Revenge of the nihilists


I’ve seen a lot of talk about Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg’s BloombergBusinessweek story, “Inside the Trump Bunker.” Much of the attention has been focused on the campaign’s plan to shrink the electorate, not expand it:

Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.

But I was more struck by the overall thrust of the piece — that the Trump campaign is simply a launching pad to bring the insular hard-right (or alt-right) message to an ever-greater group of people.

GOP consultant Steve Schmidt nails the numbers:

“Trump will get 40 percent of the vote, and half that number at least will buy into his claim that the election was rigged and stolen from him,” says Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign chief and an outspoken Trump critic. “That is more than enough people to support a multibillion-dollar media business and a powerful presence in American politics.”

Now, it’s not like the forces the Trump campaign unleashed were going to be stuffed back into the places from which they came. The anger and hatred is out there, and now as a country we must deal with it. But I still find it frightening that such anger will be cultivated and even celebrated. How do you fix your house when there’s a group dancing around it with gasoline and matches?

I don’t have the answers. I’m not sure anybody does.


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