitigated or confined. The fact that it is so sweeping is due to a generation of elites who didn’t do their jobs well, or pretended things weren’t their job for too long.

We have breakdown, chaos, and upheaval in our politics today not because the people are “insane”, as Rauch writes, but because they are sane. They know the leadership class which held power for the past generation has not looked out for them.

We should never refer to them as “elites” without the scare quotes: There is nothing “elite” about them, in terms of intelligence, probity or even basic competence. Sadly, Trump would be no better, but he is what their arrogant fecklessness has delivered.

Top Space Influencers

I’d be more gratified by being in this stratosphere if I could see more things happening that I’m actually influencing. But maybe I’m being too impatient. I also wish that being an influencer paid better.

[Wednesday-morning update]