Sunday, May 8, 2016

Crick, Laski, and Trump

Ordinarily I don't read David Brooks (I listen to him occasionally on the NewsHour and that would seem to be, well, more than enough -- though someone so inclined can search this blog [there's a search box in the upper left corner] and find that I have discussed a Brooks column now and then in the past).

Anyway, I noticed at Duck of Minerva that Josh Busby was tweeting a Brooks column and I said "what's that all about"?

So I zipped through the column.  The basic message is that Trump is the culmination of 'anti-political' trends of the last several decades in the U.S.  The column is bookended with quotes from Bernard Crick and Harold Laski.  In between the quotes the column is fairly predictable -- not wrong, but also not very deep.

In particular Brooks does not delve into why some people dislike the compromise and messiness of democratic politics, apart from the suggestion that authoritarianism is on the rise worldwide.  Could it be that democratic politics has not served a portion of the population especially well, and their reaction is, not too surprisingly, to say **** it?

One thing's for sure.  You're not going to sway most Trump supporters with quotes from two Brits (Laski and Crick), both of whom were (gasp) socialists (of one sort or another).


hank_F_M said...


Even conservative commentators who have little use for Mr. Trump are commenting the left is suffering from “Trump derangement Syndrome.”

Basically he is a salesmen (hustler) who is more interested in closing a deal than what the deal is, provided he gets his commission. He has tapped a genuine alienation between the upper classes with the working and middle classes. And he is saying what he needs to say to close the sale. Does he actually believe it?

Well I doubt he has thought it out enough to answer the question. But before he entered politics his actions/views seemed to be more left of center than anything else. If he is elected I expect he will drift back to that default. Or to put it another way he will betray all his supporters.

But really he is the best Republican candidate if one wants to support a left leaning policy.

You should be happy.

LFC said...

Just before reading your comment I saw a WaPo headline declaring "Trump is effectively running to the left of Clinton on some issues" -- or maybe it said "many" issues, I can't recall. I'm skeptical of this whole line.

I heard part of a recent Trump speech in Charleston, WV (as I mentioned in a previous post). His promises to repeal Obamacare and 'build the wall' are hardly left positions. Having repeated them, esp. the latter, so often, I doubt he will feel free to do a 180-degree turn once inaugurated, should he get elected (which I think is unlikely, but not [unfortunately] impossible).

I understand why some conservatives are unhappy with Trump (though others, e.g. Jeff Sessions, Ben Carson, Ed Rollins, and Sarah Palin, to mention several who come to mind immediately, are supporting him). But simply b/c some conservatives are unhappy w him is not a reason for liberals (or progressives etc) to be happy.

He has the instincts and has exhibited the behavior of a demagogue -- I don't like that. It wd take too long to go into a long explanation, even if I had one handy. It's not that I think Trump rejects politics in some kind of absolut(ist) sense, which seems to be Brooks' line. I'm sure he wd compromise as Pres. when he felt he needed to. But there is something v. offensive about the way he has campaigned, about the things he has said about Muslims and Mexicans, about his apparently almost total lack of interest as a candidate in anything that might be termed truth or objective reality -- if he has a relation to these things, it seems to be more coincidental than deliberate.

I'll leave it at that. Think I've prob. put up enough Trump posts for a while, anyway, so will move on to something else. (Though not hurriedly.)

Anderson said...

I'm certainly not an expert, but mass democracy is a relatively new thing in most places, as is fascism.

Does it seem unlikely that fascism is an endemic risk in democracies?

LFC said...

Hi Anderson,

I'm not sure about "endemic risk," I think it depends partly on the character of the particular democracy, other contingencies, etc etc. I don't think the US is at risk of succumbing to fascism in the classic '30s sense. Many yrs ago someone wrote a bk on 'soft fascism' I think it was called, but that's somewhat different. I may be missing a connection btw yr comment and the Brooks piece...?

LFC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LFC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.