The derangement over Donald Trump and his supporters is nowhere more evident than in the rank, rancorous reactions by anti-Trump journalists, pundits and political strategists on the Right. It's one thing for the Washington Post to run pictures of Trump grimacing under the headline, "Trump Runs for the Spite House," etc., but the intensity -- the crudity -- of the voices of brand-name conservatism is nowhere exceeded.
Cindy Simpson has collected a recent sample of the visceral, even pornographically-themed hostility to Trump and his supporters erupting amid the punditry on the Right. Even when some of these wordsmiths reach for the bon mot, it comes out graffiti. Simpson sees the trend as off-putting not only to Trump supporters but also to those seeking a "Big Tent" more generally. After reading through Simpson's collection and also finding that fetidly fresh examples abound, I agree. After all, who in their right mind would want to get inside a shrinking tent with these smut-talking men?
As I find from Simpson's piece, arguments, conversations, too often begin with name-calling -- Trump supporters are, in the (maybe humorous?) tweet of a leading NR writer/author, "mouth breathing anti-Semites and white nationalists" (Jonah Goldberg). Another NR correspondent writes in a column that Trump supporters are “engaged in the political version of masturbation: sterile, fruitless self-indulgence” (Kevin Williamson). Tweeted approval from a Commentary editor ping-pongs back: “Man. This piece. @KevinNR grabs Trump supporters by the... well, you know" (Noah Rothman).
Welcome to the metaphorical gutter of anti-Trump/supporter debate and journalism, where "vomit" and "rape-lovers" also pass as terms of political repartee (Commentary editor John Podhoretz). Seriously. "Trump's Immigration Plan Is Hardcore Porn for Nativists" is the headline of an essay today by David Harsanyi at The Federalist.
Donald Trump is porn for nativists. Now, a person can derive much political self-gratification from wishful thinking, but remember porn isn’t real. So enjoy daydreaming about mass deportations and visualizing the repeal of birthright citizenship, but don’t let yourself get desensitized to reality.
I know -- I've written about -- the pornification of our culture -- but this is something new again in its unabashed normalcy. This is, after all, a discussion of a crucial issue in a presidential campaign, not a review of some aIternative band, or open-mike comedy nite. It would be insulting -- Harsanyi actually invokes "softcore white papers authored by [Sen.] Jeff Sessions" -- if it were not so sophomoric.
Still, the untempered rancor of such discourse among Rightward journalists is something to reckon with. It is Brand Conservatism 2015, as upheld by 21st-century pampleteers at conservative outlets of note. Meanwhile, we are instructed on Trump's "ungallant behavior" and other lectures on decorum such as "Rudeness Is Not a Conservative Principle," and I don't think this is meant as comic relief.
I have long found such regions to be not a healthy place, as perhaps others are seeing for themselves. It is here, in a homogenously debased climate, that GOP consultant Rick Wilson berserkly attacked national treasure Ann Coulter on Twitter as a prostitute of Donald Trump, actually bringing anal sex into the immigration debate for the first and, one does quite fervently hope, last time.
Wilson, by the way, has not offered Coulter a public apology.
Now, who would want to get in a Big Tent with this?