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July 2, 2017

FLASHBACK: New status anxiety fuels Trump derangement.

Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

Maybe we shouldn’t “ostracize” people based on whether their candidate wins, but in a way this professor was right: A Trump victory is a blow to the status of the people who thought Hillary Clinton was their candidate — one that they feel even more deeply because gentry liberals, having been raised on the principle that the personal is political, seem to take politics pretty personally.

Related: Trump Is Playing With The Press.

Knowing how much they hate him, he’s constantly provoking them to go over the top. Sean Spicer’s crowd-size remarks on Saturday were all about making them seem petty and negative. (And, possibly, teeing up crowd size comparisons at this Friday’s March For Life, which the press normally ignores but which Trump will probably force them to cover).

Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait.

They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control.

And they still haven’t learned.

Plus: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump. “When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.’ Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.”