A superb article exposes the fissures in America

For the past few days, I've been trying to explain to a Millennial the concept of that "Great America" that is encompassed in Trump's MAGA slogan ("Make America Great Again").  Marinated in modern academia, which hates America, he simply doesn't get it.  Perhaps that's why I was stunned by the perspicacity in Michael Anton's latest, which looks at the ruling class's vision of America, a vision that, in its own way, is even more antithetical to the MAGA viewpoint than this young man's generalized disdain.

First, a little bit of middle-aged history for the young 'uns out there.  My generation (those of us who came of age before the year 1990) remember something that's utterly alien to young folks today: we remember socializing with people from the opposite political party.  During those social engagements, there were often vigorous political disagreements, but they were never ugly political disagreements.

Looking back, what I realized is that the people participating in those discussions had a relatively similar vision for America: they wanted a clean, prosperous, nationally secure America with a strong middle and working class, and with Americans measured by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, their sex, or their sexual preferences.  The political discussions were about the best way to achieve those goals rather than about the goals themselves.

Things are different now, and it matters politically.  When Trump coined the phrase MAGA, he was harkening back to that shared vision of a worthy America that had institutions that sought to strengthen both the country itself and the individuals within the country.  Now, though, thanks to a generation of young people raised on Howard Zinn's openly communist, anti-American A People's History of the United States, not to mention the Critical Race Theory, DEI theory, and LGBTQ+++ theory that permeate education all the way down to the toddler years, we've raised several generations of people (many in corporate America) who believe that America is a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, colonialist, scarily Christian abortion of a nation.

It turns out that there is a very specific Progressive political subclass that uses the useful idiots as its foot soldiers but that actually has an even more nihilistic view of our country.  As Michael Anton points out in his superb "They Can't Let Him Back In," this political class hates America just as ferociously as the young leftists do.  But unlike the young ones, who hate the idea of America in a sort of generic way, these political types hate you, the MAGA American, with specificity and a burning desire to destroy you.

Image: Trump "in the way" meme.  Creator unknown.

Anton explains that, up until a very short time ago, Trump's ideas were mainstream American ideas (hence the MAGA slogan).  If you ignore Trump's personal style, he was advocating the all-American normalcy that kept the old dinner parties civilized.  It's that normalcy that currently outrages the political class, both Democrats and Republicans.

So what is the political class's view, and who is its enemy?  Or as Anton asks, given Trump's normalcy, why does the political class live to destroy him?

I think it's because, while Trump's core MAGA agenda is decidedly not outside the historic bipartisan mainstream, it is well outside the present regime's core interests. Our rulers' wealth and power rise with open borders, trade giveaways, and endless war. Trump, at least in principle, and often in practice, threatens all three. The old America — the one in which Republicans cared about the heartland and weren't solely valets to corporate power, Democrats were pro-worker and anti-war, and Bill Clinton and The New York Times could advocate border security — is in the process of being replaced, if it hasn't already been, by one in which there is only one acceptable opinion on not just these, but all other issues.

"Our rulers' wealth and power rise with open borders, trade giveaways, and endless war."

Anti-Trump hysteria is in the final analysis not about Trump. The regime can't allow Trump to be president not because of who he is (although that grates), but because of who his followers are. That class — Angelo Codevilla's "country class" — must not be allowed representation by candidates who might implement their preferences, which also, and above all, must not be allowed. The rubes have no legitimate standing to affect the outcome of any political process, because of who they are, but mostly because of what they want.

Anton doesn't stop there.  He has a long, chilling analysis of the specific tactics the political class will use to keep Trump out of the White House.  We've already seen the impeachments and the Soviet-style January 6 committee (as well as congressional Republicans' silence about the committee).  Merrick Garland is openly running up the flagpole the idea of indicting Trump for daring to disagree with the election results.

What Anton says is scary, but it's also important that we think about it.  You cannot counter an opponent's tactics if you refuse to recognize either the tactics or the goals that drive it.

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