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Tom Nichols @RadioFreeTom
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
A more serious answer. I think what's happening is that elites like Carlson and VD Hanson, having traded in their intellectual bona fides for Trumpism, now have to pander to Rube Nation because they're left with no other constituency. This is the crackup of the right. /1
Trump forced a decision in 2016: do you go all-in on that "Flight 93" bullshit, or do you continue to be an actual *conservative*? I think people like Hanson and others went all in, thinking it wouldn't be so bad and the stench would be tolerable. They were, of course, wrong. /2
So they pretended to like what they were doing. They figured that after Trump was elected, bygones were bygones and the right would reunite, and they'd be shown to be right for going to the wall to stop Hillary. They figured Trump would calm down and adults would run things. /3
And then two things happened. First, the Never Trumpers didn't come home. Yes, we got smaller as some of the folks lost their nerve in 2017 and 2018. But we're still here and serving as an infuriating reproach to people who sold their political souls at bargain-basement rates. /4
The other thing that happened is that Trump proved to be every bit as bad as we warned he would be. And for the pro-Trump intellectuals, who had doubled down over and over in the vain hope he would recover, this was more humiliating than anything we Never Trumpers could say. /5
So they were left with a choice: Admit they were wrong, or form a new coalition with Rube Nation. Not, mind you, with reluctant Trump voters, but with the full-throated MAGA hats, the last group that wouldn't know how wrong they were or how much they betrayed their own values. /6
So now you have a new alignment on the right: Elite professors and heirs like Hanson and Carlson, trying to find a new home among people who were never part of their intended audience. It's even weirder and less natural than the NeverTrump/liberal coalition. /7
And the people they hate more than anyone are people like Wilson or Rubin or Sykes, who didn't sell out, constant thorns in what's left of their consciences. They hate those guys more than they hate Hillary Clinton. /8
And the more the Trump ship founders, the worse they're going to get. They know the mob will want to blame someone. They know what happened to the Jacobins. They're gonna start droppin' their Gs and showin' their common touch, in hopes that they make it through Thermidor. /9
In 1980, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that the GOP was now "the party of ideas." That's over. When it came time to shout back at the mob, too many conservative intellectuals lost their nerve and signed on for what they thought was a survivable detour. They were wrong. /10
The rest, from this point on, is pretty much just rationalization. I'm sorry that some really brilliant people I've been reading and respecting for years are people I can never take seriously again, but that's how the wheel turns. /11x
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