This Is Not Why Trump Won…

“Trump! How did this happen?” asks Brendan O’Neill. Well, he doesn’t ask it. He already knows the answer. There is a cottage industry of commentators telling us why Trump won and invariably their answers accord with their politics. Bret Stephens, for example, a by-the-numbers neocon who writes opinion columns for the Wall Street Journal, claims the commutation of the sentence of a whistleblower explains why Trump won. What a marvellous game! Everything that one dislikes can be why Trump won! Man buns? Why Trump won. Bad Wi-Fi connections? Why Trump won. My failure to be rich? You’d best believe that’s why Trump won.

For O’Neill, of course, it was liberals not being liberal enough. That, in O’Neilliand, is the problem with everything. As usual, he is comically superficial. The grievances that are not assimilable into his “you progressives are regressive” narrative are excluded. So, he has no space for unemployment, underemployment, taxes, terrorism, crime and foreign affairs, yet he mentions the banning of super-size sodas and hate speech laws on university campuses. Yes, I bet poor white folk rotting in the Rust Belt were outraged about SJWs in the Ivy Leagues – and their insufficiently sized cups of coca-cola must have really tipped the balance.

O’Neill, who struggles to align his populist pretensions with his libertarian ideals, does say people were “unsure about immigration”. Unsure? Mr O’Neill, they were sure. They were sure there was too much of it. I have more respect for leftist condemnations of Trump voters as unreconstructed bigots than this euphemistic dilly-dallying around the issues. At least they are honest.

O’Neill is always pretending that he speaks for the people, but, as this proves, he has no more connection with them than the liberal elitists he so boringly decries. (If he is so in touch with the masses, I will add, why is Wayne Rooney his prime example of a beloved footballer? God bless Rooney but he is no national treasure.) He might be a charming, loyal and funny man in person, and this is the last I’ll write on him for fear of being dull myself, but his opportunism, monomania and frivolousness illustrate the worst tendencies of the modern “right wing” commentariat.

About bsixsmith

I am a writer of stories and poems - published by Every Day Fiction, The London Journal of Fiction, 365 Tomorrows and Det Poetiske Bureau - and a columnist for Quillette, Areo and Bombs & Dollars.
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4 Responses to This Is Not Why Trump Won…

  1. Simon says:

    It’s pretty odd that people with idiosyncratic worldviews and as trollish a presentation as Brendan O’Neill and the entire Living Marxism/Spiked Online set have become so influential in the UK political media as they have.


  2. Mook says:

    Yeah, he overplayed it but I think the SJW thing was a factor. BLM was more significant.
    I reread Russell’s Superior Virtue of the Oppressed a few months back. It’s interesting to imagine what he may have produced if ‘Oppressed’ were replaced with ‘pseudo oppressed’, ‘faux outraged’, ‘perpetually offended’ or ‘professional victims’.
    My eldest boy’s at university and shares a house with five others…not markedly laddish or whatever the phrase is. At virtually any point over the past 50 years or so they could be counted on as solid labour given their age and general background/ outlook. They get a few cans in every Thursday and have a YouTube ‘SJW Fails’ binge session. A combination of Corbyn, Trump and Identity Politics have left them as political nihilists. It’s sad and worrying. Three assured me they’d have voted Trump for the bantz. To be fair, at their age, what they’ve seen of politics is pure farce on an international, national and local level. Their NUS welfare officer is a transfer activist who wants to ‘intellectually arm the proletariat’. You can hardly blame them.


    • bsixsmith says:

      It wasn’t nothing, no. Milo has more than a few fans. But PC, which was more influential, is bigger than SJWs. Its influence on cultural policies, like immigration policies, was doubtless significant.


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