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“Vulgarians” at the Gate: Trump Backers Dissed by Conservative Elite

The rise of Donald Trump to the top of the polls in the 2016 Republican presidential contest has spawned an ugly fit of condescension and contempt by the conservative establishment’s cognoscenti toward the perceived rabble driving his ascent.

Rarely has elite conservative opinion seemed so hungry to eat its own. And never, perhaps, has the divide and the tension between those who claim intellectual fealty to the principles of Jeffersonian democracy and the actual practitioners of democracy been so starkly on display.

At the forefront of this orgy of snickering is Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, who normally writes about foreign affairs. He probably thought he was well within his beat Monday evening when he issued a diatribe against Trump’s supporters, given how little connected he seems to those he describes.

In a vicious snit fit that makes H.L. Mencken seem like Mr. Rogers, Stephens spews a volcanic eruption of vitriol at real people who sound more primitive and angry than anything his targets would seem capable of.

“If by now you don’t find Donald Trump appalling, you’re appalling,” Stephens writes. “If you have reached physical maturity and still chuckle at Mr. Trump’s pubescent jokes about Rosie O’Donnell or Heidi Klum, you will never reach mental maturity. If you watched Mr. Trump mock fellow candidate Lindsey Graham’s low poll numbers and didn’t cringe at the lack of class, you are incapable of class … Mr. Trump is a loudmouth vulgarian appealing to quieter vulgarians. These vulgarians comprise a significant percentage of the GOP base. The leader isn’t the problem. The people are. It takes the demos to make the demagogue.”

But wait, there was more.

The Trump ascendancy “says that a movement that is supposed to believe in defending old-fashioned values and traditions against the assorted degradations of the postmodern left might allow itself to be led by a reality-TV star whose meretricious tastes in trophies, architectural and otherwise, mainly remind me of the aesthetics of Bob Guccione.”

A reality TV star. Sounds a lot like those who fretted 35 years ago about the nation being led by “a B-movie actor.”

Stephens, who seems to have woken up on the wrong side of his canopy bed, wrote that the conservative movement may embrace the “Trumpian creed” that immigrants from Latin America “are a specimen of garbage.”

That is, the yahoos are about to default toward racism.

Trump 2

Such notions of latent racism were also enumerated by Gerald Seib, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau chief, who scribbled out a piece earlier the same day comparing the anti-establishment mood of 2015 to that of 1968. The 1968 role of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders was reserved for good guys like Sen. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, while Trump and his supporters got tagged with the racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

“Mr. Wallace tapped into fear and anger arising from the civil-rights movement, much as Mr. Trump is tapping into fear and anger arising from illegal immigration,” writes Seib.

You get the idea.

The nastiness toward the base oozed well beyond the tidy pages of the Wall Street Journal.

“Donald Trump is porn for nativists,” declared David Harsanyi in The Federalist.

“It is perhaps quixotic to try to distract Trump’s supporters with facts,” harrumphed George Will.

“These voters never determine the nominee, because too many of them waste their passion on hopeless candidates, such as Ben Carson, Michele Bachmann … Donald Trump,” opined Ramesh Ponnuru.

“Let’s assume, for fun, that Donald Trump’s supporters are thinking with their brains, not their viscera,” muses Mona Charen.

Trump is certainly fair game. He has a lot to say, but beyond immigration, precious little of it amounts to a coherent conservative platform.

But the people who support Trump are not idiots, do not deserve belittling, and while they may be emotional, they have not taken leave of their senses.

They have deduced, not unreasonably, that even though they don’t know exactly what Trump will do, he will definitely do it. And that can’t be worse than those who profess what they will do, but won’t actually do much of anything. Those people will go to Washington and be co-opted, as so many fake firebrands inevitably are, by Washington’s go-along get-along consensus of big spenders and status-quo protectors.

The America that Trump backers love is being stolen out from under them as government grows inexorably, the culture deteriorates irretrievably, religious freedoms are denied, their health care decisions are annexed by bureaucrats, and America becomes subsumed within a new world order governed by values they don’t share.

And if you harbor legitimate fear that the nation’s culture is being overwhelmed by unlimited immigration from a very different culture, you must think the mass new arrivals are “garbage.” Hillary Clinton couldn’t have said it better.

What, one wonders, have the “classy,” ostensibly reasonable people wrought for America? They have run up more than $18 trillion in debt to be paid off by their children and grandchildren. Is that the elite’s definition of probity and sanity?

“I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University,” said the founder of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley Jr.

Today’s leaders would instead take the first 2,000 names of the social register and stick it to the “poor slobs” they think are in the phone book.

This post originally appeared on PoliZette.

70 Responses to “Vulgarians” at the Gate: Trump Backers Dissed by Conservative Elite

  1. Sticks and stones…

    “He has a lot to say, but beyond immigration, precious little of it amounts to a coherent conservative platform.” I strongly disagree with that statement, Keith.

    • I agree MC.
      He is scaring the hell out of them and they are resorting to the tactics liberals use.
      I only hope that Trump stays in the race.
      If he drops out,….they win.

      • Just for giggles, I read Salon every so often. They are on their anti Trump & Carson diatribe. We should “be terrified” if one of these crazies is the R nominee. Life as we now know it will be torn asunder.
        The left is afraid!

    • All one has to do is go back to Trumps announcement speech, he certainly laid out his “plan” then. Hire the best, brightest and most qualified for all parts of the government, like a General MacArthur to lead his military and make it so strong, nobody will dare mess with us.

      Trump’s skill is management, which our government has sorely lacked for decades. It may take a global businessman to put all the pieces back together again after that horrible political experiment called Obama.

      • The mismanagement goes farther back than Obama (Obama admin added an extra layer of malice).

        If Trump could clear out all the unnecessary bureaucracy (and give $$ back to taxpayers) that could be a reason to give him the vote.

  2. You raise great points here. All my life, I have basically agreed with Mona Charen and George Will, who have been regular voices of reason amidst the liberal choir in Washington.

    But now it seems, real conservatism is to be mocked. Lib-prog is the new left, and the “establishment Republicans” have assumed the views of 1990s Democrats. The entire ruling class in Washington has abandoned the principles that underlie this country, and many of us think that’s a terrible idea.

    Does that make us ignorant, stupid, rednecked, racist, bigoted, or terrorists? Hardly. It does mean we are irreconcilably opposed to the further corruption of our society and our government. It means we don’t think we should give our country or our resources to any foreigners who simply storm the gates. Rather, we should toss them back out the gate with little ceremony, whether they are Latino, Asian, European or Arabian.

    It further means that we respect decency and are opposed to those who foist indecency upon us wrapped in a false veil of “tolerance.” I don’t have to tolerate nonsense like Miley Cyrus parading her skinny little body across my TV screen. I choose to turn it off. I don’t have to accept Bruce Jenner pretending to become a woman. I don’t have to say “ze” and “zer” or whatever else the U of Tenn thinks we should call people as of yesterday.


    Restore the sanity to our world. If Trump is or isn’t the guy, that’s fine, but it’s going to have to be someone with guts and convictions strong enough to tell the lib-progs that their day is ended.

    • Mitch McConnell has issued a statement that “now is not the time to defund Planned Parenthood”.

      He needs to go.
      Either he has not seen the videos, or if he has, he is a monster.

      • All Obama has to do is whisper “veto” and McConnell folds. I couldn’t be more disgusted.

        Driving home today I heard Rush Limbaugh say — McConnell could at least let Obama veto it, and then people would start asking why and what is this about and then the Republicans could say “Well, take a look at these videos”. Clearly I have dumbed down RL’s comments, but to the point McConnell won’t even do this.
        Coupled with the Corker legislation that allowed the Iran deal and McConnell’s failure of leadership I will remain a Republican to vote in the primaries but it won’t be an RepElite I will be voting for.

    • The “elites” of all stripes–Conservatives, Progressives, Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, national media types, academics, etc.–believe it is their solemn duty to tell the rest of us mouth breathers that what we think, the words we use, the concepts we respect, the views we hold are, well, stupid, or racist, or gender-based, or hateful or denialists or just plain stupid.

      They and only they understand what is happening in every area of civic life, and domestic and international affairs. The rest of us must sit silently, our feet together, hands folded on our laps, eyes wide open, while they lecture us and correct our errors for us.

  3. “In a vicious snit fit that makes H.L. Mencken seem like Mr. Rogers, ”

    Glad I got this AFTER the coffee was done for the day or I’d be buying a new monitor about now.

    If there is ONE thing Trump has done that has the elites really upset it is that he has exposed them for who they truly are and started rocking the precious pedestals upon which their arses are so precariously perched.

  4. Stephens, Will et al, should consider taking the Dale Carnegie course… “How to win friends ….”.

    When self-appointed opinionates behave more like professional insult comics – it’s no laughing matter.

  5. A commoner such as MrTrump dares to assume the royal political mantle without so much as a how-de-doo from the self-appointed, self-important class?
    Oh, the humanity, the outrage.
    His supporters are the riff-raff, the lowest of the low, and should be considered insane or at least incarcerated for the common good.

    Oh, bite us. Take a flying leap somewhere short. Who cares what they think. Drop Dead.

    • “A commoner” — hit the nail on the head. That is the way the media, the pundits, and the establishment Republicans are treating Donald Trump and many of his supporters, and non supporters alike who are looking for smaller government, rule of law, etc. — conservatives.

      It all does feel rather like being “ruled”. Guess, beware the kulaks is not what they got out of history.

    • It’s just astounding to me that so many people can’t figure out what he is actually doing–shaking the field up, drop kicking the media elites, blunt talking the establishment into babbling words, challenging their assumptions. It’s been a long time coming, Does he really, truly want to be President? I have no idea. But he’s challenging the whole political and establishment cabal–political consultants, politicians, media fakes on all sides. Should have been done long before this.

    • srdem65 — You are great!!! I love Trump — he may be our only chance, who would have thunk it! Those Elites??? they are a bunch of liars, thieves, greedy bunch of no nothings. How dare they, they better shut the hell up. This U.S. is due for a rebellion and I hope it happens. Why should we give our country away to these dumb progressives and dirty diseased criminal types for the anti-American progressives like Obama, Clinton, Uncle Joe the VP turned presidential candidate who kisses Obama’s balls every chance he gets. Do we need more of the same politicians who care nothing about the U.S. anymore or its people. They care only for the power and control, dumb commies/socialists, dumber than dirt they are, they know nothing, all greed and control and power.

  6. As a survivor of the Dem 2008 primary wars between the candidates’ factions, I see the similarity of the same playbook being used by demeaning the SUPPORTERS.

    I really had no dog in the race once Edwards dropped out, but aligned with the HRC supporters because they were nice to me. Obama wasn’t vetted at all and never got his Unicorns and Rainbows platform because I noticed he didn’t have any personal or professional accomplishments in his adult life.

    Questioning his lack of even running a lemonade stand drew shoutdowns of …. you racist, you must BELIEVE he is magical !

    Thanks to Sarah Palin, I left the Dems and never looked back.

  7. Why all the fuss? Trump is just doing what Trump does, i.e. making himself the center of the universe. This time, it’s comedy with a political twist.
    He is more like the energizer bunny than a presidential candidate.
    He reminds me a little of the Master of Insults, Don Rickles. He insults everyone, regardless of their political bent. And he always plays to a packed house!

    For today, I’m loving the show. It won’t be long before we have to face reality…and that won’t be nearly as much fun.

    • Listen to Trump yesterday on Hanity and he does have his ducks in a row.

      He is the only hope. Everyone else in the race on both sides is JUST MORE of the same BS they have been feeding us for years.

  8. We need a new party – one that puts the middle class first.

    What we have now serves the 1% and the bottom feeders.

    JebMex and the hilldabeast are the worst possible candidates.

    Some one save us from them!!!!

  9. OT. Apologies, but this seems pretty vulgarian to me as well.

    Fair & balanced debate moderator Gwen Ifill on twitter regarding the Iran nuke deal:

    “Take that, Bibi”

  10. I’m wondering if the elite Republican establishment and those “conservatives” working for them (ridiculing Trump from his hair to his crude form) will ever get the fact that Americans have finally had enough. The problem with conservatives is that it’s all or none with many of them. They have no concept of gaining a little at a time, which liberals and Democrats have been doing for decades, finally ending up with Obama, and Hillary waiting in the wings.

    • Hey Steve.
      I think people are starving for plain talk from the representatives.
      Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are for the most part, plain talkers.
      People are tired of the doublespeak coming out of the beltway.

  11. In just the last week alone, Hillary! has referred to Republicans as terrorists and Nazis.

    But, it’s Donald Trump’s supporters who are the problem.

    Got it.

    • As well her comments I am sure are not appreciated by some (Dems) as well. That is because everyone has family, friends, etc. that may be from one party or the other.

  12. wow! where to begin?

    Keith, I love ya–but you’re dead wrong, and Bret Stephens (who is one of the best journalists out there) is right. in fact I don’t think I’ve ever read anything on WHD in 4 years that you’ve gotten quite so wrong.

    I don’t want to offend my fellow Kofflerites, but come on people: Trump is a boorish and vulgar showman who knows nothing about policy or politics. the more boorish he gets, the more his amen corner loves it.

    we used to laugh at Obamabots who defended their great leader to the death, no matter what. now those same people who laughed are themselves Trumpbots, who are defending THEIR great leader to the death, no matter what.

    it’s a little sad.

      • I disagree. And although I will cast my vote for the candidate of MY choice – as yet undecided- I admit, I have enjoyed Mr. Trump’s frankness and plain speak.
        And I have already been called every name in the book as a result of expressing that enjoyment. Bulgarians is a new one – sounds like a Star Trek euphemism to me.
        And the thought of a man waking on the wrong side of his canopy bed made me laugh. Thanks, Keith. You are making a genuine effort to understand those of us middle-class, fly-over, common sense minded citizens who clearly understand what we have lost in this country for paltry- no, worthless gains.

    • But Trump may be the only one to save our asses. Go with reality not fakery and phony intellectuals who think they are above? Trump. Trump speaks like a human being who loves our country not one who hates it and wants to change it and give our country away for nothing like Obama, Clinton, Kerry, VP Joe (you know the one that kisses Obama’s balls every minute). Stop the snobbishness, they couldn’t shine Trump’s shoes for brains. He’s got Boehner, McConnell, Obama, Clinton, etc., etc. etc. beat – he’s way ahead of all of them, you’ll see. Hope it lasts with Trump, we so need his fresh air and plain talk, not lies and phony intellectualism. Wake the F up!!!!

  13. Much of what you write is confirmed by the series over at The Conservative Treehouse, in which the GOP Establishment’s coordinated efforts to – ahem – mitigate The Trump Effect have been laid bare.

    It’s not just the “UniParty” nature of it all that becomes so appalling, but moreso the utter contempt the “elites” have for what is generally considered the quaint Constitutional form of American governance.

    It will not end pretty for the GOP.

    • The Republican establishment wants Jeb to be the candidate. Period. Trump (and perhaps Carson and Fiorina) are upsetting their little plan. If Trump gets waylaid and Carson and Fiorina move ahead and squash Jeb, the RNC will try to destroy them in every possible way. That’s where it will really get dirty. They do not like outsiders trying to enter the game.

  14. If Donald Trump were elected POTUS and only did ONE conservative or good thing, it would be more than the GOP Congress has done.
    We know that electing Trump is chancy, but at least there’s the chance that something good might happen with him in the Oval Office. With the GOP establishment candidates, there’s no chance of any improvement in this country, just more of the same horror show.

  15. What should anyone expect from a bought-and-paid-for reporter from the bought-and-paid-for media? As the one-world-government-promoters try to figure out how to get rid of Trump, expect increasing worthless diatribe from the b&pf media.

  16. Donald Trump, believe it or not, is our only chance against the ones that are succeeding in turning the U.S. into a filthy crime-ridden, disease-ridden, lousy country where millions of human life are being tossed into the trash along with the veterans and many senior citizens who are not getting medical care. Thats Obama’s goal, kill off lots of babies and old old people for population control. Too bad Obama wasn’t one of those abortions and Hillary Clinton wasn’t one too!