Backlash

By David Michael Newstead.

I plan on writing more blog posts about the presidential election, but it’s still so far off. In the meantime though, I was struck by a comment I heard on Meet the Press recently. On August 30th, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt discussed his view of the primaries and it echoed several books I’ve read in the last year. Authors like Hanna Rosin, Michael Kimmel, and Maureen Dowd have all tried to assess masculinity in modern America through their research. Some of their conclusions weren’t popular at the time, but Republican Steve Schmidt offers a very similar perspective. Below, I include his comments from Meet the Press on August 30, 2015.

Steve Schmidt: Well, the Trump strength inside the Republican primary is an expression of the complete and absolute and utter contempt of Republican voters towards the political establishment of the Republican Party and the political leadership of the country. And increasingly what you see also is now a severability between issues and conservatism. And conservatism is now defined increasingly with huge sections of the Republican electorate as rhetoric, emotion. And the more incendiary the rhetoric, the more conservative you are. And the test of true conservatism is fidelity to the person that has the most incendiary rhetoric. And so, at a time of great cultural transition, change in the country, economic dislocation with globalization, with a blue collar, non-college-educated, working class base that hasn’t seen real wage growth in 30 years, here’s the backlash, here’s the Trump candidacy. And every day, this message of American nationalism, “We were once great, we no longer are–“

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