They both make similar arguments and similar points.
Something deeper, I believe, is rumbling behind the astounding support for Mr. Trump, a man who, apart from his large but less than pure business success, appears otherwise entirely without qualification for the presidency. I had a hint of what might be behind the support for him a few weeks ago when, on one of the major network news shows, I watched a reporter ask a woman at a Trump rally why she was supporting him. A thoroughly respectable-seeming middle-class woman, she replied without hesitation: “I want my country back.”
The uncomfortable truth for the political class is that in so far as Trump exploits hatred, the principal object of that hatred is not Hispanics, Muslims, women or homosexuals. The hate is aimed squarely at the political class itself. The anger welling up around their ankles is the product of exasperation towards politically correct, morally arrogant, know-it-all, condescending urban sophisticates—people in other words just like themselves.
Yes – I understand the points being made. Many people don’t think that many social and technological changes that have occurred in the past few decades are for the better. Yet I’m hard pressed to nominate changes that are unambiguously bad. To be sure at many margins the progressive left have over-reached. Yet there is push-back; perhaps not as quick or as comprehensive as some would like, but push-back nonetheless.
The fact is that Trump (and his Australian equivalents) are barbarians. They do not hold our institutions dear – they wish to use the powers these institutions hold in check to impose their views on the rest of us. In this sense they are little different from many on the progressive left (including nanny staters) who simply have a different delusion they wish to impose.
As satisfying as it is, hatred cannot be the basis of a political philosophy consistent with liberal democracy and the enlightenment.
So while I don’t disagree with Cater and Epstein’s overall prescriptions I do think they are over-analysing the problem. People may think that “They want their country back” and that this isn’t really about “Hispanics, Muslims, women or homosexuals”. But it is. For all the talk about insiders and outsiders and elites and what-have-you (that I think is more or less correct) the fact is Trump himself has focused his hate messages on “Hispanics, Muslims, women or homosexuals”.
One important difference between insider-politicians and outsiders is that insiders don’t always mean what they say. I have no doubt the Trump does mean what he says.