Thursday, February 28, 2019

So What Else Is New?

“He is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat,” President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen said of the president. “I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore,” Cohen said, stating the obvious, so to speak.

Obvious, indeed! Other than the inherently up-close and personal dimension that comes with the territory when someone has been for years a close associate of the person he is denouncing, what substantively new revelations have we learned that we did not know already? If, as Cohen claims, "racist ... con man ... cheat" is a reasonable assessment of the president's character, who did not know that already before the last election? 

More to the point, how many Trump voters would have been surprised by what Cohen had to say? In our politically polarized society, politics had become simply another expression of our increasingly unbridgeable cultural divide(s). Politics has increasingly become more and more about hating the other than about anything else. The point is not how many Trump voters may have voted for him because of his admirable moral character and now are suddenly going to reconsider their allegiance because of new revelations (which largely conform what was always already known anyway). The point is rather how many voted for Trump primarily out of hatred for the other side, whether that other side is understood by them primarily as privileged uncaring elites or as immigrants or other historically marginalized groups, or de facto an alliance of privileged uncaring elites with those other historically marginalized groups.

It may be politically possible for a certain sort of economic populism to bridge that ever growing divide that has been created by the malevolent miasma of cultural populism. Whether that will in fact happen very much remains to be seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment