Saturday, January 30, 2016
It's about dominance displays, about showing, rather than arguing, that one's opponent is weak. It's done not through critique but through attack — personal attack — demonstrating that the target will not or can not defend him or herself. The attack doesn't make the point, it ***is*** the point. It's "bitch-slap politics."
This kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It's not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it's Trump's native language. ... Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities ... none of that matters.
Though it makes pundits somewhat uncomfortable to admit it, most voters — especially the politically disengaged working-class whites Trump is attracting — don't know much about "issues" and don't have well-defined political philosophies.
When they witness political debate, they aren't really analyzing and assessing arguments. They are reading the subtext, attuned to who's aggressive and who's defensive, who's strong and who's weak, who seems like a leader and who doesn't.
Trump instinctively gets this. His innovation, if you can call it that, is to abandon the text altogether, bringing the subtext to the surface. "Toughness" is no longer a side dish, it's the main dish, the only dish. Trump will win because Trump wins.
... "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm