04-20-2016, 12:03 PM
A candidate like Donald Trump should be impossible. A loud, unscripted, hard-edged reality show-style candidate with exceedingly flexible positions on many hot-button issues would be laughed out of contention for the Republican nomination in other years. A man whose serial gaffes and willingness to stick his thumb in the eye of the gatekeepers of good taste would be cooked before he stepped onto the debate stage. An utterly inexperienced politician, who describes our rights and privileges as particular to us as Americans rather than universal moral mandates, would be rejected by both parties at any other time in the modern era.
But in Trump’s case, these supposedly disqualifying positions and attributes have proven to be the basis for unexpected success. Why? In part, it is because he corrects massive ideological failures by the Right, which have enabled unmitigated cultural overreach by the Left, eliminating the social and cultural basis that permits a Western liberal order to exist.
For decades, the institutional Right has ceded American culture to the Left, in spite of many voices who pointed out ample areas where the Right could carve out a countercultural movement against leftist domination, or even co-opt some of modern culture for itself.
The cause of this is partially a denial of how swiftly the culture has moved Left, leaving the institutional Right under the false impression it is still fighting the culture war of the 90’s and early 2000s. The Right’s obsession with 90’s-era battles over sex, drugs, and rock and roll is more than just an anachronism: it represents a self-inflicted wound that ignored how the Left used the culture to repeatedly make the case for their vision of an ideal society. We now know the Left won that war, and in this context, Trump represents the first candidate for whom success could only come after a culture war apocalypse.
The Right of the ‘Young Fogies’