January 18, 2024

In Brief: Against Trumpist Snowflakery

Rebutting John Daniel Davidson’s analysis of “Why DeSantis Failed in Iowa.”

Yesterday, we excerpted an article from political analyst John Daniel Davidson on “Why DeSantis Failed in Iowa.” His essential point was that “DeSantis didn’t need to attack Trump to make his case for the GOP nomination,” which he says Trump supporters take as “an indictment of them and their judgment.”

Another political analyst, Charles C.W. Cooke, is having none of it.

If this is true, it’s snowflakery — and snowflakery that would be identifiable as such in any other circumstance. Worse yet, it’s snowflakery that is only indulged in one direction. If you cannot listen to an objective criticism of a political figure you like without transmuting those criticisms into criticisms of yourself, you are pathetic. If you cannot listen to an objective criticism of a political figure you like without transmuting those criticisms into criticisms of yourself, but you only apply this rule to yourself, then you’re a hypocrite.

With his usual brevity and incisive wit, Cooke argues:

The only rule of Trumpism is that the rules must benefit Trump at all times. Under this arrangement, attacks on Trump ought to be construed as attacks on all Republicans, but attacks on DeSantis are just politics — even when those attacks included the charge that DeSantis is a pedophile, featured brazen lies about his record as governor, and involved the all-out disparagement of his state. Under this arrangement, it was incumbent on DeSantis to focus on the “real villain” — “the Democrat machine” — but it was not incumbent on Trump to do the same. “Ever since he announced his candidacy,” Davidson writes, “DeSantis has been obsessed with taking on Trump.” Which … yeah? As opposed to what? Trump was the frontrunner, and DeSantis was running against him in a primary. If the only options available to Trump’s political critics are silence or sycophancy, then there can be no such thing as a critic of Trump. It is telling that the paragon of correct anti-Trumpism whom Davidson provides is Vivek Ramaswamy, who got 8 percent in Iowa, was polling at 4 percent nationally, and ended up endorsing Trump at the first hurdle. With rivals like that, who needs friends?

Cooke concludes by likening the offended Trump fans to “those brittle identitarian college students who interpret every quotidian disagreement as an attack on their dignity, judgment, or very right to exist.”

Cooke, of course, holds an intense dislike for Trump, but this debate is illustrative of the disagreements on the Right since, oh, about summer of 2015.

Read the whole thing here.

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