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Donald Trump is a political and cultural phenomenon

By Selwyn Duke

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Time magazine named Angela Merkel its “Person of the Year.” With her flooding of Europe with Muslim migrants, the German chancellor may, after all, go down in history as a primary destroyer of Western civilization. Yet there’s no question in my mind who is Man of the Year: Donald Trump.

After underestimating the businessman early on, some are starting to understand Trump’s ascendancy and staying power. Yet, even now, few truly appreciate what Trump represents: a political and cultural phenomenon heretofore unseen in America. His rise is historic, amounting to something even more astounding than the Reagan Revolution. This is true, and will be true, whether he ultimately wins or loses, whether you love him or hate him, or whether it turns out he’s driven by principle or personal ambition.

There are the obvious factors here: how Trump has tapped into anger against the Establishment and over immigration, and how he’s a plain-spoken breath of fresh air. Then there’s the astute observation made by the Weekly Standard’s Julius Krein in September: “What differentiates Trump is not what he says, or how he says it, but why he says it. …He does not apologize for having interests as an American, and he does not apologize for demanding that the American government vigorously prosecute those interests.” In other words, Trump professes a palpable politically incorrect nationalism in a time of prostrate, politically correct treason – or, as some put it, “internationalism.” Yet even this is just the iceberg’s tip.

Many have said that Trump is not a conservative – and they’re right. Nor is he a “liberal.” He is a nationalistic populist. You only become a populist by exploiting what is popular, and in this the Trump phenomenon reveals a great truth about the great lie of our time:

What’s popular isn’t doctrinaire political correctness.

Why did politicians and pundits underestimate Trump? Why didn’t some other presidential aspirant beat him to the politically incorrect punch? A major reason is that they fell victim to the illusion that political correctness (PC) is far more popular than it is. They lost sight of what Reagan called the difference “between critics and box office.” And why? Because the academia/media/entertainment (AME) Axis – the Cultural Establishment – has us living in a Matrix-like faux reality in which elite swill masquerades as popular will. Agree with the idea or not, for example, relatively few Americans are actually “offended” by the proposal to halt Muslim immigration.

But while PC isn’t popular, it is potent. It’s much like the state ideology in the old Soviet Union: few average people subscribe to it in doctrinaire fashion. But most everyone is afraid of the ideological machinery of the state (“thought police” in our time). And this brings us to perhaps the most significant factor in Trump’s popularity.

Taking the Marxism analogy further, imagine it’s the old Soviet Union, and there’s a colorful dissident saying everything other citizens want to say but fear to. Now imagine the government sends its secret…

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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