TRiUMPh

To get a sense of how momentous was the decision of the U.S. electorate on November 8th, consider what an obvious misread it would be to observe that, after eight years with a Democrat in the White House, we’ve again elected a Republican president. To put Donald Trump alongside the Bushes in the category of “modern Republican leaders” would be an absurdity.

Politically, the election of Donald Trump is a reversal of three decades worth, at least, of precedent. Culturally, it’s an even greater upheaval, and while the political ramifications are more immediate and evident, the cultural implications of Trump’s victory offer us the best instructions for parlaying the successes of 2016 into even greater triumphs in the years to come. Our opportunity is amplified by the Left’s apparent inability to recognize, or refusal to internalize, the rapid dissipation of the old paradigm. But we can’t exploit this misstep unless we ourselves correctly assess what Trump does represent.

Politically, Donald Trump represents American nationalism. His entire campaign was a proof-of-concept of everything Patrick Buchanan was trying to convince the Republican party of in his presidential campaign of 1992. The GOP was on the verge of becoming a regional party before Trump rescued it, and it will rediscover all its pre-Trump woes if it ever again abandons Trump’s America First credo.

For that reason it’s vitally important that the nationalist base of the Republican party continue to insist that the party be purged of the parasitic elements of its elite. In this, Trump has illuminated our path for us. I said before the election that even before any votes were cast, Donald Trump had already achieved two important victories for us, one of which was the goading of the enemies within our own ranks into dropping their masks. All that remains is for us to act on this information. Here in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker couldn’t wait to advertise that he’d left the top of his ballot blank this year. I look forward to following his lead, and leaving the top of the ballot blank when Governor Baker runs for reelection in 2018. Now, obviously, I don’t really mean this; that’d be stupid. I’ll vote for whoever his opponent is.

I know this is a tough sell for many of the people reading this. Most of us are more like Danny than Robert in our attitudes towards traitors. But expelling turncoat Republicans from office by replacing them with actual Democrats is really only a minor change, policy-wise, and is well worth doing to cultivate a healthy respect for the party’s base among its elites.

The second victory that Trump achieved for us long before he even won the election was much broader, and more generally cultural than political: He taught us that the Left’s constant pretensions to moral outrage can be safely ignored at least and efficaciously ridiculed at best.

Perhaps in no way has the Establishment’s insensitivity to this paradigm shift been more evident than in their reaction to their own electoral defeat. For a good example of this, this clip of WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti ineffectually berating a normal Trump voter about “White Nationalism” is worth listening to. I was fortunate enough to meet the interviewee, Dianna Ploss, in the course of my campaign for the Massachusetts State Senate. She’s just as patient and gracious in real life as she comes across in the interview. That the Left’s first impulse in encountering someone like Dianna is to interrogate her about fringe racists is immensely encouraging.

Firstly because guilt-by-association is a pitifully weak line of attack. If it didn’t work with Jeremiah Wright, whose “church” Barack Obama spent 20 years attending, then it won’t work with Jared Taylor, who Donald Trump has probably never heard of. Secondly because the Left has so grievously overplayed implications of racism as a political tactic.

Yet albeit to a now thoroughly desensitized audience, crying “wolf” remains the Lügenpresse’s primary attention-getting technique, and even as the loss of their customer base becomes precipitous, we see the legacy media going all-in on this White Nationalism thing.

I’m sure that Richard Spencer and the handful of other honest-to-goodness White nationalists out there are happy for the attention to their cause. Indeed a clip of Spencer himself giddily LARPing as a Nazi was widely circulated. I don’t know whether it’s true, as asserted, that Spencer was the first person to use the term “alt-right,” but what’s most important for us to understand is that it doesn’t matter; the alt-right as a group were just the more effective successors to the “paleoconservatives” of yesteryear. The term itself is completely disposable, and, in focusing on demonizing it, the Left are fighting last year’s war. The alt-right is just “the right” now. We won.

Ironically, like most of his voters, Donald Trump himself was probably never even paying attention to the whole “alternative-right vs. establishment-right” battle. Trump didn’t really set out to be the champion of the alt-right, nor even really the enemy of the establishment. I’m sure he’d have welcomed the support of people like Ben Sasse, Charlie Baker, Kelly Ayotte, even Mitt Romney. They fired the first shots at him, some of them after recognizing him as a threat to their fiefdoms and some after ineptly believing the establishment’s frantic miscues. The alt-right, meanwhile, simply formed ranks around an enemy of their enemies.

In spite of this, the establishment have hung their hats on the idea that Donald Trump is the willing avatar of the most outré elements of the amorphous alt-right. That they’re coalescing as a unified front on this point comes through sort of a perfect storm of conditions: some are simply miscalculating, some are true believers, and some just literally don’t know any other tricks.

Don’t be mistaken: The way that we react to the Left’s histrionics is now and always was the primary matter. They have always staged their theatrics specifically for us, for the reactions they get from us. That’s what this coordinated “White Nationalism” narrative is. Sure, it’s red meat for the excitable hand-wringers in the Left’s base, but the real target audience is weak-willed Republicans. The aim is to sow disunity, to scare us into attacking each other. They apparently still haven’t realized that Donald Trump has so devalued this tactic that their pearl-clutching now only encourages us. Nor do they seem to recognize how alienating their rhetoric is to normal people.

For many years now, and especially in Massachusetts where Republicans have been conditioned by decades of loserdom into something like the political version of battered wife syndrome, we’ve been sold the idea that political success means appealing to the winning combination of static voting demographics. The simplest and most common formulation of this lie is the proposition that the winning candidate will be the one who best appeals to “moderates,” as they’re the voting bloc with the least party loyalty. Knowing that they’ve internalized this premise makes it possible to understand how the geldings of the Republican establishment could so easily be spooked into seeking enemies on their right rather than on their left. Of course, this whole formulation is idiocy: Politics isn’t a triangulation game, but a persuasion game. The point isn’t to change ourselves to suit the electorate, but to change the electorate to suit ourselves. And self-confidence is way more persuasive than self-doubt.

For this reason it’s important that we never, ever apologize to the Left for anything. Even in a heavily cucked state like Massachusetts, if we project strength we will grow in popularity. For a good lesson in this, study the way the Trump team handles the Lügenpresse. In 2012 “will you promise you don’t want to ban contraceptives?” was a question that could send the GOP into a dither, drive a news cycle, and prelude a “war on women” narrative. In 2016 the similarly absurd “will you promise you don’t want to re-segregate the armed forces?” is a question that serves only to turn the questioner into an instant joke, ignored by the incoming administration and ruthlessly knifed by one of their media foot soldiers.

So how do we best take advantage of the situation we find ourselves in? Here’s my prescription for how every deplorable and irredeemable reading this can do their own part to press our advantages and keep us winning in the years to come:

Politically:

Never, under any circumstances, vote for anti-Trump Republicans. An enemy face-to-face with you is still less dangerous than an enemy at your back, and if we want to the Republican party to be attractive to outsiders we need it to be unified and confident, which means getting rid of back-stabbers.

If you want to, run for office. If you don’t want to do that, help someone who is running for office. But you must do one or the other. You don’t have to be someone special to do this. I ran for the State Senate this year and I’m a complete nobody, and had zero help from the party. I still managed to get a lot of attention, introduce some new ideas into the political discussion, and even push back publicly against our leftward cultural drift. If the political reality in Massachusetts is that we’re going to lose elections, we at least need to use the process to start attracting people to our side.

Culturally:

Never apologize for your views or attitudes. Remember that, no matter what they accuse you of, the Establishment is never in a position to lecture you. This is an important point to maintain perspective on. A “racist” is a misguided person who enjoys believing that their genes make them superior to those around them. A “transphobe” is likely to be simply someone who recognizes that it’s poor medicine for society to humor the delusions of the mentally ill. But a Leftist is someone who believes that it’s acceptable practice to murder a baby. It’s impossible for such a person to ever have the moral high ground on us, and our recognition of this should be something we project. Which leads me to:

Model a counter-culture. Don’t be afraid to transgress the mores of the cultural Left. In fact, doing so makes you more interesting and attractive. Remember that politics is downstream from culture, and if we’re going to win in Massachusetts we’re going to have to first change the cultural terrain on which we’re fighting, because right now that terrain heavily favors the Left. Don’t be afraid of being politically incorrect, and never let the Establishment bully you into changing the way you express yourself.

Finally: Have fun, and love everyone. This is so vital! One of the Left’s greatest weaknesses is their bitter humorlessness. Don’t let our mirthless enemies set the parameters for our engagement with them. Where they’re somber, we need to be silly. Where they’re indignant we need to be irreverent. And where they’re self-righteous we need to be satirical. No one is attracted to a stiff, a scold, or a schoolmarm. Everyone wants to have fun. If we want to win, we need to enjoy ourselves. And it can’t just be a projection, it has to be real. That’s where loving everyone comes in. Never lose patience with the people in the middle, or even the people on the left. When we remember to love everyone, when suffering fools gladly becomes natural to us, we can have fun even as a vastly outnumbered political minority, and people will want to be a part of our party.

Lastly, what I want to emphasize is that the Establishment’s tactical self-delusion can’t last forever. They’ll eventually begin to learn from their mistakes. Our goal as committed deplorables should be to stay as many steps ahead of them as we can without being alienatingly avant garde. Never assume cultural stasis; such a thing has never existed. Don’t just be a passive observer of the cultural changes happening around you either. Take a hand in shaping them. That’s how we win.

About Ted Busiek