Journalists as Guardians of Democracy

With the Fourth Estate under increasing siege by the powers-that-be in America and elsewhere, the public is being entertained by journalists singing paeans to their profession; as secular prophets speaking truth to power; as “the last guardians of our democracy.” While I concur with their appeals for the unhindered right to exist, these minstrels of journalism conveniently omit some rather important verities.

If a cornerstone of the Western political heritage is the right of free expression, the underlying political theory which buttresses that right also conditions it under the rubric “with the consent of the governed.” So if the ambassadors of journalism chronically abuse that privileged right by the selective reporting of the facts and of the news stories published (a.k.a. self-censorship), with hyperbolic predictions of immediate economic disaster which fail to occur (i.e. Brexit), or unsubstantiated and baseless accusations (i.e. BuzzFeed), scandalous slanders (i.e. Rolling Stones, Washington Post), yellow journalism, outright mendacity, and all the other cheap disingenuous tricks of the rhetorician; it should not surprise if the governed, in effect, withdraw their consent, and permit would-be tyrants to trample over this fundamental tenet and bastion of free civic society. Those, who have previously discredited themselves and their moral authority, will find themselves alienated and sociopolitically isolated, as the willingness of the public to come to their defense, even at the cost of life and limb, falls by the wayside.

The moral authority of the Fourth Estate, at least in the United States, has all but collapsed; even before many of its members decided last year to surrender all pretense of journalistic objectivity and intellectual integrity and devolve into rank propagandists. Most of its members continue to fail to recognize and/or acknowledge their unethical estate, let alone change, and who blame their woes upon a civically illiterate public for not buying their sale of damaged goods.

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Many moons ago, I was struck by the ease by which 20th century tyrants and totalitarians steamrolled over real and potential islands of opposition. Be it true, for instance, that Germany had lacked a long tradition of liberal democracy, with brief and aborted attempts in the Revolution of 1848–9 and arguably in the Peasant’s War (1523–4). But it was my conclusion that the ambassadors of the various islands of societal power and influence had so discredited themselves, even prior to the Nazi takeover, they could no longer credibly serve as rallying points of defiance.

Some of the best paeans to the virtue of the Roman Republic were delivered in its last days by Cicero and Cato the Younger. However, the rhetorical flourish resonated little in the minds and hearts of their contemporaries while the optimates of the Republic nakedly pursued private aggrandizement at the expense of the commonweal and their less fortuned compatriots.

If President Trump be a potential tyrant, his inaugural speech echoed and exploits a similar state of affairs in contemporary America.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

It is a historical truism that those individuals, dynasties, sociopolitical institutions, and states who lose moral authority (Latin – auctoritas) find quick loss of power on its coattails.

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The good news, from an internal Canadian perspective, is that our Fourth Estate is largely unlike its American counterparts. I might complain about its superficial, dumb, and provincial coverage and analysis of world events at times. But the deceit and dissembling, lasciviously and shamelessly practiced by the American media and reaching pandemic levels, simply doesn’t exist here to any great extent. In the Jian Ghomeshi trial last year, one could sense some Canadian commentators chomping at the bit. But hyperbolic and irresponsible claims would be found largely in American rags, whose attention to the trial was otherwise fleeting.

Journalistic circumspection and integrity is neither innate in our blood nor a permanent fixture. If the odor of sheep manure emits from the pages and screens of many American media outlets, it is largely because truth and intellectual integrity is the first casualty of war, even if that war be of the multi-faceted cultural kind.

John Ibbitson’s depiction of a continuing Laurentian consensus in this country, of an inclusivistic political center which broadens, incorporates, and co-opts but brooks little tolerance for extremist and unsubstantiated claims, currently differentiates this country from our southern neighbours where the center has collapsed. But we are no less human than they; no more Exceptionalist than they.

Even so; if journalists be the last guardians of democracy, then journalistic and intellectual integrity is the strong fortress, high watchman’s tower, and chief weapon of their defense.

Publius

Handicapping the U.S. Election of 2016

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC: I think she’s got about a 95 chance to win this election, and I think she’s going to have a higher margin than Barack Obama did in 2012. Higher margin. She’s going to win by more than 5 million votes. She’s going to win a higher percentage. And interestingly she’s going to have a more diverse coalition than Barack Obama even did when you take the final vote into consideration. Every piece of data points in that direction.[1]

Contrary to the existentialist “wish as reality” analysis of the Versaillean soothsayers of the Potomac and Hudson, who have been consistent in their misreading of the entrails from the get-go of this election cycle; I suspect that most pieces of data point to very iffy outcome in either direction. There is reasonable chance that while Hillary Clinton may win the popular vote by up to 2%, Donald Trump may squeak through an Electoral College victory. There is even a plausible possibility of a tie, with all the partisan hell that that would entail and ensue.

In the first place, one cannot help but be skeptical of the integrity and competency of public opinion polls. The variances between the different polls results in a situation whereby even a good plurality of competing polls are outside of the “margin of error” of other polls. To explicate: if Poll A claims that Hillary will win by 5% percentage points with a margin of error of 2.5%, 19 times out of 20; but a good third of competing polls claim that it is tie; those third are well outside the margin of error parameters of Poll A. How credible can polling be with that state of affairs?

Methodological finagling, beneath the surface of the stated approach, is so easy to do and has been much in evidence. The demographic composition that is chosen; the means by which the poll is solicited; even the order by which one frames the survey questions can solicit a significantly different result, especially from those who really haven’t given the matter serious final thought.

Consider those poll of polls averages, whereby one single outlier poll can so distort the averages, that Electoral College predictions can change hands. The Granite State Poll (University of New Hampshire) gave HRC an 11% lead, which, by its own singular influence, placed the state onto the Blue side.

Poll Date Sample

Size

MOE Clinton Trump Johnson Stein Spread
Emerson 11/4 – 11/5 1000 LV 3.0 45 44 5 3 Clinton +1
WMUR/UNH 11/3 – 11/6 707 LV 3.7 49 38 6 1 Clinton +11
Gravis 11/1 – 11/2 1001 RV 2.0 41 43 7 2 Trump +2
Boston Globe/Suffolk 10/31 – 11/2 500 LV 4.4 42 42 5 2 Tie
ARG 10/31 – 11/2 600 LV 4.0 43 48 4 1 Trump +5
UMass Lowell/7News 10/28 – 11/2 695 LV 4.3 44 44 5 2 Tie
WBUR/MassINC 10/29 – 11/1 500 LV 4.4 39 40 10 3 Trump +1

Why then are the competing candidates heavily campaigning in New Hampshire in the last days before the election? Even Olympic events, which depend upon such type judgments, toss out the outliers.

We dwell in the Age of Mendacity, where propagandistic advocacy poses as journalism, and sociological surveys ape as science. One suspects that these advocates hope for a bandwagon effect; but which, if it ever existed, vaporizes if virtually everyone has become knowledgeably jaded to such dissembling.

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I remain convinced that any poll, even if conducted with the highest degree of intellectual integrity and competence, will understate the Trump support. As a rule of thumb, it is the Right and the radical Left who are most tender about privacy concerns, and therefore tend to hold their cards close to their vest. And in the present American political milieu, it is less socially acceptable and economically advantageous to appear to be a member of the “irredeemable deplorable,” especially if the higher classes (a.k.a. employers), whether of the elite Right or elite Left, who may have influence over one’s welfare, display a universal detestation for this vulgarian. Furthermore, there exists more evidence of harassment, death threats, and low-level violence emanating from the Left than from the Right in this election cycle.

If Trump was able to appeal to the “irredeemably deplorable,” who rarely voted in prior elections, to vote in a primary/caucus, it seems implausible that they would not lift themselves from couch potato positions for the general election. These from the “rube class” may or may not be accurately demographically apportioned in political polls. Likewise, it is understandable if the tribalist instincts of Blacks are less enthusiastic to vote for a white woman than from one of their own “species.” It is likewise understanding if the Hispanics are aroused who consider Trump an existential threat to their own well-being.

The early voting seems to confirm these premonitions, with the proportion of the white vote marginally ahead, while the black vote is significantly behind in places like North Carolina, where they constitute 22% of the population; Florida (17%); or Philadelphia.

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Presidential elections have been rather static affairs since 2000, each side appealing to their respective bases. Donald Trump has substantially altered the axis upon which this electoral divide is premised and indeed, has made voting intentions more fluid. Even if Clinton was to maintain the same popular vote lead as Obama in 2012, the shift has placed hitherto solid-Blue states into play. Clinton has little over a two percent lead in Pennsylvania, which Obama won by 10%+ points in 2008, and 5.5% in 2012. New Hampshire is dead even with advantage Trump, which Obama won by 9.5% and 5.5% respectively. The same goes in a myriad of mid-west states (e.g. Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio).

I have great suspicions that many voters will become last-minute shoppers, sizing up the possible consequences of the respective future administrations. While the vulgar, self-serving, unsympathetic, intemperate, inconsistent, intellectually ignorant albeit shrewd instincts (Reptilian Brain – Joe Stein of Time Magazine) of Trump may break such an undecided vote towards the Democratic camp; the thought of yet another Clintonesque ordeal and politically deadlocked paralysis at a time of greater perils; or the overwhelming evidence of corruption, public collusion with private interests, and the use of the organs of state to promote partisan interests, may make break it the other way.

Finally, one must consider the zeitgeist, in light of the Brexit vote. The Financial Times poll of polls placed the Remain side ahead by 2%. Yet the Leave side won the vote by 3.8%, as the turnout in the cosmopolitan areas was significantly lower than that found in Little Britain’s hinterland. The lower classes and the hinterland are up in arms everywhere in the West.

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Even so, as indicated by the states which the respective candidates are visiting in the last days, the battleground states seems to show a Trump offensive and momentum.

  • Ohio
  • New Hampshire (especially)
  • North Carolina
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota (which seems like a Trumpian feint)

Barring a last minute shift of sentiment; because of the lower turnout of Blacks in North Carolina, I suspect that that Red State remains Red. Ohio, like Iowa, which went Obama in 2008 and 2012, seem solidly on the Red side. The very close electoral college (current predictions of 272 – 266 in favor of Clinton) pivots on Florida and New Hampshire, with an outside chance of Pennsylvania and Colorado making a difference. If the Hispanic vote makes up for the lagging Black (and millennial) vote, while the “white nationalist rube” vote remains subdued, the Democrats win. If the New Hampshire vote is reflected by the myriad of late polls giving Trump the edge rather than that Granite State outlier, while Florida goes Red, Trump wins 270 – 268. If one district in Maine, which is presently in the Red camp goes Blue, there exists an Electoral College tie.

Thus, I cannot make any firm prediction other than it might not make any difference in the end in regard to the great unravelling of the Republic as a free civic polity.

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Therefore, contrary to pontifications of ABC News Matthew Dowd, which, I believe, are without common-sense merit and sufficient, let alone universal evidence (“Every piece of data points in that direction”); there is a better chance of a Trumpian victory at the Electoral College than expected, even if, as I suspect, Clinton squeaks a popular vote victory; barring a major shift in sentiment her way.

If the world was presently sane, and merit actually meant something, and the mainstream media was more concerned with their own long-term credibility and viability than short-term partisan gain, I might have applied for Dowd’s job, if I prove right.

 

 

 

[1] Matthew Dowd, “Clinton Has 95% Chance To Win, Will Win By 5 Million Votes,” This Week (ABC News), November 6, 2016, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/11/06/matthew_dowd_clinton_has_95_chance_will_get_higher_margin_than_obama.html.

Les Déplorables

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right . . . The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

– Hillary Rodham Clinton at LGBT for Hillary Gala – Sept 9, 2016

If I was to be grossly generalistic, I’d say that you can take Trump supporters and put them in two big baskets. There are what I call the deplorables. They’re racists, and the haters, and the people who are drawn because they think somehow he’s going to restore an America that no longer exists. So just eliminate them from your thinking because we have always had a paranoiac and prejudicial element within our politics.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Interview with Yonit Levi, Israeli TV – Sept 8, 2016

There are knock-out zingers or gaffes which make or break a public persona. Certainly, Mulroney’s “you had an option, sir” comeback qualifies as the defining and determining moment in a 1984 Canadian Federal Election debate; or Reagan’s folksy “there you go again” in a 1980 U.S. Federal Election debate; or contrariwise, Rick Perry’s infamous “Oops,” after an early stage senior’s moment.

While lacking the virtue of hindsight or empirical polling date, it seems virtually certain that a politician, publicly denigrating a quarter of the electorate of one’s nation as a basket (with intimations of “basket case”), as deplorables, as irredeemable, and as un-American, more than qualifies as such a defining and determining moment.

Such intuitions arise not merely from the amount and duration of play that these terms have generated in the media, including the foreign press and the now nakedly partisan mainstream media (MSM), who normally protect their Champion from self-inflicted wounds through non-reportage and other media contrivances. But such disparagements as Hillary Clinton’s are sufficiently over the top that they cannot be ignored.

It is rather because such sentiments speak directly into the zeitgeist of the moment; namely the disrobing of a hitherto veiled contempt by the cosmopolitan elite for the commons, the unwashed masses, the ignorant rubes of the hinterland, and the vengeance that such disdain would naturally provoke in the latter. It is open class warfare in a nation whose civil religion has hitherto repudiated and denied the existence of class in America. And Hillary Clinton has successfully auditioned for the starring role of that horror film.

Many among Clinton’s allies have condemned her remarks; a meritorious few among them out of genuine concern for the public good. “We believe in redemption, not just because you’re a liberal but you’re American. When you right off people and blame the customer; that is really bad.” – Mark Shields)

But a surprising number have thought it prudent and shrewd to embrace her sentiments, to violate the politically correct nostrum of modern democracy concerning the decency and virtue of the common man.

Partisan Considerations

Having no direct skin in the U.S. election, I have little interest in the Stock Ticker of partisan gamesmanship. Nevertheless, it seems quite evident to me that this ‘basket of deplorable’ motif exhibits a dearth of political acumen which plunges well beneath the lowest bar of expectations for a veteran politico and a major political party. It is unfathomable how such an indiscriminate and amorphous insult against one’s own electors could produce a net partisan gain. The stings of verbal assault linger far longer in those against whom they were directed than with those who enjoy a momentary glee.

Certainly, the optics of declaiming, at an LGBT gala, the theists and moralists, who do not buy into the LGBT agenda (and thereby summarily qualify as a homophobic heretic in an LGBT moral universe), is supremely rich in irony and dissonance from the latter’s perspective (Isaiah 5:20). It is well reported that many among the theists and moralists have been having a crisis of conscience in voting for Trump; these, who have hitherto dutifully supported whatever Champion the Republican Party proffered. But in that such malevolent attitudes permeate the soul of Clinton and her allies towards them, those, who may have otherwise sat on their hands, may find it a compelling existential necessary for their own welfare to effectually vote against Clinton.

The evident general contempt for the unwashed masses and ignorant rubes of the hinterland by this member of the cosmopolitan elite may arouse even more nativist rubes, who have never or rarely voted, from their apathy in a singular display of defiance. One would have thought that someone within the Clinton coterie would have picked up on the political blunders of the Remain side on the Brexit referendum.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus (1883)

It is also rich irony in a nation whose founding myth includes America as refuge for the many who were deemed the social outcasts, the deplorables, within their native homelands. This is an attitude that many first generation immigrants, residing in the United States, would have first-hand knowledge. The myth of the immigrant is celebrated more by the progressive liberal set than their political adversaries; a myth which includes a new start for those who had been considered irredeemable. Yet the would-be governor of America has inadvertently positioned herself, in her updated version of wretched refuse against a large swath of the governed, as an instigating agent of emigration.

Higher Considerations of Statesmanship

As intimated elsewhere, I have been of the studied opinion since the late 1980s that United States has been sleepwalking (and now hurtling) towards civic conflagration, barring a preemptive coup d’état. There are seminal causes, which underlie the accelerating polarization and schisms since especially the 1960s, whose crosscurrent dynamics are now in abundant display. But the flurry of empirical evidence of imminent civic tumult is now rushing faster than one can countenance it all.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties (factions) in the state . . .

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is  itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

George Washington, Farewell Address (1797)

One might wish that some American Cincinnatus or Scipio, with substance and natural nobility, might emerge from the culturally gated communities of the American optimates or the subterranean swamps of the populares, who recognize the present peril and demonstrate genuine will to forestall such civic conflagration. However, not only have recent politicos been blissfully oblivious to the dangers, but they have exacerbated and contributed to this hurtling vortex. In that none exists among the representatives of the American populace, with the wisdom to recognize, acknowledge, and address the present peril, it may be indicative of America’s ethical and intellectual depletion.

It is within this context that Hillary Clinton’s “basket case of irredeemable deplorables” must be framed. The underlying attitude, and the brazen shamelessness in publicly expressing it, makes her an active agent of civic division and conflagration and a contributor to the imminent ruin of the free civic polity and public liberty. Beyond the mendacity, the venality, the greed and self-aggrandizement, the corruption, the lack of core convictions and dedication to a transcendent vision beyond that of mere self-interest; Clinton’s arrogant contempt towards large swaths of the populace and her divisiveness makes her intrinsically unfit to lead her nation.

What a woeful state of affairs! For in Donald Trump, the Americans have an ignorant and unprincipled yet politically shrewd operator, the first edition of many demagogues, who provides a partial template for future authoritarians in the ashes of the American Republic’s demise. And in Hillary Clinton, they have an equally unprincipled but politically dim-witted Marie Antoinette (“What difference, at this point, does it make?”), whose schismatic attitudes and the policies and actions/reactions, which invariably would emanate from those attitudes, will quicken that demise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish Control of Hollywood

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by:

  • News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish),
  • Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish),
  • Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish),
  • Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew),
  • Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish),
  • CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel),
  • MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and
  • NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish)

If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.    – Joel Stein (Los Angelis Times)

 

Continue reading “Jewish Control of Hollywood”

The Mendacity of Modern Journalism – Exhibit “A”

Rumors seep from the guilds of journalism of a pervasive belief therein that since impartial objectivity is impossible to attain, the bar should be lowered. But in that all fall short of any standard that is set, the invariable logic of lowering bars invariably produces a vortex of mediocrity. Thereby, honest reporting devolves into advocacy journalism and thereafter blatant sycophantic propaganda. That is certainly one plausible explanation for the contemporary state of affairs.

Today’s champion of journalistic mendacity comes from left-liberal ezine, Vox, not particularly notorious for noetic integrity. I stumbled upon an article by Vox’s Matthew Yglesias through a well-meaning but inept op-ed by David Brooks of The New York Times, who cited  Yglesias’  summation of another source, without validating the veracity of that summation.

The issue involves immigration and illegal immigration in the context of Donald Trump’s recent burps of authenticity; and in particular the claims that immigration harms the “incomes of native-born Americans on average.”

Continue reading “The Mendacity of Modern Journalism – Exhibit “A””

Far From the Frenzied Herd

A frenzied herd of U.S. reporters and media political analysts rushed to proclaim the immanent ascension of Donald Trump. Like reading many a movie review, one suspects that these pundits never actually watched the ‘film’, but pieced together their op-eds on the basis of the pre-release trailers, the undigested ruminations of fellow reviewers who did likewise, and Google.

Super Tuesday . . . a total renegade came close to clinching the presidential nomination of the opposing party. – CNN

Donald Trump is on the verge of winning the Republican nomination . . . Trump dominated a diverse coalition of states. – NBC

Trump is now unstoppable. It’s game over for Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and Carson . . . Game over! This was a rout, America. Winning seven states and the vast majority of delegates is a landslide. – Fox

It will be a Trump tsunami. The question is how high has the water will rise. – RealClear Politics

But the click bait hype fails to correspond to any objective political realities. On the morning of Super Tuesday, Tom Bevan, “syndicated” political analyst to multiple networks, and co-founder of RealClearPolitics, in the space of 250 words, made the following claims about an oncoming Trump political tsunami.

• “the only state that [Trump] is not winning is the state of Texas”
• “six polls taken [Texas] in the last ten days show Cruz with about a nine-point lead”
• “every other state . . . Trump has double-digit leads”
• “the only place where [Trump is] under double digits is Oklahoma and he’s 8.6%.”
• On Minnesota: “one poll that was taken in January, which is like ten years ago, in the way that this race has progressed, that showed Rubio up a couple of points”
• “Rubio is solidly behind Trump in all the states”

These were the ensuing realities.

• Of the eleven states in play, Trump lost 4, not 1.
• In Texas, Cruz’s lead was 17 percentage points, not 9.
• In only 4 of the states, not 10, Trump retained double-digit leads
• Trump’s high single-digit lead in Oklahoma, turned into a 6 point lead for Cruz, a difference of 14 percentage points
• Rubio, not merely barely won Minnesota, but won by high double digits over Cruz, and 15 points over Trump
• Rubio was ahead of Trump in 1 state, and barely behind in 2 others (Virginia, Oklahoma)

To paraphrase Churchill, “Some tsunami!” Indeed, the only diagnostic which proved correct was “[Trump] is in solid shape.” A ten-year old, sufficiently informed in current events, might have reached that same epiphany.

Instead of demonstrating a little humility, which invariably would undermine the credibility of his brand and business, this professional political prognosticator perpetuated this mythological tsunami narrative after the event. “The Trump and Clinton tsunamis crashed ashore as predicted . . . only adds to his momentum heading into the winner-take-all phase . . .” Bevan considered Cruz the only other Republican winner on the night. In retaining his home state, and adding a couple more, Cruz “[bolstered] his case that he’s the only candidate in the field who can defeat Trump.” Such facile and maudlin tripe raises suspicions as to whether Bevan is one of Trump’s sycophantic trumpets.

The Hard Tacks of Real Journalism

A little homework would quickly reveal that Trump’s popular support within the Republican Party remains stuck at 35%, evidencing no sign of momentum; momentum, seeming to be the primary Trump campaign strategy and expectation, considering Trump’s high negatives. Surely, momentum works in stock market manias, doesn’t it!
Trump’s actual electoral performance, in comparison with public opinion polls, should be worrisome for him. Of 10 of the 11 races, in which a reasonably recent poll existed, Trump strongly outperformed polls in only one losing cause (Arkansas), did mildly better in 3 (+3–5%), did mildly worse in 2 (-4–6%), and considerably worse in 4 others (-10–24%). Rather than people hiding their sentiments in his favor, they are brandishing a false image, reconsidering at the last moment, or support has recently dipped.

As for Cruz, Super Tuesday was his explicitly expressed firewall. While Cruz benefitted from late surges in Texas, Oklahoma, and perhaps Alaska; if one subtracts Texas, Cruz actually ran 2% behind Rubio in largely God and country Southern Baptist land.

Finally, the numbers proffer evidence of an organic Anybody-But-Trump movement. How otherwise does one explain the varied late-day surges, apparently undetected by late polls, in Oklahoma (Cruz), Virginia (Rubio), and Vermont (Kusich)?

Conclusions

These privately ascertained insights are not without confirmation. Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard seems to have also done his homework, arriving with similar observations. A foreign newspaper, not caught within the frenzy, makes the prosaic and tedious note, that contrary to having won the vast majority of delegates, Trump has about 46% of all delegates overall; only 42–43% of the latest catch. Some vast majority! Some momentum! Another Canadian pundit expresses near perfectly the current existential crisis in the Republican union.

The politicos and pollsters continue to rely on historical precedents and traditions to determine existing and future prospects. This continues, despite the near flawless incompetence of that frenzied herd. But if the context of the sociopolitical milieu has been considerably transformed (e.g. the relative futility of campaign money), to what extent can historical precedent be reliable?

As for me, I largely stand by my August 2015 premonitions.

I watch bemused [at] the gladiatorial spectacle of Donald Trump from afar. He is, without doubt, a thuggish buffoon with the subtlety of mind of a solid cube; who pummels through prudence, rationality, empathy, civility, tact and virtue like a rhino in heat. He is the “ugly American,” raised to the third power, whose simpleton appeal to imbecility, confirms democracy’s devolution towards a Confederacy of Dunces.

The meretricious courtesans of political punditry hope that a fickle populace is merely toying with the witless minds and anxious hearts of a neglectful elite. They give the idiocracy too much wit.

Trump is the Rob Ford of the American [ideological] Whatever. (It becomes practicably difficult to identify a consistent and rationally coherent ideology or feasible strategic policy to his constipated outbursts.) But with Rob Ford; even after a season of Jimmy Kimmel easy-to-make vignettes about our clown naturale; the Bulldozer of City Hall retained a stubborn third of the popular vote in Toronto, indeed of liberal Toronto; before our Ford finally suffered electoral defeat to cancer. I likewise suspect that contrary to “wish-upon-a-star” analysis, the Trump Nation will endure. The ramifications of the long decline of mind and culture of the American Idiocracy is finally coming [home] to roost.

I would probably now add that contrary to a momentum-based coronation, there is real likelihood of a brokered convention and duplicitous machinations in a 1968-style tumultuous melee in Cleveland. And contrary to my initial scorn concerning Trump’s ideological incoherence, Trump is indeed a true conservative; just not the Exceptionalist American kind. His simple-minded, authoritarian “style” has historical if foreign precedents with the völkisch, nationalist, and intrinsically anti-democratic German National People’s Party (DNVP); which for lack of deeper study, Wikipedia must suffice to provide this little gem.

The spring 1924 campaign was largely led and organized by charismatic, media savvy Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz who was presented as the “savior” type figure, able to rally together the entire nation to both win the election and then restore Germany back as a great power.

© Copyright John Hutchinson

CANADA NEEDS TO BUILD A WALL

But I just can’t imagine. A major American party doesn’t nominate Donald Trump. I just can’t believe it. I will have to go to Canada after that.

 

David Brooks becomes just the latest American, who presumes upon his Exceptionalist right to inhabit our peaceable hinterland as their refuge of last resort. We have become their Elysium; their Iceland (Brave New World); their Potemkin village of Brigadoon. If Canada didn’t exist, Americans would have had to invent us.

It is only a matter of time and catalyst before their dam of schism breaks, threatening to swarm and overwhelm us with their swarthy masses of disgruntled partisans. Prudence and foresight demands that Canada build a Wall; a high, and mighty, and impregnable Wall of Separation, before these aliens spew into our borders and infect us with their vehemence and vitriol.

When did we consent to be their asylum; their outlet of outrage? I don’t recall us having that referendum. There is no statue of Sir Wilfred Laurier on Navy Island beckoning America, “Give me your disgruntled, your dissidents, your “outs,” your wearied partisans yearning to breathe peace.”

If ever that day should come, we would have to thank God for GPS. Otherwise, as one of their own wits has quipped, they would have had to wage a little war to find us.

Why would David Brooks assume that Canada wants him? The man may seem to have a congenial manner. But is it truly possible for Brooks to be immune to the civic vitriol and discord that infests U.S. ideologues, politicos, pandering sycophants of the media, and the masses?

We are, at least in Anglo-Immigrant Canada, a moderate country, an Anglican country; thanks partially to the expulsion of their Episcopalians in the 1780s. As N.T. Wright proclaimed, a typical representative of that Anglican elite, if you sign off on a minimalist set of premises, you’re in! You’re part of the family and citizenry!

When I backpacked around the Mediterranean in the late 1970s, I could almost always tell a Yank from a Canuck. Unlike them, there was a palpable absence of strong or extreme opinions among our countrymen; or at least of opinions expressed. Americans always want to be right; we just want to get along.

What need could Canada have of David Brooks? We are already a nation full of moderates. We actually have a genuine political center. We had hyphenated conservative pundits endorsing the NDP party in the recent election. And the present NDP leader had purportedly been offered a job from the Conservative Party of Canada. The Utah of Canada (Alberta) voted NDP in the last year. And Calgary, the most conservative of our urban centers had, until recently, banned gated communities; that barometer of excessive socioeconomic disparity and ensuing civic rift. What could David Brooks possibly add to our discourse and saturated market of moderation?

Yes we have our demagogues, still hankering to be unleashed to untold havoc. Donald Sutherland’s mischievous cry for revolution; the Ford’s trumpeting to be the Sam Brownback of the North. But I think that we can yet quarantine that local outbreak of sociopolitical psychosis to the Upstairs, Downstairs neighbourhood of Toronto.

I for one, do not want to see the likes of David Brooks in our peaceable hinterland. I am an ideological moderate. Brooks is a muddled moderate; having good sensibilities but a tad incoherent. And we must not have those other types swarming our country and tipping the delicate sociopolitical balance.

Canada needs to build a Wall; a high, and mighty, and impregnable Wall of Separation.

© Copyright John Hutchinson