Something rather extraordinary has occurred. Donald Trump’s campaign – his parade of horribles, his race to the bottom – is so disgusting that it is offending even the sensibilities of the nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich.
That ain’t easy.
Each of them has been fawning in their support of Mr. Trump – for Savage, Trump is “the Winston Churchill of our time”; for Coulter, Trump’s rise is like Joseph in the Bible; for Gingrich, Trump “has the energy, the drive, the nerve to insist we rethink everything from the ground up” — but Trump’s attacks on Heidi Cruz, in particular, has apparently left them puzzled and upset. (“Our candidate is mental,” Ms. Coulter confesses. “It’s like constantly having to bail out your 16-year-old son from prison.”)
Of course, why they are surprised and put off by what Mr. Trump is doing is a rather curious thing. It’s not as if this is news to anyone. Allahpundit, the anonymous blogger for HotAir.com, has an incisive piece on this.
Asking Donald Trump not to attack and demean people is like asking a scorpion not to sting. It’s what a scorpion does. Degrading other human beings – women, the physically handicapped, POWs, Mexicans, his competitors (he compared Ben Carson to a child molester), et cetera — is what Mr. Trump does. It’s who he is. He revels in dehumanizing others. This should have been clear to anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to him for any length of time.
Mr. Trump won’t be domesticated – the long-awaited “pivot” to being “presidential” isn’t going to happen — so to listen to Gingrich plead with Trump to act like someone other than Trump is slightly baffling. So is the notion that the negative reaction to his attacks on Mrs. Cruz will act as a “wake-up call” for Trump to “rethink some of the underlying patterns of his campaign.” And for Gingrich to be shocked – shocked! – that Trump got down “into this mud” rather than took that opportunity to signal that he’s “disciplined,” “pleasant” and a “gentleman” is slightly preposterous.
In his New York Times column and in a marvelous, wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose, David Brooks speaks about the “revolution in manners” ushered in by Trump. “He has revolutionized the manners of how you run for president,” according to Brooks. “He took the style of professional wrestling, and he took it to politics.” Trump has offered us “a different and uglier form of masculinity.”
This revolution in manners is poisoning our culture. Mr. Trump is doing to our political and civic ecosystem what legend says the Romans did after the destruction of Carthage – sowing salt into the soil so nothing could grow after the conquest.
That more people don’t see this – or worse, that so many people have seen it and yet have been indifferent to it or even delighted in it – is one of the more depressing things in this ghastly political year.