David Brooks is one of those people I simultaneously enjoy very much, and dislike myself for liking.
He’s a “conservative” in the northeastern sense of the term – and very, very much of the Northeastern media/political establishment. He’s the “conservative” that NPR will talk with.
And being of the establishment, he shares a perspective on the events of the day with the people he rubs elbows with.
Which, I theorize, led to this tweet last week:
There’s something to that, sort of. Trump isn’t just a symptom of this nation’s tribalism – he’s someone who’s profited politically by exploiting the tribalism.
But if you think the “decline in discourse” started with Trump’s election, I’ve got tickets to the Hillary Clinton inaugural ball to sell you.
Remember the Tea Party? The utterly egalitarian community of small-government activists that sprang up a little over ten years ago?
Back in those days before Orange Man was Literally Hitler (but after the Good Republican, John McCain, served as Literally Hitler for a few months), the establishment of which Brooks is a member acted like the Tea Party was Andrew Jackson’s supporters tracking mud into John Quincy Adams’s White House. Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign was only deked out of being “the most identity-obsessed campaign in history” by Hillary, who will only be eclipsed by (NOTE TO 2020 MITCH – FILL IN THE NAME OF THE DEMOCRAT NOMINEE).
Trump may well be “stupid” – but he didn’t “make” anyone that way. He masterfully exploited the by-products of the “stupidity – tribalism, anger, arrogance, partisanship – that the Democrats have been cultivating for a couple of decades, now.