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Trump Exploited The Republican Party

“We aren’t going to be talked down to by people who have ideas that fall on others and not themselves and their immediate circle.” Is Trump more similar to Reagan than establishment Republicans want you to think? Was Trump’s success amongst the “deplorables” due to his exploitation of the Republican party for moving to the center? Has mainstream culture conflated the true meaning of sexual harassment and assault? National Review columnist and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Victor Davis Hanson joins Dan and Amy to discuss.  

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Amy Jacobson: Alright, a fan of the show...I mean, a part of the show, really...Sean from Elmwood Park, today is his 50th birthday! Dan Proft: How...how do you even know that? Jacobson: Because he's a chicken...he texted me that, today's his birthday and I should give him a shout-out. Proft: Ahck, what a hack! That's pathetic! Jacobson: *laughs* No it's not! Proft: We're not taking any more calls from him. "Oh umm wish me a happy birthday, I'm 50 today!" Well, you're a 50-year old 12-year old! Jacobson: He wanted me to give him a radio kiss. *Muah* There's your radio kiss, Sean. Sean from Elmwood Park, 50 years old, wow. Proft: What a baby. Jacobson: Oh you know you love him. He's your good friend. What are you gonna get him for his birthday? Proft: Eh, maybe I'll pay my tab at his cigar house. Jacobson: *laughs* Proft: Okay...switching gears. Victor Davis Hanson has a new book out, "The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won", and as you know that is required reading because Victor Davis Hanson wrote it. You read his offerings at National Review, American Greatness, he's a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and also a historian, I mean he's a real academic. And we're pleased to be joined again by Victor Davis Hanson, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Victor Davis Hanson: Thank you for having me. Proft: So I wanted to start with your piece, speaking of AMGreatness.com, one of the outlets at which you post, "Nevermind Trumpism, what is Deplorablism?" Well, why don't you answer the question you posed? What is Deplorablism, and how does it differ from Trumpism? Hanson: Well you know, I couldn't find much difference between Reagan's agenda, even though it's 40 years in vintage, and the Trump agenda on taxes, energy production, foreign policy, deregulation...except for immigration, and maybe trade...but even in the situation of trade, Reagan hasn't, I mean Trump hasn't issued any tariffs, the way that Reagan issued a lot of them, so did George W. Bush. And then as well as principle realism which is part of Trumpism, principle realism is a throwback against conservatism, but it's more like Reagan's opposition to giving away the Panama Canal, or suspicions about detente. So my suggestion is that Deplorablism is mostly a state of mind, it's an anger at bi-coastal elites that don't follow the ramifications of their own ideology. And on the issues where it differs from doctrinaire Conservatism, it doesn't differ as much as the alternative vision of John McCain or Mitt Romney. Proft: So, 11 months in, just about, basically saying what we have here is stylistic differences of opinion, perhaps...if you're a conservative, and...personality differences, where Reagan was sort of this...well not sort of, he WAS this dignified, well-spoken, elderly statesman of sorts. And Trump is a reality TV star. Hanson: Yeah, I think that's a lot of it. And actually, I think on questions of immigration and foreign policy, and even trade, Trump may actually be closer to Reagan than would a President Romney or President McCain would have been. Because, again, Reagan was pretty tough on trade, and he did things, today that would be called protectionist. And on foreign policy, he was pretty tough as well. People forget that he ran in '68 and again in '76 before he was elected on the idea that we should never give back the Panama Canal. Proft: Well, right, and I'm just continuing this discussion of Reagan vs Trump. He also gave that famous "A Time for Choosing" speech at the '64 convention, and I wonder if part of it is stylistic but it's also this difference in approach to government, where...certainly by the time he won in 1980, seemed to have a much greater command and interest in policy detail, where Trump doesn't convey that, if he does. Hanson: Yeah, I think you're right about that. My point in the article was that the differences are personal, but they're not necessarily ideological, and this myth of the "Never Trump-ers" that Trump represents some kind of nativism or scary new nationalism, is not only really not true, but it's more of a return to the Reagan agenda, vis a vis where Republicanism had been going. I don't think it was very conservative to sort of tolerate sanctuary cities, or de-facto open borders as had happened during the Bush administration. And even nation building abroad and spreading democracy abroad was not a conservative belief. So I think part of our problem in the conservative movement is that people look at Trump and they do not like the messenger, necessarily. So then they say well, the message is dangerous and new. When really, the message is a return to doctrinaire conservative message than where they party was headed, if you look at what other people in the primary, those 16 other candidates had said on immigration. They were all basically okay with open borders and they were more engagement abroad, and missions of optional military intervention. And then they were freed that they prayed but not so interested in whether it was fair or not, at least from our point of view. Proft: So this was...Ross Douthat said that, recently, that the Democratic...that the American public is moving Left, and the Democratic party is moving Left FASTER, and that's a problem. It seems to me, kind of what you're saying is that the Republican party electorate may have been moving a LITTLE BIT towards the center, but the Republican party was moving to the center, or center-left, much faster, and that was the problem that, for them, the establishment that Trump exploited. Hanson: Yeah, I think that was it. And then psychologically, a lot of Deplorablism was people were getting very angry of voting for Republican candidates and then having the elite say oh you have to have open borders or you're a racist or a hateist (?) or a xenophobe, and the base was saying well wait a minute...the Bushes or the McCains or the Romneys, your kids don't go to our schools and you don't live in our neighborhoods, and you're not directly influenced by these. And your factories...when you get up, your political career, or your column, or your TV appearance, or your consulting business, is not undercut like my machinist job is by foreign trade. So, they were basically saying across the board, we don't like to be sanctimoniously lectured or talked down to by people who have ideas who fall on others but not themselves and their immediate circle. And that was a very powerful message. Jacobson: I want to ask you about conservative Roy Moore. Yesterday, President Trump came out...he wasn't ENDORSING him, but he was saying, you know, we need to have him in that Senate office as opposed to his Democratic challenger. How do you feel about Roy Moore, and if you lived in Alabama would you vote for him? Hanson: I don't know. I mean, I know that's a bad answer to you, but my problem with the whole discussion is that we don't get a serious adjudication of who these people are. We hear...one day I think, wow, he did this. The next day I read that the yearbook was a forgery, or one day I read that he was lurking around the malls and trying to prey on teenagers, next day there's no evidence for it. So, it's hard to know what to do. I'm not in Alabama, I don't know the guy, but I'm always a little suspicious when you bring a charge right on the eve of an election, after 40 years. The one that bothers me the most is the 14-year old. If there's doubt about that, because she was underage. If there was doubt about that, I wouldn't vote for him. Proft: Right. Well, what about the larger issue, just in a culture context? Melinda Gates has a piece in Time Magazine, about the world finally listening, and me too, me too, me too. You know, we're confronting at last the fact that by staying quiet, we protect an unequal, immoral status quo, and so on and so forth, almost like this is the new Suffragette movement. It seems to me, and yes you have some bad actors, quite a number of them...literally actors, quite a number of them, in Hollywood, in media and politics. But the idea that we're all learning something about keeping our hands to ourselves and interacting in a respectful way with members of the opposite sex...or the same sex...this is a DISCOVERY of 2017 America...seems to me, absurd. Hanson: I think so too. I think human nature surpasses or transcends all this. We've always known there's a difference between a guy being a jerk at a bar, and a guy using his position of power to sexually molest somebody. But we've conflated all that, and that's what happens with the Salem Witch Trials, or the Committee on Public Safety, and the French Revolution, or even the anti-Communist movement under McCarthy. Starts out well-meaning, and then people come out of the woodwork, and it becomes a mob frenzy. So, I think the real issue is, was somebody sexually assaulted, molested, against their will? Or was somebody given a sexual ultimatum that affected their career trajectory? And, another thing that's not being spoken, and somebody who has spent their life in academia and witnessed it is, there are a lot of people who willingly engage in sexual relationships with their superiors, and that's not fair to their other competitors. So, we don't say, where are all the women who came out and they initiated...not that they initiated or consented to a sexual relationship, and then benefitted from it, and what was the effect on other women who said you know what, I'm going to be more ethical and I don't want to get in there, and then they suffer for it. So there's dimensions of this whole...across the spectrum that we don't want to talk about, but it's really a human ordeal, and it's age-old, and it's happened throughout time and space between the sexes. But we're just...that's just too complicated a thought right now, and what people want to do right now is find NAMES. And remember the scandals predicated on how much celebrity the target has. It's not happening in every neighborhood in America, it probably happens just as frequently, it's predicated on who is the celebrity, and how powerful and how wealthy and how can they be leveraged, embarrassed, paid out...made to pay out? Jacobson: And I wasn't...yeah I'd heard of Harvey Weinstein, but I didn't know how powerful he really was. And you recently wrote an article about, his episode revealed the truth about the Hollywood culture. Hanson: Well, I think it probably does, but what I'm more worried even is all of the women who had that...knew that reputation of Harvey Weinstein, and when he invited them up, they said I wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near that person, because I know the trajectory and where all this is going to lead. And then they suffer a career...a career...I'd like to hear from all the women who knew what he was like, and cavorted with him, and were rewarded for it. Because it seems like the real victims were people who didn't want anything to do with him and were punished accordingly. But we're not getting that message out. I mean, there were a lot of people, prominent actresses, who never said a word, and haven't said a word right now, and yet their careers are embedded within his larger landscape. And I don't understand that, I mean, what are they telling us by their silence? They should come out and say "I knew what he was doing, he was around me, he did this, he promoted my career, I'm sorry, and there were a lot of people who did not put up with the knowledge of that, and they suffered." But we haven't heard that once. Proft: Yeah. He is Victor Davis Hanson, get his writings at National Review, AMGreatness.com, American Greatness, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The new book, "The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won", you want to pick that up. Great stocking stuffer, as we say. Victor Davis Hanson, thanks so much for joining us, Happy Thanksgiving. Hanson: Thank you.

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