Reagan's president elect/ Fascist god in motion
• There are all kinds of things you can say about Trump's speech last night, and pundits are busy saying them. What I will say is that in terms of policy it was perfectly consonant with 50 years of American conservatism -- by which I mean, there was no policy, except to scare voters out of their wits and then offer to let Daddy take care of them. This has been the traditional appeal of even the more avuncular GOP candidates like Reagan, whose celebrated sunniness was only powerful in contrast to the dark Democratic dystopia he and his henchmen were constantly portraying as the only alternative to himself. If Trump is more frightening to some people than Reagan or any of the others, it's mainly because when he does this routine, he indulges very few of the fake pieties I talked about yesterday with which conservatives traditionally try to make their bait-and-switch look socially acceptable. That's his main innovation. But just because you're scared doesn't mean other people don't find it attractive. Just like Reagan, Trump has a sunny shtick -- those goofy faces he pulls, the snarl-smile with thumbs up, seem wolfish and creepy to me. But then I didn't buy what Reagan was selling either, and I bet a lot of whatever customers of his are still alive are voting for Trump.
What I'm saying is, make sure your passport's renewed.
• And be not deceived about the #NeverTrumps: Many of them are at least Trump-curious already. Jonah Goldberg, for example, still attacks Trump, but in the middle of it says
Many Republicans I’ve talked to find Trump’s willingness to outsource actual policymaking to Mike Pence or Paul Ryan reassuring. And in a sense, it is...This is a wussy way of saying, this Hitler's an intemperate fellow but at least he has the sense to delegate important work to von Ribbentrop, perhaps the Nazis can persuade me. Meanwhile at NeverTrump redoubt Erick Erickson's The Resurgent, Steve Berman says of Trump's speech. "It’s honestly the most terrific, finest, greatest speech I’ve read/heard in quite a while (and the crowd reacted very energetically)–and Trump was very well suited to give it. If the speech could run for president, it would win hands down." He does add, "Except there’s no bifurcating Trump from his speeches," and does the usual Trump-is-a-very-bad-man shtick, but finally says, "If the speech wins, and we get Trump along with it, at least it won’t be Hillary." Like I said, Trump is selling standard-issue conservatism with the mask off, and these conservatives, with whatever difficulty their social anxieties cause them in admitting it, are all hoping he'll win.
If Trump could be trusted to simply play a ceremonial role, serving as a kind of corporate motivational speaker for the country, I might board the Trump train. But can anyone say with confidence that Trump has the discipline to do anything of the sort?