Which wall is it, by the way, that you want torn down?

trump protest sign

There is something so perfect about this sign, so exact, so preciously inane, so rhetorically empty yet jargon-filled that it deserves to be memorialised as almost the perfect caricature of the left. From the anti-Trump rally held in California today, by illegal migrants protesting on behalf of their assumed right to illegally migrate into the United States. But whatever they know or don’t know, however American they are or are not, they have the idiom down to its vacuous perfection.

At the other extreme, we find this from the pages of The New York Times. Trump and the Madness of Crowds. It never seems to occur to him that each of the people who end up at a Trump rally has done so deliberately with conscious intention while on their own, at their home or wherever they were before setting out to hear a political leader. And it is not they who are the mob. Each is an individual in their own right coming to listen to a political speech. The question that dominates is why do people keep voting for him when – don’t they know – he can never win the election in the fall?

Since last fall Republican voters have consistently told pollsters that they think Trump is the candidate most likely to win in November. So the party’s voters are choosing electability — as they see it — over ideology; they’re just in the grip of a strong delusion about Trump’s actual chances against Hillary Clinton.

The reason for this delusion might be the key unresolved question of Trump’s strange ascent.

Nothing to do with policy. Nothing to do with stopping a rot that many of had thought was unstoppable. Nothing to do with trying to save the United States in the form that these voters had once known. Not that at all. Trump is only popular because these voters think he is more likely to win than any other candidate. There may be a madness of crowds, but there is another version that besets political writers when they sit by themselves writing columns for other like-minded people to read.

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