A Modest Disposal

I think people on all sides of the political divide are expecting big things from the incoming Trump administration.  Some of us are looking forward to lower taxes, a less burdensome regulatory environment, the enforcement of the country’s immigration laws, the harnessing of all the country’s energy resources in the service of a pro-growth agenda, a pro-American foreign policy and upgraded military to back it up, and the appointment of judges and Supreme Court justices who understand that their primary task is to interpret the law in light of the Constitution, not to use the court to reshape society.

It’s difficult to say what the other side is looking forward to.  The difficulty comes from the incredible nature of what they say about the prospect of a Trump presidency.  By “incredible,” I mean “not believable.”  Does David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, really believe (as he wrote in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s victory) that “the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism”?

Does he really believe that the fact that his candidate did not win in a free, open, democratic election is “a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy”?  On November 9, Mr. Remnick wrote that “Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted.”  Has he looked at the stock market recently? On November 1, the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage closed at 18,037. Friday, January 13, it closed at 19,885. 19,885 - 18,037 = 1,848. So, the market gained almost 2000 points in two and a half months. How do you define “tumble”?

But what about Trump “strik[ing] fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted”?  (“[T]he many other variety of Other”? Alas, yes. And in The New Yorker.)

I suspect that Mr. Remnick’s overheated verbiage is just calculated hyperbole. I suspect, that is to say, that he doesn’t believe a word of it. He doesn’t like Donald Trump. He wanted the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, the Guardian of Benghazi, the Friend of the Syrians, and the Keeper of State Secrets to win. I understand that.  But where does all that “striking fear” into the hearts of people come from? I believe it’s fabricated, make-pretend melodrama.

It’s a popular entertainment, though, especially on college campuses, where cheap melodrama can usually be indulged in without consequence and chalked up as a “learning experience.” (“That will be $300,000, please.”)  Like many other commentators from the knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal precincts of humanity, I have had some jolly fun at the expense of our overbred campus snowflakes.