The Anatomy of Trumpophobia

Bruce Thornton nails all the idiot NeverTrumpers in this excellent article about “Trumpophobia”:

Why NeverTrumpers should reflect on what makes Trump attractive to voters.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Mitt Romney launched a gratuitous attack on Donald Trump. Like his earlier criticisms, there’s not much of substance in this latest complaint, just recycled bromides typical of NeverTrumpRepublicans’ (NTR) obsession with style, optics, and “character.” As such, however, Romney’s screed is useful for analyzing the disgruntled elitism that explains not just Trumpophobia, but also the reasons for establishment Republicans’ alienation of millions of voters whose natural political home should be the Republican Party.

Romney begins with the by now stale assessment that Trump, despite his numerous achievements, “has not risen to the mantle of the office,” implying some recognized standard of “acting presidential” that Trump has failed to meet. But throughout our history, the definitions of such standards depend on what cohort of America’s electorate you talk to. Andrew Jackson certainly wasn’t “presidential” according to his predecessor John Quincy Adams. He skedaddled from DC to avoid Jackson’s inaugural festivities, when the White House was thrown open to ordinary citizens, including Jackson’s frontier and backwoods constituencies––“KING MOB,” according to Chief Justice Joseph Story–– who made “disgraceful scenes in the parlors,” as one journalist reported.

Second, these appeals to more recent ideas of presidential decorum imply that compared to previous presidents, Trump’s behavior is singularly reprehensible. But is Trump’s vulgar and braggadocios rhetoric more disqualifying than JFK’s or Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual escapades in the White House? Or LBJ’s barnyard epithets, racial slurs, duets with his dog Yuki, or penchant for rubbing himself against women? What’s “presidential” about Barack Obama fêting foul-mouthed, misogynist rappers at the White House? Or taking an interview with an internet carnival act who sat in a bath tub full of milk and Fruit Loops? Or using a sexual vulgarity to describe the Tea Party? Where were the NTRs and their lofty standards back then?

Read more: Front Page Mag

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