Sorry, Conservatives: You Deserve Donald Trump

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


From Jonah Goldberg, in an epic lament about the trumpenproletariat’s crush on Donald Trump and the willingness of mainstream conservatives to pander to it:

Every principle used to defend Trump is subjective, graded on a curve. Trump is like a cat trained to piss in a human toilet. It’s amazing! It’s remarkable! Yes, yes, it is: for a cat. But we don’t judge humans by the same standard.

I think this is unfair to cats who learn to piss in the toilet. At least that’s a useful skill, and at least they don’t spend all their free time bragging about it. Still, fair point.

On a related note, I continue to be impressed at the number of conservatives who are aghast not at Trump per se, but at the fact that the conservative base is so enamored of him. Most conservative support of Trump is “venting and resentment pretending to be some kind of higher argument,” Goldberg says. And then: “I am tempted to believe that Donald Trump’s biggest fans are not to be relied upon in the conservative cause.” Ya think?

But surely Goldberg understands that this is the right-wing base that he and his colleagues have built? I don’t expect any conservative writer to acknowledge this in public, but surely in the occasional dark night of the soul they understand what they’ve done? For years they’ve supported the worst know-nothing bombast of Drudge and Limbaugh, the casual reality distortion of Fox News, and the resentment-based appeals of people like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. And they’ve turned a blind eye to even worse: birthers, Agenda 21 lunacy, Cliven Bundy’s army, and much, much more. It was handy at the time, and helped win a few elections. But now the outrage-based mob they’ve nurtured has come back to haunt them—and unsurprisingly, it turns out not to care all that much about the debating-hall nuances of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk. They just want to kick out the wetbacks and get back at those smug liberals who make fun of them.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. But if you want to survive, you’d better at least understand that once forged, a sword can be wielded by anyone strong enough to grab it. You might not like it when your army decides to follow, but you’re the one who taught them to follow the shiny object without worrying too much about whose hand is on the hilt, aren’t you?

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate