Donald Trump is going to spend the next two months taking a crash course in how to be President. Let’s hope he studies his Cliff Notes carefully. He’s going to need them.
The headline on the front page of the New York Times reads: Establishment Shaken by Trump Victory. The Times headline suggests that elites still haven’t quite caught on to the joke. Shaking up up the establishment is precisely what the voters wanted to do.
The manner in which the 2016 campaign was conducted stands as an indictment of political and media elites. The Republican Party establishment stood by helplessly as Donald J. Trump, a lifelong Democrat, violated long standing political norms and launched a withering assault on Republican orthodoxy before going on to capture the nomination of that very same Party. For its part, a thoroughly corrupt Democratic Party establishment stacked the deck to ensure that Hillary Clinton would secure its Presidential nomination even though she was under criminal investigation. For all we know, she still was when the votes were cast on November 8, and still might be today.
Add to this the fact that media elites ignored or downplayed Hillary Clinton’s long list of policy failures, mounting evidence of her corruption and that of the Clinton Foundation, and the damage the Clintons rained down on important American governing institutions. For its part, Fox News spent the better part of the year running infomercials for the Trump campaign with Sean Hannity acting as head cheerleader.
By the time the organs of the elite media finally got around to launching their predictable and brutal assault on Trump, after having conveniently waited until he had secured the Republican nomination, it didn’t matter. The public had already tuned them out. Quite simply, the public no longer trusts conventional news outlets to report the news even handedly. And they shouldn’t. Moreover, the culture has become so coarse, politics so infantile, and deviancy defined down so low, that it provides a wall of protection around aberrant behavior, which is precisely the opposite of what the culture is supposed to do.
The net of it is that elites went down market, checked their privilege and abandoned the idea of stewardship. Into the vacuum that remained rode Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, perfect exemplars of our trashy pop culture. It permits Trump to boast that he could shoot someone on Park Avenue and not lose support. It allows Hillary Clinton to stare into the camera and repeatedly lie, wink and invite her supporters to participate in her lies.
In the end the American people were presented with a choice between a fool and a knave. They decided to take a chance. They chose the fool.