A very astute article at The Daily Beast:
When I say “the left,” I do not mean the Democratic Party—or, solely the Democratic Party. Rather, the pestilence that is the Trump campaign is the result of a conglomeration of political, academic, media, and cultural elites who for decades have tried to act as the arbiters of acceptable public debate and shut down any political expression from Americans with whom they disagree. They, more than anyone else, created Donald Trump’s candidacy and the increasingly hideous movement he now leads.
The author is no Trump fan:
It’s pointless to try to explain Trump in terms of political platforms because Trump himself is too stupid and too incoherent to have any kind of consistent political views about anything beyond hating minorities and immigrants. Nuclear weapons? “With nuclear, the power, the devastation is very important to me.” Drugs? “That whole heroin thing, I tell you what, we gotta get that whole thing under control.” A random word generation program could do better.
They like how he says it, not what he says.
Today, however, we have a new, more virulent political correctness that terrorizes both liberals and conservatives, old-line Democrats and Republicans, alike. This form of political correctness is distinctly illiberal; indeed, it is not liberalism at all but Maoism circa the Cultural Revolution.
The extremist adherents of this new political correctness have essentially taken a flamethrower to the public space and annihilated its center. Topics in American life that once were the legitimate subjects of debate between liberals and conservative are now off-limits and lead to immediate attack by the cultural establishment if raised at all. Any incorrect position, any expression of the constitutional right to a different opinion, or even just a slip of the tongue can lead to public ostracism and the loss of a job.
It starts on campuses and spreads from there.
Note, for example, how Trump turned the incident in which Black Lives Matter activists humiliated Sen. Bernie Sanders to his own advantage. He didn’t bother drawing partisan lines or going after Sanders. Trump and his supporters couldn’t care less about any of that, and Trump until that point almost had almost never mentioned Sanders.
Instead, he made it clear that he’d never allow himself to be shut down by a mob. That, for his loyalists, was the money shot, especially when Trump pretty much dared BLM to disrupt a Trump event, in effect inviting them for an ass-kicking. A lot of people loved that shtick, because they want to see someone—literally, anyone—stand up to groups like BLM, even if it’s in defense of poor Bernie, because they worry that they’re next for that kind of treatment.
Trump loves it when people try to disrupt his events.
For the record, I despise Donald Trump and I will vote for almost any Republican (well, OK, not Ben Carson) rather than Trump. I’m a conservative independent and a former Republican. I quit the party in 2012 because of exactly the kind of coarse ignorance that Trump represents. The night Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary on the thoughtful platform of colonizing the moon, I was out. If in the end God turns his back on America and we’re left with only the choice of Trump or Hillary Clinton, I will vote for a third candidate out of protest—even if it means accepting what I consider the ghastly prospect of a Clinton 45 administration.
I know a lot of Republican voters like this.
Trump’s staying power, however, is rooted in the fact that his supporters are not fighting for any particular political outcome, they are fighting back against a culture they think is trying to smother them into cowed silence. What they want, more than any one policy, is someone to turn to the chanting mobs and say, without hesitation: “No, I will not shut up.” How long this will go on, then, depends on how long it will take for those people to feel reassured that someone besides Trump will represent their concerns without backing down in the face of catcalls about racism, sexism, LGBTQ-phobia, Islamophobia, or any other number of labels deployed mostly to extinguish their dissent.
Trump will not win, but he is changing the landscape for those who will follow.