Blogger Jonathan Chait: As the GOP Keeps Moving to the Right, Its Leaders Become Increasingly ‘Simplistic’

If you’re a conservative brainiac, contends New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, something’s been nagging at you, especially since Donald Trump started riding high in the polls: the realization that so many of your fellow right-wingers are dumb.

“The conservative movement’s tightening grip over the Republican Party has coincided with its elevation of leaders incapable of explaining their policies cogently,” argued Chait in a Sunday post. “Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin all drew the disdain of liberal elites for their reliance on simplistic aphorisms and poor grasp of detail, humiliating conservative intellectuals, who defended the keen minds of their heroes.” Chait added, “Whether or not Donald Trump the human being is intelligent, there’s no question that ‘Donald Trump,’ presidential candidate, is not. His entire campaign operates well below the level of rational thought.”

From Chait’s piece (bolding added):

Trump has…exposed [a] deep insecurity among right-wing intellectuals: the fear that their movement appeals to rubes. The conservative movement’s tightening grip over the Republican Party has coincided with its elevation of leaders incapable of explaining their policies cogently. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin all drew the disdain of liberal elites for their reliance on simplistic aphorisms and poor grasp of detail, humiliating conservative intellectuals, who defended the keen minds of their heroes. Whether or not Donald Trump the human being is intelligent, there’s no question that “Donald Trump,” presidential candidate, is not. His entire campaign operates well below the level of rational thought — it’s all boasting, absurd promises, repetitive sloganeering, and abuse. Just as email scammers intentionally salt their messages with typos in order to weed out anyone educated enough to see through their swindle, allowing them to focus on the most gullible, Trump seems to consciously repel anyone possessed of a brain…

The secret fear lying beneath [Marco] Rubio’s accurate depiction of Trump as a “con artist” is that Republican voters are easy marks. The Republican Party is constructed as a machine: Into one end are fed the atavistic fears of the white working class as grist, and out the other end pops The Wall Street Journal editorial-page agenda as the finished product. Trump has shown movement conservatives how terrifyingly rickety that machine is and how easily it can be seized from them by a demagogue and repurposed toward some other goal.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters