My Turn: This bed was made by liberals

  • Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump watch as he greets other supporters after speaking at a campaign rally in Bethpage, N.Y., on Wednesday. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 4/8/2016 12:10:08 AM

I’ve been puzzling over what to make of the Donald Trump phenomenon. Why are so many people voting for him?

Most of the criticism of the man seems right on target. He is clearly an egoist and narcissist, and is unqualified to assume the office he aspires to by nearly every measure.

I consider myself a mainstream Republican, and I don’t share his views, don’t think he’s a good person and don’t want him representing me. I’ll definitely be voting for our exceptional junior senator, Kelly Ayotte, and perhaps even a straight Republican undercard, but not for that clown Trump.

Many on the left seem to think that people who vote for him must have something wrong with them: Maybe they’re bigots, racists or just not all that bright. All those who are voting for him will justly find that insulting – and being repeatedly insulted is one of the reasons they’re voting for Trump.

As if that’s not enough, the left would also like everyone to believe the GOP is reaping what it sowed from coddling bigotry all these many years. Poppycock, says I!

It now seems clear that a large part of Trump’s success can be laid at the feet of Republican leadership for not exercising more thought and muscle in lining up candidates, allowing the mainstream vote to be splintered early on, and giving candidates such as Cruz and Trump with committed minorities a big head start.

It’s also true that none of the most qualified candidates had enough star power to stand out or offer a charismatic alternative.

So Cruz is energizing the socially conservative wing of the party while Trump is attracting voters who have been hard to categorize. That has left the fiscally conservative, small government, local control group divided and uninspired.

But the Trump bloc isn’t something irresponsible Republican behavior stirred up. It’s a backlash.

I believe the people who are voting for Trump, by and large, are voting as a protest against the direction American culture has been moving for many decades. These people are fed up with having a world view they don’t agree with forced down their throats.

The United States has a cultural elite that is urban based and educated at fancy, liberal colleges. They claim the moral high ground and believe they have an obligation to force their world view on the rest of us.

Resist and you will be shamed for your Neanderthal view.

If you think boys need to participate in the rough and tumble – and get in occasional fist fight – you’re supporting bullies.

If you think hunting and trapping are worthwhile endeavors, you will be accused of animal cruelty.

If you dare to question climate change orthodoxy, you’re a “denier.”

If you think we’re losing jobs overseas and worry that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from citizens, you’ll be labeled a bigot.

If you wonder why the heck our president values the counsel of Al Sharpton, or question his wisdom, you’re likely to be labeled a racist.

If you believe men are better at some things and women better at others, you’re probably a sexist.

And heaven forbid you’re a cigarette smoker.

The list goes on, and it seems hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear about some new thing we’re not supposed to do, say or even think.

And I have to say, it’s very effective, this public shaming.

I care about what my friends, relatives and neighbors think, so when I prepare a piece like this I want to make sure I give the finger-pointers as little ammunition as possible.

It’s too bad, really, that one can’t express oneself without all this circumspection, and at its core I think that’s what Trumpism is about.

People are sick to death of being stifled by the dominance of this liberal, urban culture, and Trump is really a symbol of this frustration – a big fist with the middle finger sticking up.

I understand that much of Trump’s support is from white people, many in rural areas and very few graduates of Harvard, Columbia and Princeton. Of course, a big chunk of America fits that description – and it’s unlikely that most of that demographic supports him – yet it’s instructive.

What I know is there are a lot of people who believe in traditional American values and think this forced march down the liberal path needs to be stopped. That, not bigotry coddled by Republican hubris, is the moral center of this protest movement.

If a qualified leader of good character, with a touch of charisma, were to emerge (maybe next time) this movement could form the core of a groundswell of support – like the one that brought us Ronald Reagan in 1980.

My guess is that Trump supporters believe the cultural battle for the soul of this country supersedes the obvious limitations of their current standard bearer.

Me, I’m up for the battle – but not with General Bozo.

(Steve Mongan lives in Concord.)

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